I can generally gauge how I’m doing spiritually by how much I am writing. When life is dandy, which is always nice, I don’t have a whole lot to work through or write about. I thank God for the good things and note the beautiful things in my day. When things are rough I tend to write a lot. I need to. It’s how I work through stuff, how I slow down my mind to talk (and listen) to God. It’s how I work through emotions and feelings. Get myself back to right thinking. So, suffice to say, this last week and a half or so have been rather prolific for me in terms of writing. I’ve had a lot of feelings to work through. God and I have had some good time together.
Can’t say I’ve ironed out my life or figured out any big things. There have been no giant revelations necessarily. Just being reminded of who God is and what he’s promised and what his Word says. I wouldn’t say that I’m on the mountaintop…but the valley isn’t looking quite so bad anymore.
My sister gave me a book called “He Leadeth Me,” about a priest who was in Russia and served for 15 years in a Siberian labor camp after being wrongfully convicted as a spy. I’ve been working through it bit by bit this week. Today after some marathon scribbles in my journal I was reading a chapter entitled “Humiliation.” I almost had to smile when I read it. It’s a pretty long excerpt, but bear with me if you will because this spoke to be exactly where I am right now.
“Young people planning to get married, choosing a profession, or answering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, feel an enthusiasm and an interior joy they never knew before. Then, as the years go by, difficulties increase and there is a constant need for more sacrifice and a renewal of spirit in the initial promise or vow taken. And then it in that the test of ones humility–the realization of one’s place before God–really begins. That is is that the difficulties of a man’s calling begin to become a burden. “My yoke is sweet and my burden is light,” said Christ, but the burdens of life, the sacrifices and self-denials, the humiliations, can be so only if we see in them the express will of God. Can there be anything more consoling than to look at a burden, or a humiliation, not just as it is in itself but as the will of God entrusted to you at that moment? Viewed in that way, no matter how heavy or trying the burden or the difficulty, I am able to carry it in a Spirit that indeed can make it light, for the realization that it comes from God and is his will for me carries with it a feeling of enthusiasm, of accomplishment, of importance, that brings joy and consolation to the heart…But unfortunately those who have lost a time sense of humility–that constant realization of the relationship between each individual and God–have also lost thereby the ability to look upon their own burdens in this way. They see instead only the burden, the difficulties, the humiliation, and they become depressed…How can all of this happen so suddenly, seemingly in so short a period of time? The answer lies in a loss of the virtue of humility, a loss of the vision of life as significant on God’s sight, a loss of the vision that sees all things as coming from the hand of God. Once this vision is lost, then the self very subtly begins to assume greater importance and Gods will begins to grow less and less important. It’s not our failings and faults or sins themselves that bring this about; it is a lack of humility. No matter how badly the humble man fails, he will reckon his accounts with God and start over again for his humility tells him of his total dependence on God. Isn’t it time you learned to be meek and humble of heart, to give up your own will and strive to conform to God’s and to seek first the kingdom of God and his justice?” Fr. Walter J. Ciszek
I have a long way to go in life, in love, in humiliation. But pain usually means growth. And I always want to be doing that. So until next time…I promise to try to be a little less heavy for a little while. 🙂
Ramadan kicked off yesterday. A long month ahead!