THE PRESENCE OF GOD LEADS THE SOUL TO VIRTUE AND UNITES IT TO GOD IN HOLY LOVE’
What valour does not the soldier show when fighting Under the eyes of his Sovereign! The sole thought that his prince by whom he shall be punished or rewarded is present, inspires him with great courage and strength. Hence, if men only reflected that God was looking at all their actions, they would do all things well, with a pure intention, without seeking to please any one but God, and without any regard to human respect. St. Basil says that were a person to find himself in the presence of a king and a peasant, his sole concern would be to please the king without any regard to the wishes of the peasant. Thus he that walks in the Divine presence is regardless of the pleasure of creatures, and seeks only to please God, Who sees him always.
Finally, as to the third effect of the Divine presence, that is, to unite the soul to God, it is an infallible rule that love is always increased by the presence of the object loved. This happens even among men, although the more they converse together, the more their defects are discovered. How much more shall the love of a soul for God increase if it keep Him before its eyes! For the more it converses with Him, the better it comprehends His beauty and amiableness. The morning and the evening Meditation are not sufficient to keep the soul united with God. St. John Chrysostom says, that even water, if removed from the fire, soon returns to its natural temperature; and therefore after prayer it is necessary to preserve fervour by the presence of God, and by renewing our affections.
St. Bernard says of himself, that in the beginning of his conversion, when he found himself disturbed, or his fervour cooling, peace and the ardour of Divine love were instantly restored by the remembrance of a deceased or absent Saint. Now, how much greater the effect which must be produced on a soul that loves God, by remembering that He is present, and that He is asking her love! David said that by the remembrance of his God he was filled with joy and consolation. I remembered God, and was delighted (Ps. lxxvi. 4). However great the affliction and desolation of a soul may be, if it loves God it will be consoled and freed from its affliction by remembering its beloved Lord. Hence, souls enamoured of God live always with a tranquil heart and in continual peace; because, like the sunflower that always turns its face to the sun, they in all events and in all their actions seek always to live and act in the presence of God. “A true lover,” says St. Teresa, “always remembers her Beloved.”