Here’s more from the vault of Carthusian reflections. While it is seldom a topic of external conversation, at least interiorly the thought has crossed many hearts and minds as to the extent of sacrifice required to grow in intimacy with God, as well as how much suffering will our Lord permit in our life if we truly desire to follow in His Footsteps. For those who set aside time for God every day, such thoughts can become a daily Agony in the Garden. Our human weakness has many questions about the spiritual life, all stemming from our inability to surrender completely and unconditionally. This causes our life with God to lack an ‘ideal’, an inability to conceive a union that is very beautiful. Hope you enjoy these few paragraphs!
At last, I have found my ideal. Now I know where I want to go, and that I shall arrive at my goal. Hitherto, I have groped my way in the darkness; the difficulties I have encountered have wearied and discouraged me. Now I know, and henceforth nothing will hold me back. I will not rest until I have found God in the innermost depths of my heart: ‘I have found Him Who my soul loves; I held Him and I will not let Him go’ (Canticles 3:4). Love will give me wings, for ‘love is as strong as death’ (Canticles 8:6). Difficulties will no longer matter, for ‘I can do all things in Him Who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13).
If I glance over my past life and am truly sincere with myself, I will have to admit that so far my spiritual life has lacked an ideal, and that is the real reason I have made so little progress. I have failed to understand how deeply God loves and seeks souls – souls that will give themselves to Him so that He may give Himself to them. The degree of intimacy to which our Lord calls us will be achieved in the measure of the generosity of our response to grace. His love is without measure, and longs to give itself completely to souls. But souls are afraid, because of the consequence of that intimacy which calls for great sacrifices on our part.
In future, however, I shall be honest with myself. On the one hand, I know that God wants to take full and entire possession of my soul and that He has predestined me to be ‘conformable to the Image of His Son’ (Romans 8:29). He wants me to be His son by adoption. On the other hand, I know also that my unworthiness is no obstacle to His love. Who, indeed, could deem himself worthy? ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves’ (1 Saint John 1:8).
But there is much more than this. It is not in spite of our unworthiness that God seeks our love, but because of it: that He may reveal His glory in us. The more unworthy the material, the more is glory reflected on an artist who fashions a masterpiece out of it. It is this truth that our Lord tried to bring home to men in the parables of the prodigal son, and of the lost sheep. There is more joy in heaven, we are told, over one sinner doing penance than over all the just (cf. Saint Luke 15:7). If, then, I have made up my mind to persevere in my ideal, I must be continually acknowledging that, on the one hand, I am nothing and can do nothing of myself, but that, on the other hand, God is all: that He can do all things and wants to do all in me, so that I can make a complete oblation of my life to Him.