The great Carmelite mystic, St John of the Cross, writes:
‘A person makes progress in the Spiritual life by imitating Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.No one goes to the Father but through Him, as he states himself in St John (John 14:16). Elsewhere he says: ‘I am the door; anyone who enters by me shall be saved.’ (John 10:9). Accordingly, I would not consider any spirituality worthwhile that wants to walk in sweetness and ease and run from the imitation of Christ. Jesus also speaks of: ‘How narrow is the gate and straight the way that leads to life! And few there are who find it.’ (Mathew 7:14) John is reminding us that we are like Jesus, being invited not to run away from suffering when we are seeking to do God’s will. Jesus did not seek suffering for its own sake. We know how he struggled with suffering when he was in Gethsemane on the night before his passion. Yet he did not run away because he trusted the Father. We are invited to stay committed to the Love of God and neighbour even though this might involve suffering. Standing up for the practice of our faith is not always comfortable or easy. The spiritual life is not about seeking ‘highs’ or self-satisfaction. Rather it is about the greater love and that is not easy. Love requires commitment. It is about a purer and more selfless love. We find ourselves when we give ourselves. But we give ourselves because we love, not to find ourselves.
Image credit: Johannes Plenio via Unsplash