An encounter with God can be a singular, powerful moment. But as the Holy Spirit gradually transforms an open heart, encounters become constant. We see God everywhere, in every circumstance, and in every soul.
We should plan deliberate periods for prayer in each day, or our spiritual life declines. On the other hand, we don’t compartmentalize our life into discrete parts: 7:30-8:00, mental prayer; 8-5 work; 5-9 family; 9-9:30, examen. We fulfill our responsibilities, enjoy friendships and family, and relax; but we don’t take a break from God. He is always present, drawing us into a constant state-of-encounter.
The Rosary exemplifies this state-of-encounter. Every decade encounters Christ in some way. And when we pray it often enough, one encounter runs into the other. Sometimes, we can begin to pray one decade, and our minds move into the next one, combining thoughts of both. Or we might linger in a completed decade even as we begin the next.
The first chapter of Luke includes the Annunciation and Visitation in an almost seamless state-of-encounter with God. Zechariah encounters the angel in the holy of holies. Then, he encountered the power of God when he became mute. Mary encounters the angel Gabriel and begins a state-of-encounter with Christ living in her womb.
John, in Elizabeth’s womb, encounters Christ when Mary makes her visit. Elizabeth encounters Christ, recognizing Mary as His mother. When Zechariah regains his speech at John’s circumcision, the neighbors encountered God in these mysteries and “laid them up in their hearts.”
And the crowning moment in all these encounters is Mary’s witness to the love of God in her soul: her Magnificat.
So, we’ve joined two decades of the Rosary together in seamless encounters. Likewise, in our own lives, we strive to love Jesus seamlessly in every particular moment of our lives. Our thoughts will be distracted; our fatigue will seek comfort. For a brief time, we can even live as though He doesn’t exist. But all the while, we never left the presence of Jesus, because He is always present—even when we weren’t looking.
God waits for our glance. But in time, if we are docile to the Holy Spirit, He transforms our glance into a loving state-of-encounter.