Sunday, December 14, 2014

When Weirdness Gives Way to Delight

This has been a strange Advent for me thus far. But if ever I have known a peace that surpasses understanding and a joy that makes no earthly-calculable sense, now would be it. My heart is so full of a peaceful gratitude that I just have to write about it.

There is something about following the Lord's lead. It grieves; it consoles. It confuses; it gives clarity. It takes things away; it gives everything. The path is dark, but it gives light. I feel heavy, but He gives freedom. The more I follow, the less I understand where I am going, but the more sure I am. I want to say everything to explain, but words fail (multi-dimensionally); and something deeper than words germinates.

All I can say is that I am so grateful to God for my life and His call to me to Carmel. Today is the feast of St. John of the Cross, my spiritual father. His words almost always embody to me exactly the state in which I find myself tonight. He is all about renunciation, detachment, penance, and self-emptying. And yet I find such joy in his words. It's the type of joy that makes me want to embrace my own soul, this dwelling place of God, and exclaim that indeed, something makes my life make sense. A human being is actually able to convey to me that my life makes sense. It is the opposite of the feeling of alienation, disorientation, self-loathing, and mistrust. From the first time I met St. John and St. Teresa of Avila when I was in college, this has been the affect these saints have had on me.  And a few years ago it was like St. John of the Cross seemed to seek me out to explain what I deeply needed to understand about where my life was going. I can't find adequate words to describe the delight this gives me. For someone with an intellectual bent like me, there is a strong temptation to view life at its core as absurd and meaningless. This is the joyful dance of knowing that to be a lie -- and that another human being is an instrument of that certainty, which can only come from God.

Jesus said to His disciples: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? Or what can one give in exchange for his soul?" (Mt. 16:24-26)

No comments: