A time of stripping

I feel like I’m in a time of stripping.  (Ever feel that way? 🙂  And I don’t like it.  (Ever feel that way?)  I don’t like feeling weak and unrighteous and incapable and . . . you fill in the blank.  I don’t like not feeling on top of it or in control.  But–what should I expect if I am re-reading God Alone Suffices, the book I kept feeling drawn to pick up again and re-read?  How do I expect to learn that God alone suffices unless I know how much I don’t suffice?  (You think you’ve learned that lesson . . . and then you find out there’s, oh, so much more to learn . . .)  This is not an easy book to read–because God seems to always provide the lab part while reading it. 🙂  Reading Biela’s books are not for the faint of heart–or maybe they are for the faint of heart because those are the poor of spirit . . .  He’s not really writing anything new–he just does not sugarcoat the truth.  The good news, though, is that God only strips in order to bring us into a deeper knowledge of His love.  To be blunt, it’s pretty hard for a husband to be intimate with his wife while she still has her clothes on.  And it’s just as hard for us to know the much more intimate love of God while we’re clinging to other things so tightly.  So it’s a great grace for Him to allow us to be stripped.

By knocking with His light, Jesus tells us: Let us, you and I, look at you, whom I love, together.  Jesus desires that upon seeing the darkness of your soul, you experience His love.  (S.C. Biela, Open Wide the Doors to Christ, p. 56)


Loneliness, along with fear and weakness, is the greatest cause of human suffering.

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All of us experience loneliness at different times, and sometimes we experience long seasons of loneliness: when someone we dearly love dies, when we’re going through an illness, when we take on a new responsibility, when we age and are facing death.  I’ve come across some good reflections on loneliness that I thought I would share with you:

I think that part of being human is being alone.  And being lonely.  I think that one of the stresses on a lot of our friendships is that we require the people we love to take away that loneliness.  And they really can’t.  And so, when we still feel lonely, even in the company of people we love, we become angry with them because they don’t do what we think they’re supposed to do.  Which is really something they can’t do for us.  (Rich Mullins)

The grace of loneliness is one of the most precious gifts that God gives to us in our path to sanctity.  (S.C. Biela)

Loneliness is the place of encounter with God.  At the same time, it is a difficult trial of faith.  Therefore, we should never face it by relying on our own strength.  (S.C. Biela)

The Holy Spirit is the answer to our loneliness, which along with fear and weakness, is the greatest cause of human suffering.  What really overcomes loneliness? . . . having a friend, someone to share thoughts with, a companion.  If we are open to him, this is what the Holy Spirit wants to be to us.  It is again St. Basil who says that the Holy Spirit was ‘the inseparable companion’ of Jesus during his life on earth, and that the Spirit wants to be the same for us . . . .
     If it is possible for weakness to provide an occasion for us to experience the strength of the Spirit, it is possible for loneliness to be the occasion and also the stimulus for us to experience the Spirit as ‘sweet guest.’ (Fr. R. Cantalamessa)