Union with God: Means and Signs

Father Geiermann continues his discussion of the human person’s union with God. He elaborates upon two means to union and then mentions some signs of that union.

“There are two means of union with God; the one divine, the other human. The divine means consists in grace and the special dispensations of Providence which give man the occasion and the power to desire and to do what is pleasing to God. The human means, which is the free will of man, by yielding to the allurements of grace, gives God the opportunity to bring the will of man into conformity with His own. This conformity demands an absolute surrender of ourselves to God. It demands (1) that we will what God wills, because He wills, when He wills, where He wills, and as He wills; (2) that we cling to God alone, and that with all our affections, and obey and please Him in all things; (3) that for God’s sake we accept with equal indifference and promptness whatever is easy or difficult, agreeable or repugnant; (4) and that we persevere in this union with God and keep our wills in absolute subjection to His will.”

He advises: “As Christian perfection on earth consists in the proximate disposition by which we surrender ourselves to God and seek to please Him, let us frequently renew this total surrender of ourselves, that we may acquire facility and promptness in its practice. Let us often pray God to take full possession of us, and to dispose of us entirely according to His good pleasure. . . . . We must cultivate union with God with assiduity and sacrifice, and beg it most earnestly of God.”

As for the signs of our union with God, Father Geiermann writes: “We may judge of our personal union with God by the rule which the Saviour Himself gives us: ‘By their fruits you shall know them’ (Matt 7:16). We manifest our love for God not so much by word as by action. Hence St. John says: ‘Let us not love in word, nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth’ (1 John 3:18). We show our love for God especially (1) by avoiding every deliberate sin and imperfection; (2) by our fervor in our devotions; (3) by our zeal in the practice of humility; (4) by our perfect obedience to our lawful superiors; and (5) especially by the practice of fraternal charity, which our divine Saviour Himself makes the test of our love for God. ‘For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not’ (1 John 4:20).”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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