Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Dec 17, 2010 | Comments (0)

“What” And “How” To Practice The Presence

Many people find it difficult to distinguish between a “what” and a “how”. If one does not know the difference between a “what” and a “how” they will think a “what” is a “how” and a “how” is a “what”. They then do not know what a “what” is because they think it is a “how”, and they do not know what a “how” is because they think it is a “what”. Trying to understand the difference is so confusing to some that they give up too early and never know the difference.

The experience of the grace Presence is always with all of us. However we all are not always experiencing the Presence. We have two faculties, the rational head and the conscious heart. The rational head sees the physical seen. The conscious heart senses the unseen spiritual. The only way into the Presence is when our conscious heart becomes open to the grace Presence.

Those who do not know how to do this depend on sets of exercises to move from the rational head to the conscious heart. Those who need exercises are limited by time to get in the Presence only at certain times, in certain places and with certain circumstances. Those who know “how” can move through the conscious heart into the Presence at any time, in any place and under any circumstance.

The significance of this can be seen in Brother Lawrence’s Book, “Practicing the Presence”. One could summarize his teaching by quoting Jesus,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul strength and mind and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:29 Certainly this is what we must do.
The problem here is that it is a “what”, but it is not a “how”. Loving God, others and self is no guarantee of getting in God’s Love. We can do it and get in the Presence. We can do this and NOT get into the Presence because but this is not “how” it works.

Loving God, self and others are the “mechanics” of getting into the Presence, but they are not the “dynamics” of how it is done. Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” How did Jesus love us? He loved us in the Presence of God. How do we love others? We love them as Jesus loved us, by first consciously getting into the Presence of the Love of God rather than trying to love God so God will love us. When we are experiencing this Love we have the desire to want to love God, ourselves and others.

Consciously experiencing the Love of Jesus first is “how” we do it. Then we can respond by doing “what” is the natural response, to love God, selves and others. That is why knowing the difference between a “How” and a “What” is critical for our spiritual growth. How do you do it?

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