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Interior Recollection

The subject that is most exercising me at the moment is "interior recollection". I keep coming across the phrase - in St. Faustina, in Caussade, and in numerous other places. It seems to be assumed by all of them that it is one of the foundations of the Christian life. Needless to say, I have never heard it mentioned in a single sermon during my entire life.

As I understand it, it means entering consciously into the presence of Christ in one's heart and remaining there as far as possible during all the happenings of the day. The aim is not to spend all day sitting in prayer or contemplation (though it may result in plenty of both), but rather to maintain the interior recollection throughout all the happenings of the day so that one is, as it were, bringing Christ into every situation that one takes part in.

Caussade ticks off one of the sisters in his care for refusing a position of responsibility because the cares of the post might have affected her interior recollection. For him, she had got the cart before the horse.

I believe that my own practice of asking God's will in everything is leading to greater interior recollection. To keep asking the question "What is your will, Lord?" requires one to come into God's presence over and over again throughout the day. What's more the fact that one has resigned the next action into God's hands prevents much of one's usual worry and stress. And the actual doing of the task that God has given you also helps to keep one's mind centred on him.

The spiritual writers I mentioned above make the point that no action is truly being done in God's will without interior recollection. The reason for this is that our busy rushing around doing things for God is quite different from God taking action through us. This is what he does when interior recollection is truly present.

Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 at 05:45PM by Registered CommenterSi Fractus Fortis in | Comments1 Comment

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Reader Comments (1)

Hi Si,

You are very close. "Interior recollection" is one of those things I wondered about too as a new Catholic. It's hard to find a precise definition, and the term is often applied to many different writings of saints and mystics who themselves never use the term. Really it means being centered and focused on God, desiring God alone, and letting go of all other distractions. It is the state necessary for contemplation, and is good to cultivate throughout your day as a help to “praying without ceasing.”

One I’d recommend: The Cloud of Unknowing, a beautiful, clear, and simple work by an anonymous Medieval author, a true spiritual classic. He describes it in terms of placing everything worldly under a cloud of unknowing and forgetfulness in order to approach God, training the will to always desire God, and nothing else. “One loving blind desire for God alone is more valuable in itself, more pleasing to God and to the saints, more beneficial to your own growth, and more helpful to your friends, both living and dead, than anything else you could do.” (from chapter 11)

Another is St. John of the Cross, though he can be more difficult to understand for some as he’s very detailed. I have his collected works and find him very helpful. SJC defined it as being concentrated in one appetite, the most important appetite, which is for God, and detaching and weaning oneself from all other appetites (from his Ascent of Mt. Carmel). Otherwise one is always being pulled in other directions.

Anyway, hope that’s helpful! It’s a subject near and dear to my own heart.

Hope you’re well – I’m just getting back to blogging again after the busy school year. See you around!
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAimee Milburn

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