Holy Presence


If a statue which the sculptor had niched in the gallery of some great prince were endowed with understanding, and could reason and talk; and if it were asked: O fair statue, tell me now, why art thou in that niche?—It would answer,—Because my master placed me there. And if one should reply,—But why stayest thou there without doing anything?—Because, would it say, my master did not place me here to do anything, but simply that I should be here motionless. But if one should urge it further, saying: But, poor statue, what art thou the better for remaining there in that sort? Well! would it say, I am not here for my own interest and service, but to obey and accomplish the will of my master and maker; and this suffices me. And if one should yet insist thus: Tell me then, statue, I pray, not seeing thy master how dost thou find contentment in contenting him? No, verily, would it confess; I see him not, for I have not eyes for seeing, as I have not feet for walking; but I am too contented to know that my dear master sees me here, and takes pleasure in seeing me here. But if one should continue the dispute with the statue, and say unto it: But wouldst thou not at least wish to have power to move that thou mightest approach near thy maker, to afford him some better service? Doubtless it would answer, No, and would protest that it desired to do nothing but what its master wished. Is it possible then, would one say at last, that thou desirest nothing but to be an immovable statue there, within that hollow niche? Yes, truly, would that wise statue answer in conclusion; I desire to be nothing but a statue and ever in this niche, so long as my master pleases, contenting myself to be here, and thus, since such is the contentment of him whose I am, and by whom I am what I am.

O true God! how good a way it is of remaining in God’s presence to be, and to will to be, ever and forever, at his good-pleasure! For so, I consider, in all occurrences, yea, in our deepest sleep, we are still more deeply in the most holy presence of God.

–St Francis de Sales ‘Treatise on the Love of God’.


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