We are all pilgrims on the way to eternity.
One of the oldest images of Christianity is to be found in the catacombs of Rome: a woman praying with her hands lifted upward toward Heaven. This Orante represents each baptized person and simultaneously, of course, the Virgin Mary and the entire Church, the Bride of Christ.
Through Baptism we, the Bride of Christ, may take part in the adoration that He, the Eternal Son, continually offers to His Father. Prayer and adoration become something interior, a participation in the very act of adoration taking place within the Trinity, in which the Son is always giving glory to His Father.
We may use the same little word, Abba, that the Son uses when addressing His Father. Within ourselves, we can always return to His prayer, because we are the temple of God. Abba—this little word is always echoing in our hearts. We simply have to join in the Son’s adoration. We just have to return to reality.
Unfortunately, so few Christians realize this immense dignity given to them in Baptism. They couldn’t care less. Still, it’s the simplest thing in the world to return to this gift that is always there.
Teresa of Avila speaks about the soul as an interior castle of marvelous beauty. In the very center of our being, as baptized people, lives the Trinity. We have to make the interior pilgrimage to the inmost mansion of our souls in order to discover that God is always present there in His entire triune Mystery.
Cardinal Anders Arborelius, O.C.D.
Chapter 1, Pilgrim on the Way to Eternity
Arborelius OCD, A. 2020, Carmelite Spirituality: The Way of Carmelite Prayer and Contemplation, EWTN Publishing, Irondale, Alabama.
Featured image: This famous “orante” figure of a woman lifting her hands in prayer is found in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome. Image credit: Kristicak / Wikimedia Commons (Some rights reserved, image cropped to 16:9 dimensions)
This is amazing, as one would expect from him. Yes, it matters to me a great deal to tnhink of my poor soul as a castle of great dignity and beauty, housing God. That my lkifetime is journeyinhg to the interior. Even if I agt times think I am lying in the ditvch at the door with the reptiles… My self help book talks too of finding the Great Reality (God) “deep down within us. In the last analysis, it is only there that He may be found”…
I hear you!