Tuesday, December 14, 2004

We must then dig deeply in Christ

"He is like a rich mine
with many pockets containing treasures:
however deep we dig
we will never find their end or their limit.
Indeed, in every pocket
new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.

"For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ:
'In him are hidden
all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God.'
The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them,
unless it first crosses into and enters
the thicket of suffering,
enduring interior and exterior labours,
and unless it first receives from God
very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses,
and has undergone long spiritual training.

"All these are lesser things,
disposing the soul for the lofty sanctuary
of the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ:
this is the highest wisdom attainable in this life.

"Would that men might come at last
to see that it is quite impossible
to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God
except by first entering the thicket of much suffering,
in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire.

"The soul that longs for divine wisdom
chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross.

"Saint Paul therefore urges the Ephesians
not to grow weary in the midst of tribulations,
but to be steadfast and rooted and grounded in love,
so that they may know with all the saints
the breadth, the length, the height and the depth
– to know what is beyond knowledge, the love of Christ,
so as to be filled with all the fullness of God.

"The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom
is the cross;
because it is a narrow gate,
while many seek the joys that can be gained through it,
it is given to few to desire to pass through it."
from a Spiritual Canticle
by Saint John of the Cross