“Faith is a country of darkness”

I frequently turn to Catherine Doherty’s writings when I am struggling.  This is one of my favorites of hers.  May reading it bring you hope.

Faith is a country of darkness into which we venture because we love and believe in the Beloved, who is beyond all reasoning, all understanding, all comprehension.  And at the same time, paradoxically, is enclosed within us: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Faith must go through this strange dark land, following him whom it loves.

Christ, our Beloved, becomes the door, the way into and through this darkness.  And suddenly our heart knows that if we will pass through the door and walk along that way, we will see the Father.

What does it mean to see the Father?  It means to assuage that hunger that has been put in man’s heart by God himself, the hunger of finally meeting absolute love.  We yearn for it.  All of us do.  We arise and go on a pilgrimage, guided only by faith that we must journey toward the face of perfect Love–because for this we were created, to be one with the Love.

If we embark upon this quest, into the land where we may not be able to hear, may not be able to see, may not be able even to speak, suddenly we will be mysteriously visited.  A hand will touch our ears and they will be opened, not only to the speech of man but to the speech of God.  A hand will touch our eyes and we will see, not only with our eyes, but with the sight of God.  A hand will touch our tongue, and we will speak, not only as men do, but as God speaks, and we will become prophets of the Lord.

True, on the road to the Father we shall fall, for we shall sin.  We may turn away from God, we may leave the Church, we may think that we have left everything.  But faith being a gift of God, it does not desert us; we desert it, but it follows us.  We leave the Church, but the Church–which is part of faith, for it is part of Christs–does not leave us.  We turn away from God, but God never turns away from us.

He tells us: “Come out!”

lazarus“Before the sealed tomb of his friend Lazarus, Jesus “cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth” (11:43-44). This commanding cry is addressed to every man, because we are all marked for death, all of us; it is the voice of he who is the Lord of life and desires that all “have it in abundance” (John 10:10). Christ has not resigned himself to the tombs that we have created with our choices of evil and death, with our mistakes, with our sins. He does not resign himself to this! He invites us, he almost commands us, to come out of the tombs in which our sins have buried us. He insistently calls us out of the darkness of the prison in which we have shut ourselves, contenting ourselves with a false, egoistic and mediocre life. “Come out!” he tells us, “Come out!” It is a beautiful invitation to true freedom, to let ourselves be seized by these words of Jesus that he repeats to each one of us today. It is an invitation to remove the “burial shroud,” the burial shroud of pride. Pride makes us slaves, slaves to ourselves, slaves of many idols, of many things. Our resurrection begins here: when we decide to obey this command of Jesus, going out into the light, into life; when the masks fall from our face – often we are masked by sin, the masks must fall! – and we rediscover the courage of our true face, created in the image and likeness of God.” (Pope Francis)

The answer to many prayers

I was doing some study on Psalm 5 this morning and came across this comment by Amy Carmichael on verse 3:

“’And will look up’, will keep watch, like Habakkuk on his watch-tower.  Have you ever found that your Father has answered a forgotten prayer?  I have, and I always feel so ashamed; it is so rude to forget.  A ‘Prayer-and-Answer Notebook’ helps one to remember.  It is evidence, which even the devil cannot dispute, of traffic with Heaven.  It kindles love; ‘I love the Lord because He hath heard’ (Ps 116.1).  How often we have had cause to say that.  My first note-book turned up among some old papers lately.  To read the notes was like finding sprays of verbena between the leaves of a book; you know how astonishingly fragrant they can be.  There was one little sentence that belonged to a rainy Sunday morning when I was, I suppose, about ten, so that leaf was about sixty years old, but it might have been only just picked, for as I read the words I remembered every detail of that prayer and that answer.

“If any of you keep such a book do not forget that the answer to many prayers is ‘Wait’, or sometimes, ‘No, not that, but something else, which, when you see Me, you will know was a far better thing.’”

The other side

Thinking today about Corrie ten Boom’s famous quote about embroidery–how we see one side, but God the other:

“Although the threads of my life have often seemed knotted, I know, by faith, that on the other side of the embroidery there is a crown.” – (Corrie Ten Boom in My Heart Sings)

If you would like to see the actual embroidery she was referring to, you can go here.