J M J
GOD SHOULD BE THE ONLY SUBJECT OF OUR THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, DESIRES AND ACTIONS
I know, O my Lord, that all my thoughts, feelings and actions ought to center on you because you have given me life. You alone have power over me. I should belong to you completely.
It seems to me that I not only know this but I desire it, and yet, my behavior is so strangely contradictory. I desire that my thoughts should be taken up with you only, and yet, they turn to everything else; they are so occupied with so many things, except you. It is so difficult for me, even for a moment, to remain in your presence. Even when I receive Holy Communion, the moment when you give yourself to me, when I would want to forget about myself, about everyone and everything and just immerse myself in you, thousands of thoughts and distractions suggest themselves to me. I cannot concentrate, even for a moment, on your presence, nor experience fear at your omnipotence and my nothingness, nor feel your love or my joy. I consume you, O Bread of Angels, with a greater indifference than the bread which nourishes my body.
Could not such a disposition lead me to despair because I know that you have the right to expect something else from me? However, you also know, O Lord, that I have other desires: that I long for your love; that I keep pleading for that love, not so much for my own gratification but to fulfill your command that we should love you with our whole heart and soul. We need your grace, however, to do this because without it we cannot even speak your name devoutly, then how am I supposed to love you perfectly without it. Draw me to yourself, O Lord, because without you I will not come to you. Indeed, when I never asked you for this grace, when I ran from you in fear, you drew me to yourself through a mere picture of you, despite my knowledge and my desires. Why do you leave me now all to myself; why do you hide yourself, now when I long for your and search for your; when I suffer so much because I cannot find you? Tell me, O Lord, what obstacle stands in the way of my possessing you, of being perfectly united with you? That separates me from you? I have given myself completely to your service; I have given you my heart. Perhaps you will reproach me that it is not completely yours; that you are not yet its only Lord; that there is some sort of feeling in it which is not exclusively for your; that it is taken up with creatures. It is true, O Lord, and I will not deny it. I sometimes reproach myself for this because it is the source of my anxiety and distress; because I cannot get rid of it; because it is stronger than I am; because it became a need in my life. But then, I did not look for this affection, neither did I cultivate it.
You yourself poured it into my soul. After all, it is holy and pure in your eyes. It should help me draw near to you because it is not possible for all persons to directly unite themselves with you. I know it is not sinful because you do not show me it as such, neither do you scold me for it. Then, why do you make me feel so uncomfortable about it? Why do you sometimes cause me to fear that it is stronger than the affection which I have for you? My thoughts during prayer are more often occupied with Father than with you even though I do not want them, even though I suffer because of them. His presence makes a deeper impression on me than yours. I am more grieved by his coldness and vexation than I am with the loss of your grace. That he does not recognize me as his spiritual daughter hurts me more than your abandoning of me.
You know, O Lord, that if I have these suspicions; that if I pay strict attention to every emotion, to almost every stirring in my soul, then, I guess, I do not want it; that I would rather get rid of everything than separate myself from you. That I do not have the courage to make this sacrifice is a sign that I am weak. If you want to lead me along the way of perfect impoverishment, then why do you not give me the proper disposition? Why do you not awaken this desire within me? Why do you allow this fear, this loathing within me? Why do you keep me constantly in this interior struggle which destroys my spiritual and physical strength? This feeling does not bring me the joy nor relief which I crave, instead it makes me suffer; therefore, if it was displeasing or insulting to you, would you not already have been avenged? It is in your power, O Lord, to destroy it, but you also see, O Lord, that I cannot go at it alone. You lead me along such a rough road but you do not allow anyone to support me or comfort me even momentarily.
You yourself accepted the assistance of Simon the Cyrenean, would you then deny me some relief? You showered consolations on your Saints, who were privileged to experience your presence; you did not forbid them those spiritual friendships; then, why do you not allow them to me whom you leave in such abandonment and aridity; why would you want to be less considerate of me? You know, O Lord, how weak I am, how sensual, how impossible it is for me to come to you alone. Please have some consideration for me; do not punish me by taking your grace away from me even though you do not see in me a readiness to make this sacrifice. One thing only would console me – the assurance of my confessor that this is explicitly the Will of God, or that it is a sin.
It seems to me , that it is not really this feeling but a lack of freedom and simplicity which is impeding my progress, hampering my spirit and creating a disturbance in my soul. Father’s forsaking me has led me to feel towards him as I feel towards God – no longer a child but a slave who is afraid of everything.