Re-reading Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer by Thomas Dubay. Good, but convicting stuff.
Dubay talks about intimacy with the indwelling Trinity as the key to conversion from self-love to Christ’s love.
“To put it simply: the main source of deep conversion is to fall in love with endless Beauty. A genuine person will gladly sacrifice for real love. Christic martyrs are in love. Jesus tortured to death on the Cross is the icon of perfect love, unconditional, selfless love. All the saints imitate him in their heroic virtue because they too are in love. Their concern, determination, and motivation are rooted in and arise from their intimacy with Triune Beauty which is purest and endless love (1 John 4:8).” (Dubay, Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer, p. 199)
I long to be holy, that is, I long to fulfill God’s command to love Him and to love my neighbor as myself. This requires conversion from my egocentric, self-interested way of “loving” to the pure, unselfish and perfect love of Christ. Holiness begins with falling in love with God. Dubay goes on to give a human example:
“If a man loves a woman authentically and profoundly, he would not for a moment entertain the idea of harming her or of tainting the beauty of her chastity. People intimate with God [in love with God] resist with all their might…sins.” (Dubay, p. 100)
How then do I fall in love and grow in this intimacy? Jesus shows me the way.
“[Jesus] habitually spent long solitudes absorbed in the most profound communion with the Father (Luke 5:16), long before dawn (Mark 1:35), even all though the night (Luke 2:19, 51) and led the apostles in continuous prayer for forty days in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14) (Dubay, p. 100).
Jesus, who was one with the Father, needed to get away and spend time alone with His Father. What does that say about what we need? Don’t we need that time away with our Abba Father? Time away from the distractions of the world (our computers, cell phones, i-pods and other gadgets). Time alone to listen to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Time to be still, to learn to hear His voice so we can recognize it when we’re engaged in other tasks and focused on other people. Time to be intimate and to fall deeper in love with Him.
Thinking of it in terms of human intimacy. The most intimate moments between a husband and wife belong to them. They don’t occur in public, surrounded by people. Nor are those moments, moments of multi-tasking. They are moments of undivided attention, undivided self-giving. These intimate moments serve to strengthen the relationship when they are “a part.”
If Jesus, perfect in all ways, needed to spend intimate time away with His Father then I, so imperfect in so many ways, must also seek this same intimacy so that I can fall deeper in love with Him and love more deeply like Him.