"We must not gauge our love by what we feel, but rather by what we are ready to do. Indeed, it often happens that God tries the most advanced by letting them experience a coldness and deadness in prayer such as ordinary people do not experience, and none could endure in such times if their love for God were not very deep and strong."
(from In Love With the Divine Outcast, compiled by A Religious, Pellegrini, Australia, 1934, p. 186)
The emphasis in the above is mine. "God tries the most advanced..."
I pray that this will bring many of us great hope.
Jozef Israëls painting in US public domain
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Hopeful indeed! Great quote.ReplyDelete
I love the painting...how it expresses in one sense the quality of "feeling cold in prayer." This quote will bring comfort during those times when "feeling" betrays us. Thank you for this encouraging post Nancy! I appreciate greatly your generosity and sharing!!!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much. I was struck by the painting also when I found it; it seemed to fit the quote, with its somber palette and vague details.Delete
Thanks, Nancy. Great picture and hopeful words. I love how you find all kinds of traditional Catholic books from the past. They are such treasures! xoReplyDelete
Patricia, these wonderful books by "A Religious," all by the same person, are sadly out of print. I have one by this Religious, sent to me by a friend in Australia. She retrieved it from the trash when people at a retreat house were tossing it as "not modern enough." It turned out to be a book that's actually quite sought after. Interesting, huh?Delete
Recently a friend here in the States tracked down reasonably priced copies of several of this writer's little volumes. What a treasure! She is generously loaning them to me one (or two) at a time, and I love being able to share excerpts, especially as they ARE out of print.
Mother Teresa springs instantly to mind, no question she was most advanced....I worry sometimes that I am not experiencing dryness in prayer, I must be doing something wrong! No no, I'm just grateful, and trying to be prepared if the dryness comes. I also enjoy the older traditional books when I can find them but hadn't heard of this one.ReplyDelete
I get so easily distracted and sidetracked (by nature) that dryness is really tough. It's hard to persevere through it.Delete
I hadn't heard of these little books by "a religious" either, until my Australian friend sent me "The Living Pyx of Jesus." It, in particular, is a gem.
Maybe it's because I'm from the south side of Chicago, but my tactic is always to acquiesce in the dryness: "Yeah whatever Lord. You go ahead. See if I care. I know you'll be back eventually. Meantime, I'm going to read these desert Fathers here, so that YOU can't say I was untrue." It's the old human trick of Pretending Not to be Hurt.ReplyDelete
Interesting, Jamie, as I think I do much the same thing. And I'm not from Chicago!Delete
I have to keep reminding myself that prayer is first an act of the will to lift the mind and heart to God. He teaches us detachment when He denies us the "feel good" aspect of prayer. It's such a hard lesson.ReplyDelete
Ah yes, Barb, it is a hard lesson. More and more, I see why it's necessary for us to go through this.. but I don't like it! Hopefully we'll look back from an eternal point of view and thank God for these toughest things.Delete