Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sooner or later wretchedness will be transformed into burning charity

"The three aspects of the spiritual life - the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious outpourings of the Holy Spirit - recall the image of the fire and the log used by St John of the Cross.

When the fire approaches the log it first lights it up and warms it. That corresponds to a joyful mystery. We are warmed by the love of God revealed to us. When the fire comes closer, the wood begins to blacken, smoke, smell bad, and give out tar and other unpleasant substances. This is the sorrowful outpouring: the soul has the painful experience of its own wrtchedness. This phase lasts until the purifying fire has completed its work and the soul is totally transformed into a fire of love. Here is the glorious outpouring, in which the soul is strengthened in charity, the fire Jesus came to kindle on earth.

The lesson of this imagery is very optimistic: we should not fear the times when we feel crushed by our wretchedness. We should abandon ourselves trustingly to God sure that sooner or later wretchedness will be transformed into burning charity. St Thérèse of Lisieux wrote to her sister, Marie du Sacré-Coeur: 'Let us keep far from everything that shines, let's love our littleness... then we will be poor in spirit, and Jesus will come and look for us. However far away we are, he will transform us into flames of love.'"

-- Interior Freedom by Fr Jacques Philippe

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been praying, especially during the Novena to St. John of the Cross, to inflame my heart with charity since it easily becomes self-centered and IS wretched! I know there is hope : )