Monday, November 22, 2004

Think it's easy?

"I tell you, then, daughters - those of you whom God is not leading by this road [of contemplation] - that, as I know from what I have seen and been told by those who are following this road, they are not bearing a lighter cross than you; you would be amazed at all the ways and manners in which God sends them crosses.

I know about both types of life and I am well aware that the trials given by God to contemplatives are intolerable; and they are of such a kind that, were He not to feed them with consolations, they could not be borne.

"It is clear that, since God leads those whom He most loves by the way of trials, the more He loves them, the greater will be their trials....

"I think, when those who lead an active life occasionally see contemplatives receiving consolations, they suppose that they never experience anything else. But I can assure you that you might not be able to endure their sufferings for as long as a day.

"The point is that the Lord knows everyone as he really is and gives each his work to do—according to what He sees to be most fitting for his soul, and for His own Self, and for the good of his neighbour."

from The Way of Perfection, Chapter 18
by St. Teresa of Avila