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SUFFERING.....part four

Spiritual suffering can be harder to endure than many physical trials, mainly because we have, as a human community found ways of dealing with the latter. God let's us discover one secret after another about the origins of certain diseases, and ways to treat them. We also have discovered ways of "treating" spiritual pain, but only to a certain extent - after which we are expected to keep walking by faith alone - with just barely enough grace to keep us from rebelling. Then, too, we have to endure the would-be seers who confidently announce that the cause of all our suffering is ........................., and the cure is.................... Of course the cure they offer does't work, so they tell us it is our fault for having so little faith and we now must carry the added weight of condemnation on our back. Our self-appointed guide ends up delivering a curse rather than a blessing.

Our crosses are both interior and exterior, as you know, and some are just a normal part of life. But interior spiritual suffering begins with a deep longing for God, who seems to be totally ignoring us, often after a wonderful experience of him. This is usually not caused by sins because sinners get his attention very quickly. Our way of dealing with life is to, job, home, church and prayer, leisure etc. God is reduced to one of the many. To move into being the one who is over and above the many, God comes and goes in our soul to make us really hunger for him - more and more. This can be maddening but it is how he works with us. We will need to accept this truth at some point - the truth about how he interacts with us to bring us to spiritual health. Also, he is working in our soul on more than one level at a time, and since souls are as different as faces according to St. Therese, the dynamics will differ from soul to soul. God often provides moments or even days when we can sense his nearness, and we get some relief - but expect the lessons to continue! More tomorrow☺

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