How urgent it is for us to call on the Holy Spirit as we enroll, figuratively speaking, in the University of Divine Love!
What do we have to do in order to benefit fully from our master’s lessons?
First, we must consciously acknowledge the impossibility of progressing in prayer apart from our master. Recall the words of Jesus to his apostles: “It is better for you if I go away. For, if I do not go away, I cannot send you the Holy Spirit. But, when I am at my Father’s side, I will send the Holy Spirit to you, and he will teach you everything I have told you” (Cf Jn 16:7, Jn 14:26).
Therein lies the role of the Holy Spirit, who now comes into our souls to reveal what Christ had once said without being understood. The Spirit illuminates that teaching, step by step, with his interior light.
He endows the soul with three extraordinary gifts, uniquely pertinent to prayer. These gifts are intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom. We can see among these three gifts a hierarchy that spiritual writers have pointed out in reference to our relationship with God.
First, there is philosophical knowledge, attained by a process of reasoning. Such knowledge is totally and coldly deductive, as in the solution to a problem.
Then there is theological knowledge, attained by applying the laws proper to revealed doctrine, the full force of reason, and the careful scrutiny of language. Thus, new and previously hidden truth emerges. While this approach is more rewarding than the first process, it can still be completely human.
There remains a third type of knowledge, an experimental knowledge of God. This is a knowledge of the heart, attained by meeting God, by sharing his embrace, by remaining together and walking side by side with him. Providing that we never turn aside, there is a continuous exchange of glances between God and us.
All day long, he nourishes us with his tender love, pouring out of his heart. This type of knowledge is totally different from the other two. Only this type of knowledge can satisfy the human heart.
Servant of God Père Jacques of Jesus
Conference 12, The Holy Spirit, Master of Prayer
Saturday Evening, 11 September 1943
Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.