30 January 1953
You keep writing about your troubles and your inner disorder. Realize that it cannot be otherwise in the temporal life, and do not try to find out from whom and through whom they come, for they do not come without God's permission. If not even a hair of our head will perish, how much more sure is God's protection of man. It is also said: 'By your endurance you will gain your lives' [Luke 21:18-19]. I have already written to you before that there is just one way to deal with sorrows: prayer and patience. At a time of trouble wait for peace, and when there is peace prepare for trouble. In this temporal life peaceful and troubled phases alternate. Even the holy men of God were not free from these changes. But you want to find some new path in order to escape hard experiences. This cannot be. You haven't had abuse hurled at you or been struck on the cheeks, have you? Just remember the patience of the God Incarnate: the blows on the cheeks, the hitting on the head with a stick, the spitting in his face and many kinds of ridicule. And He endured all this for the sake of our salvation. But we do not want, for the sake of our own salvation, to suffer even small annoyances.
I write this and blush. I teach others, but am myself guilty. Yet I do not lose hope; I trust in God's goodness, that by his mercy He will save me, a negligent man.
Forgive the brevity of my letter.
With love in Christ. "
I too have suffered from an idealistic understanding and living out of the spiritual life. I have been ensnared by the belief that at some point inner turmoil would cease, ALL the lights would come on, I would have such a profound "connection" with God and henceforth would be above worldly troubles and cares.
If I live the life of Christ I should expect that the same opposition shall meet me as did Him.
I contend with all that He Himself did, with the qualification to that statement that He was(and is) sinless but yet did His pure Self(I'm not speaking here in psychological terms of the self, the ego, etc.,etc., but use the term "His pure Self" to denote He Himself in the totality of His Person as The God-Man, perfect God and perfect Man) have to interact with the world He created and which is fallen. Travel through it and upon it in the vessel He had fashioned, which He has also fashioned for me , He did, encountering human sickness and sin at every point and under every circumstance of His pure and spotless life.
The demons always there, seeking opportunity to have entrance to His will and Person, to detour Him from His course to the Cross. Not only directly but also through those He loved and counted as friend did they harass Him.
Of course, I, a creature, and He, my Creator, are not the same. Though I walk in the same fallen world He did, I must add that to be righteous, to live Him, is not natural to me, is not of my essence as He in His essence is fully God. Hence the necessity of Him being formed in me.
He went to the Cross and He has said that to go where He goes requires the Cross for me as well. The dying of the old man and the birth of the new. Why do I expect this all to be a pleasant business? Why do I look for approval from my peers on my journey to the Cross?
May I be given wisdom and patience(as He sees fit) to live the spiritual life the way one runs a marathon. Foolish would be the one running a marathon who began in a sprint and hoped to sustain the sprint to the very end 26 miles later. Rather, as I live, may I begin to understand as a mature man who has put away childish things(1 Cor. 13:11).
Peace and turmoil will alternate to the very end when I reach the grave. This is true, concrete, for sure, will happen, cannot be otherwise, for me.
For you too I would presume.