The birth of the Lord in us, Part 2
The internalization of our faith is a decisive moment in how much the grace God has given us unfolds in our lives. At the very beginning of my journey of following Christ, I read a sentence by a protestant mystic named Angelus Silesius. He wrote: “And if Jesus had been born a thousand times in Bethlehem and not in you, you would still be lost”.
Faith urges to be internalized, so that it is not only in the external gestures and acts – which lose nothing of their meaning and value – but is also deeply rooted in our hearts. In this way, a rich inner life connected to God is formed, which is always there and grows, even if outwardly – as one must currently experience in the restrictive measures of the execution of the external cult – the practice of religion is restricted.
At present, the urgent need to cultivate the inner dimension of the faith seems particularly important, because increasing signs of an Anti-Christian threat are becoming apparent and it is therefore necessary to be firmly anchored in God in the “inner castle” of the soul.
God now offers us different ways of internalization:
First of all there has to be the deeper internalization of the Word of God.
From our Lady it is said: “As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Lk 2:19)
That is why it is necessary to read the Word of God every day. It is our spiritual food that enlightens the mind and illuminates the heart (cf. Ps 119:105).
The Word of the Lord is a supernatural light, coming directly from Him, which wants to penetrate us to bear fruit. This light touches our natural faculty of knowledge, the mind, which in relation to divine things absolutely needs this light. When the mind opens up, a wonderful union of divine wisdom and natural knowledge comes into being. Our natural knowledge is also a gift of God but is darkened by original sin.
Our soul rejoices in the recognized truth, for it can only unfold its dignity and beauty in harmony with the truth.
We know the warning of the Holy Scriptures that the Word is not received properly, that the devil wants to rob it, that it does not penetrate us deeply enough, that persecution for the sake of the Word can happen and that the worries of everyday life can stifle it (cf. Mt 13:3-8.18-23).
That is why the Word must be heard and read again and again, even if we already know some passages of Scripture well. Since it is the Word of God, it has the power to penetrate even deeper into us and we understand it even better – to be enlightened, so to speak.
It is important to understand that we learn to see reality from the Word of God. It is not only like a human word, which tries to understand and describe reality.
Let us take an example of Psalm 89 (verses 24.26). It says:
“My constancy and faithful love will be with him, in my name his strength will be triumphant… ‘He will cry to me, “You are my father, my God, the rock of my salvation!”
One can read the text, rejoice briefly at these promises given to King David by God, and then turn to the “daily business”. But the Word will not then give the security, the familiarity and the closeness that it can give. When a “storm” comes (cf. Mt 7:26-27), the Word will not be remembered enough because it has not taken up enough space in our soul.
It is different when we move it in our heart like Our Lady, that is, when we look at it, pray about it, talk to God, etc. It then sinks into us as a holy knowledge that God always supports and strengthens us, no matter how great the need. We then believe not only because we have heard it, but also because we are formed inwardly by this word. Whenever we are in deep sorrow or hopelessness, we hold on to the Word and do not let ourselves be carried away by its floods. Instead of such an attitude we know and win the experience that God’s faithfulness accompanies us (cf. Mt 7:24-25). And with David, who is mentioned in this psalm, we say: “You are my father, my God, the rock of my salvation!”
Just this last sentence leads us into another depth. It is the love of our divine Father that surrounds us, a Father who is always there for us, who knows and accompanies all the situations of our life. In this way the soul wakes up through the deepening of the Word of God, the Word of God lives in us and therefore the Lord Himself.