Lest I take him for granted or become complacent about my progress in the spiritual life, God hides his face from me. Ironically, when this happens, the state of my soul becomes even clearer to me.
For is it not easy to feel pious, to love prayer, and to love God when I feel the warmth of his love? When consolations overflow and spiritual insights spill forth in quick succession, when God has so much to say to me, is it not easy to feel loved, favoured, and, well, important? And in times of spiritual abundance, it is easy to forget that it is God who carries me and enables me to pray.
And so You hide your face from me, sweet Lord
That I may experience what is like to be bereft of Your presence
I find myself bewildered, disoriented and suddenly so powerless to lift my heart in praise.
It is as if I had been lifting weights in the swimming pool and now I suddenly find myself on dry ground and it seems to me that the same weights are beyond my strength.
I suddenly realise how much of it all had been Your grace covering my weaknesses,
and how feeble my love is, how dependent I still am on the consolations You give me.
Yet this is a greater mark of Your love and providence;
You desire that I come to love You truly and deeply,
for You alone and not what You give me.
And though I may not be able to see or feel You in the same way,
I know that now more than ever, Your grace covers me.
The sun may be hidden, but the fact that I see the clouds means that the sun is in its rightful place in the heavens. All is well.
This post reminds me of today’s mass reading from Hebrews 12:5-6. “My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons.”
Let’s rejoice when the Lord gives us hard lessons, rejoice when the going gets tough! Rejoice, for those are lessons reserved for those He loves, deeply, intimately and jealously.