Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yearning for God

Somehow, the issue yesterday of not remaining, has now been written about in the other blog site. Regardless, the fault has been confessed, and the direction given that one is to remain and listen if one does know the content well enough to discern truth from errancy, and then later question what is said that may need clarification or fraternal correction.

Given this morning's Gospel, it was pointed out that Jesus remained as Light, and he influenced others to good, despite eating with tax collectors, visiting with Mary Magdalene, and allowing Judas to be one of the Twelve.

It is true that if one yearns after God, then one must follow Him wherever He goes and do whatever He does. One must learn to think like Jesus. St. Silouan says: "The Lord calls us thither, in spite of our sins."

To actually know God, though, is what souls really desire: to know Him is to experience His love. Even that does not describe knowing God! St. Silouan suggests, following what Jesus Himself said: Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.

When the soul sees the Lord, how meek and humble He is, then she herself is thoroughly humbled, and desires nothing so much as the humility of Christ. And however long the soul may live on earth, she will always desire and seek this humility which passes comprehension, which she cannot forget.

But in this yearning for God, which requires humility in order to come to know God, we are told by the Staretz that he who will not love his enemies cannot come to know the Lord and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us to love our enemies, so that the soul pities them as if they were her own children.

There are people who desire the destruction, the torment in hell-fire, of their enemies, or of the enemies of the Church. They think like that because they have not learned from the Holy Spirit the love of God, for he who has learned the love of God will shed tears for the whole world....

Paradise has need of humility and the love of Christ, which pities all men.

The grace of God is not in the man who does not love his enemies.

Now, that is much to ponder. But it is quite simple, and it is exactly what Jesus has said, and many of us have heard it over and over: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.

And then we ponder Jesus suffering and dying on the Cross in reparation for our sins and begging the Father to forgive us, for we do not know what we are doing.

A victim soul who yearns for God must also follow along the way of the Cross. The victim soul must learn to love God, and that comes through learning humility--humility enough to remain where He remains. He was crucified between two sinners.

It is the humility that is learned by keeping our mind in hell but not despairing. But that is hopefully explained on a different blog, and humility will be written of again and again.

The Lord bids us love Him with all our hearts and all our souls--but how is it possible to love Him whom we have never seen, and how may we learn this love? The Lord is made known by His effect on the soul. When the Lord has visited her, the soul knows that a dear Guest has come and gone, and she yearns for Him and seeks Him with tears....

What joy is ours that the Lord not only forgives our sins but allows the soul to know Him, so soon as she humbles herself. The poorest wretch may humble himself and know God in the holy Spirit. There is no need of money or of possessions to know God, only of humility. The Lord freely gives Himself, for His mercy's sake alone....The Lord gives peace even in sleep, but without God there is no peace in the soul....

The Lord said: 'Where I am, there shall also my servant be, and he shall see my glory.'

The man who has come to know the love of God himself loves the whole world and never murmurs at his fate, for temporary affliction endured for God's sake is a means to eternal joy.

The soul that is not humble and has not surrendered herself to the will of God cannot come to know anything, but flits from one idea to another and never prays with an undistracted mind or glorifies the majesty of God....The soul lives in the love of God, in the humility and meekness of the Holy Spirit; but we must give the Holy Spirit the freedom of our souls, that He may dwell therein, that the soul may be sensible of His cannot melt away.

My cousin called, and we discussed enemies and that it seems that we create our own enemies by criticizing. But if we do not criticize others, there is love for others, even if others might criticize us or choose us to be their enemies. The creation of enemies can occur only in the mind; it doesn't have to happen in person. So, too, dissolving enmity can occur in the mind, and in the heart with love.

When the soul yearns for God, there is no capability to yearn if one yearns with enmity. The Holy Spirit can cleanse the mind and heart of any enmity toward anyone, in a flash. But this is an on-going flashing, for moment by moment our own sins and the sins of others attempt to disrupt the pure yearning. To know God means to know His love; God loves all souls. God's will is always to love.

To put this into everyday context takes some consideration. The vastness of God's love is in itself humbling. To realize that I have not loved others as God wills me to love others, is humbling. There is nothing of God that keeps me from loving others as God desires me to love. To love involves some suffering, for it is a cleaving from self, from sin.


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