Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Being Beloved Children of God (Part 5)



The wonder of our sonship. I tell you, my brothers, that there is absolutely nothing in this world—nothing that I can possibly conceive of—that is more wonderful than this: to know that you are God’s beloved son. It is total liberation. It is wondrous and great. It is a fulfillment of all the desires for love that you could possibly have. It is love beyond your conceiving.

William of St. Thierry has a wonderful little treatise on prayer. He ends in the last paragraph rather ironically.

If, however, we give way completely to laziness and sloth and out of the depths of our ignorance cry to God as out of a dungeon and if we want to be heard even when we are not seeking the Blessed face of Him to whom we cry, and if we do not care whether He is angry or appeased when we gives us what we want, as long as we get it. Well, a man who prays like that must be content with what God gives. He does not know how to ask God for a great thing so it is nothing great he receives. [16]

Jesus says to us in the Gospel, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find” [17]. God will give us whatever we want. William is saying, “You’re pretty stupid to ask for anything less than God himself!” This epiphany, this manifestation, the experience of who we truly are as sons and, therefore, who truly God is as Father is the experience of reality. It is the experience that is completely transforming. It is the experience that Saint Benedict calls us to when he says we are to truly seek God [18]. It is what our life is all about.

. . .  let us get more in touch with ourselves as we see ourselves as sons. Let that be re-formed by the way Jesus reveals son to us in the Gospels, and then Father. Let this transformation open us to that experience when we let go of all our own ideas of how we are to return to the Father and let the Father totally embrace us, lift us up, and celebrate us as his beloved son.

May the Divine assistance remain with us always. Amen

Abbot M. Basil Pennington, OCSO
Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery
Thursday, March 8, 2001


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