by Mother Mary Loyola
The Hidden God
Vere Tu es Deus absconditus!
(Isaias xiv. 15.)
There is no use denying that with the exception of rare intervals, our intercourse with God in this life is more or less laborious and difficult. This is only saying that Heaven is not yet come. Faith was meant to be a trial, and a trial it certainly is. The evidence of sense is against us; the levity of imagination is against us; the inconstancy of our desires and of our will is against us when we kneel down to pray.
“Behold He standeth behind our wall”(Cant. ii). We know He is there, close as the priest in the confessional, with attention to every word we say. Yet, for all that, the words and the confidences come slowly. It is hard to prolong a conversation that is all on one side, and this, so it seems to us, is the case in prayer. Useless to tell us that our faith is at fault. That in the presence of the Pope, or the King, we should be all attention. Where the conditions are so different, there can be no parallel. The voice, the look, the question and answer, the surroundings—all these are wanting. Such admonitions irritate us by their injustice, and we look away wearily for help elsewhere. But where to look? We cannot alter the present state of things or fix our wandering thoughts and unstable heart. No, but we can accept all things as they are in truth, and in the truth find a remedy.
“Behold He standeth behind our wall.” But the barrier between us is not a drawback, an obstacle to union with Him—inseparable indeed from the present condition of things—yet an obstacle for all that. It is distinctly willed by Him as a necessary part of our trial, a wholesome discipline, a purification of love. It has in it all the privileges, advantages and blessings that in this life belong to pain, and can be won by pain alone. It is a present blessing as well as a pledge of blessing to come. “Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.”(John XX) It is a pledge of that full clear vision, “reserved in heaven for you, who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein you shall greatly rejoice, if now for a little time you must be made sorrowful…That the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen you love; in Whom also now, though you see Him not, you believe, and believing shall rejoice with joy unspeakable” (1 Peter i.).
“We see now in a dark manner: but then face to face”(1 Cor. xiii). “I shall see Him, but not now” (Numbers xxiv). How will that face to face vision be the brighter and the sweeter for the dimness now! How will the joy of that moment when we part for ever with faith be intensified by what faith has cost us in the past!
O days and hours, your work is this,
To hold me from my proper place,
A little while from His embrace,
For fuller gain of after bliss.
That out of distance might ensue
Desire of nearness doubly sweet,
And unto meeting when we meet,
Delight a hundredfold accrue.
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