Thought for the Day – 8 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Awareness of the Presence of God
“The cultivation of a continual awareness of the presence of God is such a useful practice that many writers regard it as the fundamental principle of the spiritual life.
As St Alphonsus de’Liguori points out, it obliges us to do three thing:
(1) To preserve ourselves completely free from sin;
(2) To practise virtue, in every possible way and
(3) To seek a closer and more loving contact with God (Al Servizio Divino, III, 1,3).
The realisation of the presence of God is a particularly good way of subduing our passions and conquering temptation.
“If we were always aware of God’s presence within us,” writes St Thomas Aquinas, “we should never, or hardly ever, sin” (Opusc 58, c 2).
It is unlikely that a man who is committing sin adverts to the fact that God is watching him and could intervene to punish him at any moment.
He has forgotten the presence of God, his Creator and Redeemer, Who has been so good to him and Who will one day be his judge.
His mind has been darkened and his heart led astray by the deceptive pleasures of this world.
God is far from the sinner because the sinner ignores His inspirations and advice and has, in short, rejected Him.
The unhappy man will never find peace in this world and is doomed to eternal unhappiness in the next.
“If we remained always in the presence of God,” wrote St John Chrysostom, “we should neither conceive, nor do anything evil” (Homil 8, ad, Phil 2).”