“What have I to fear but my fear?—
And even that no more a scandal
than a rock to a mighty current
which by numberless moments is smoothed
so the water does not break on its jagged edge,
on its journey from source to source.”
The complicated part is aligning my will with His—or—discerning the boundary line between my desires and His. (I write “complicated” and hear in my mind W. quoting Conchita: “¡simplifícate!”)
And really—what is so complicated? Lately God has been speaking to me quite clearly, especially through scripture and the liturgy. Not long before break it was John 6:1-11: the multiplication of the loaves and the fish. His message was clear. Jesus already knew what he was going to accomplish. The disciples just had to trust him and do what he said, even not knowing what would happen (although they thought they knew!) The people just had to recline on the grass—and they were fed.
The same with the verse he gave me in prayer at the Carmelite house. “I know the plans I have for you…plans for good, and not for evil.” So why worry?
Yesterday at evening prayer: “from the womb before the dawn I begot you.” He knew me and the plans he had for me since before the creation of the world! Reminds me of J.: “God was calling you before you were born. Before any of this existed.” So why worry?
“The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change: you are a priest forever…” My vocation is written on the heart of Christ. Nothing I do can or will change that.
“Jesus said: do not be afraid.”
Ahh—therein lies the rub.
What words can express your will, O Lord? Or what insight express your providence? “It was good for me to be afflicted / to learn your will.” Everything in my life you have ordained because it is good for me. You know my nature perfectly, Lord; you even know that I will sin, and when, and how. Yet even THIS you ordain for your glory and my perfection!
How often I waste so much energy trying to seize hold of the gifts you are giving me, Father. As if a man could hold the ocean in his hands. They say you give and you take away. But do you? Only from our perspective… I think, God, you always give. Your very nature is pure gift. But you give like the ocean gives to the shore. The ocean lives and forms the shore because it is in motion! If it were still it would not be the sea. It would be a lake, a pool, a pond. But it is in the nature of the ocean to crash against the rocks: to go in and out, in and out, reaching almost to the treeline, then receding again to the edge of the sand.
The ocean always gives itself. It withdraws, but returns—and reaches even farther than when it came before. Exitus! Redditus! And with each return it further smooths the rock, it carries the debris which has gathered on the sand back out into its fathomless depths, it bears new life! You take away nothing but our flaws, Lord. You remove nothing from us but that which never was us to begin with.
Let me be more who I am and cease to be who I am not, O my Jesus—even if it hurts. Even when it means loosening my grip on what I most dearly want to hold onto. I lay myself and every desire of my heart down on your altar: the good and the ugly, the beautiful and the selfish, the base and the divine. Take me and make me all yours!
Love makes you do crazy things, which is why I’m here with you at some mysterious hour after 2 am, before the sunrise.
“I want all of you.” (Said matter-of-factly, but with a great tenderness.)
And I of you, Jesus…
“My love is like a strong river that flows where it wills, through many tributaries and channels. Do not grow attached to any one in particular. Imagine! how ridiculous it would have been to grow attached to E. But you don’t find it ridiculous that your heart grew attached to S… My love comes to you through many, many people. Love me, love them, wildly, unconditionally. But do not become attached to one channel of my love. Otherwise you may be sitting forlornly by a dry creekbed while the river rages elsewhere.—As always, the only way is surrender: to be swept up in the current.”
(With his hands on my back, in a strong embrace.) “I love you so much, and you don’t even know it… I am your father. And I am so proud of you.”