Charlene is back from her retreat at the convent. She had a great time away. It’s amazing what a single day can do to re-orient the soul. While there, Char discovered a book called When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings. I’m going to order the book. For now, here are some excerpts that she copied into her journal:
The real problem of the interior life is not that we don’t have the time or the proper conditions to live it…The snakes and the parish meetings and the children are real enough…What really hinders our growth is that we don’t really want badly enough to discover God in our lives. We do want it in some sense or else we would not have come this far. But the mystery, the paradox, the incongruity of God’s ways, the “cost of discipleship” all give us pause. It is much easier to say, “Circumstances prevent me from going on,” than to say, “The cost is too great.” That is why I have always loved the rich young ruler of Luke 18; he went away sad but he was honest. He made no excuses, no rationalizations.
On what we really mean when we say our marriage vows:
What do we really mean? “I hope and believe it will all be ‘better’, but if the ‘worse’ comes I will try to survive it with God’s grace.” It never enters our minds that the ‘worse’ is just as necessary to the growth of love as is the ‘better’…The hard times are not obstacles to the growth of love, although they will certainly seem to be such when we are young. Rather they are part of the experience by which real love comes to be.. I realized that any love, whether it be for God or man, comes to maturity in the hard times. Thus a really good marriage is just as costly as a genuine interior life with God. It is probably almost as rare, too, and for the same reasons.
This looks like a rich book, full of the wisdom of the centuries rather than easy formulas. It’s about the emptiness that we sometimes feel, which make us like “terrified children who take for disaster what is really salvation.” I’m glad Charlene discovered the book; I look foward to discovering more of it myself.