The Mountain of God…
(from a September 1, 1974 Homily)

There are many ways of picturing the path to God. . . . One of the pictures we find in the psalms and elsewhere is that of a person climbing a mountain.  “Who shall climb the mountain of God and stand in His holy place?”  The various qualities of such a person are often given:  a faultless life, justice, purity of heart, and so on.
The mountain, at the top of which we find God, is in our own soul.  For although in many ways we can see God in various external things and events and must serve Him in other people, real union with Him takes place in the secrecy of our own hearts.  If we live up to all the beautiful things Our Lord taught us, we do in fact overcome ourselves, surpass ourselves, and climb to the top of the mountain within the soul. . . . As we climb this interior mountain, our awareness of God grows stronger and deeper.  It is an inner awareness and very intimate.
There is a peculiarity about this mountain.  The higher you climb up it, the more humble you become, the more you ascend, the lower your estimation of yourself becomes.  For although you are growing greater and greater, it is the greatness of God that is growing in you, and you come to see this more and more clearly.  You come to see clearly in the thin mountain air that God is everything and you are nothing.  Illusions disappear. . . .

We have to keep two truths in mind.  One is the truth that of ourselves and left to ourselves we are nothing.  If we have the grace of deep self-knowledge—and this is gained as we climb the mountain of the Lord—we shall see ourselves as being in ourselves inferior to anyone else.  For we shall be vividly conscious of how little we can do, and how many great graces we have resisted or misused, and how many great opportunities we have missed.  We shall be deeply contrite.  There will be a clear self-judgment, but we shall feel quite unworthy to judge anyone else.  So the truth will make us very humble as we go up the mountain of God within our self awareness.

The second truth we have to keep in mind, however, is that the grace of God, God living in us, has made us exceedingly great and important.  We have in our souls, at the top of that mountain, at the summit which is at our innermost spiritual center, the greatness of God.  He lives in us and we are lit up by His presence.  This is the greatness of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—within us, making us great by His life, His light, His power.  We are His living temples.  This is a very great, a very holy thing to be. . . .

St. Paul tells us several times to keep our eyes on heavenly things and not on those of this earth.  We should do this within ourselves, keeping our eyes towards that peak within us where God dwells, where even now we are united with Christ Who loves us.  We should live recollected lives.

In spirit we are in heaven with God, with Jesus, and with all the angels and saints.  We have a real spiritual communion with them through this summit of Mount Zion in our souls.  The base of the mountain is on the earth, but its summit is in heaven, and it is all within us.

With God’s help and by constant interior prayer, with faith and humility, we can gradually climb this mountain in our soul and come to be conscious of the light, a light that is there even when we do not see it.  Faith gives us joy in it even now, but the sight of it will give us something the eye has not seen, nor ear heard, something prepared by God for those who love Him.

We carry a very, very great treasure within us, and it really is ours.  Is it not worth selling all we have in order to buy it?  For when you are clearly aware of it, all the things of this world fade into insignificance, and self-love dies.

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