Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Recollection and the Returning Catholic

I have been reading the autobiography of st. Teresa of Avila. She speaks much good about our need to recollect. So, I had been away from the Church for a while, but I never remembered hearing about recollecting anything! Needless to say, since St. Teresa mentioned it, I had to investigate. It is such a confusing word for such a wonderful life-giving exercise.

To recollect is simply to remind yourself of the presence of God within your life and within all that you say and do. Now, I shouldn't really say 'simply,' because recollection is a lifelong process of seeking God within your life and often requires effort on your part. The benefits, however, are legion. There are two degrees of recollection. The first is an active recollect in which we place ourselves in solitude before God and place our attention before Him. This requires only the ordinary graces God gives us. The second type of recollection is a passive recollection and this requires special graces given by God which places us before Him.

As a returning Catholic, I know that I need God's help to get through my daily life. I know what it was like to be without the feeling of God's presence in my life. I am not saying God was not with me, but I was not intentionally aware of God in my life. And this makes all the difference in the world. As I practice the presence of God in my life, I pay more attention to the needs of others around me--for the sake of God. I am not perfect, but I am certainly more aware of God drawing me in certain directions. I am also aware, more than ever before, of God's love surrounding me and protecting me in every situation.

Once again, I wish that I had know all these things years ago. I am just happy now that I did finally learn about it. Perhaps God will bless my years in the desert. Now I have the gift of recollection to get to know and love God on a new level.