I decided, for Lent, to read Come Be My Light (ed. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.), the firsthand account of Mother Teresa's Dark Night of the Soul. Obviously, this woman was a living saint- surrendering everything to the Lord was just a way of life for her, in a no-questions-asked, of-course-I'll-surrender kind of way. She even made a private vow to renounce her will entirely, saying, "I bind myself, under pain of mortal sin, to refuse Jesus no sacrifice, which I clearly see He is asking from me." What makes this already extraordinary promise even more amazing is the fact that for much of her life, Blessed Teresa felt an intense spiritual dryness and could not sense God's presence at all. The pain of His absence, though, deeply purified her and led her by grace along her way to holiness. So beautiful.
Thanks to Blessed Teresa's inspiration, what I've been thinking about lately is this temptation that I sometimes have. Since my husband is meant to be and is God's love to me on earth, I constantly pray to love him better, give myself completely to him, and put his soul, body, and desires before mine. In doing this, I've grown in some significant ways and stumbled in others. It makes sense that Andrew is my most tangible path to Heaven, God willing. What I frequently forget, though, is that I'm called to love the Lord in the exact same way. It's something I pray about far less often. Maybe it's that His love just seems like such a natural fact of my life that I never even stop to contemplate it, or that my love for Him seems like a more indirect love than the one in front of me in my marriage. You know what I mean? I'm looking at the words I just wrote, and they shouldn't change when it comes to love for the Lord. Loving Him should be exactly like loving my husband: striving to love Him better, giving myself completely to Him, and giving up my will for His.
Here's another piece of wisdom I found in the book:
Since Mother Teresa longed for complete union with Christ, who suffered on the Cross, she--His little bride--could not do otherwise than be united to Him in His suffering. If she could not remove his pain, then she would be there, on the Cross as it were, with Him.
Whenever I consider the simple enough fact that we, the Church, are Christ's bride, I remember in a new way how much I'm called to be a loving, receiving bride both to Andrew and to Jesus. Haven't you felt the way this passage describes? It's that feeling of loving someone so deeply that you feel his pain as deeply as he does and wish you could bear it for him. You suffer together. That is the way of the Cross- you love fully and you give yourself up. You fall and then you stand back up, even when it hurts. It's in the hurting that your heart's widened to let Love in.
What's your biggest struggle in love? How do you keep your love for the Lord at the center of your spiritual life, understanding that all other loves flow from His?
Next up: Cast out (swimming) into the deep.