God so close

The Living God

by Romano Guardini

preface by Grégory Woimbée

Translated from German by Jeanne Ancelet-Hustache

Artege, coll. “The Classics of Spirituality”, 160 p., €7.90

Released in 1950 and translated into French for the first time in 1956 by Alsatia editions then in 2010 by Artège, this little book, written by one of the major Catholic figures of the last century, both theologically and spiritually, has already nourished the faith many believers or stimulated that of skeptics and doubters. It is to the latter that Romano Guardini (1885-1968) first addresses himself, always with clear, simple and profound words, to help them go further in their spiritual search.

“What mortgages the future in the West is not so much the refusal of God or even the refusal of a revolt against him – quite the contrary – as the absence of any nostalgia towards him”, explains Grégory Woimbée in his luminous preface. No one better than Romano Guardini perceived the danger of the new gods and wanted to rediscover the living God of the Scriptures”, continues the Toulouse theologian.

The “Living God” presented by Guardini is intended to be both far from any ideology and from any naive and simple image. And if it is not a speculative work – the different chapters are also taken from« speeches (who were) actually spoken words, Nope ” drafted at the work table” –, he remains no less imbued with a sure theology and a spirituality fruit of a long interior experience. Various questions that man can ask about God are addressed: Providence, God who sees everything, the will of God, the heart of God, the patience of God, God who consoles…

Each time, Guardini makes a point of showing the figure of a merciful God, always ready to encourage and forgive. “Man easily gets the feeling that God is a distant, unreal being, and that is the worst part of it,” he writes about consolation. “Talking and proving does not console. The man remains alone with his distress. Nothing happens to him. There is something living in consolation: a closeness, an action, a beginning, a renewal. Whoever wants to console must love, be open, tend towards the other in order to penetrate what is most intimate to him, have a clear look and the free sensitivity of the heart which finds with calm certainty the paths of life, knows how to recognize what which is raw or arid. It takes the subtle and powerful force which penetrates there, advances to the vital center, to the depths from which life springs. » God is that comforter. A thousand leagues from the negative or punitive images of an overhanging God.


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