Tough love (of God)

Dom Guillerand, in The Prayer of Love and Silence, has a chapter entitled "Practice Almsgiving and Humility." I was pleased to find this just in advance of Lent. Characteristically, he has some powerful things to say.

On fasting:
Fasting is an alms given directly to God. It is for his sake that we fast. It is in order that we may become more strongly attached to Him that we deprive ourselves of that food which comes from Him, and of which we can partake only for His sake. To offer Him the sacrifice of what is not absolutely indispensable for our physical well being is thus to raise ourselves from our level to His. This is itself a prayer: it raises us up to His level, to His presence, and is the prelude to many intimate colloquies of the highest form of prayer.
Now that is some motivation for Lenten penance! He continues on the subject of humility:
The thought of our own misery, and of the unfathomable divine mercy, also lifts us up to the same heights. They are, as it were, two oceans, spreading beyond the narrowness of or individual selves and meeting in the infinite. For we can see our nothingness only in the light of the divine greatness. Otherwise we see only a very superficial part of it, and this is more than we can bear, In the light of this immense love, which stoops down to it in order to raise it up and enfold i with His greatness, our misery becomes the greatest of all realities. That reality opens to the soul the horizons of love, where He who is truth and love awaits us and says to the soul, "Come and stay here forever."
I love the writing of this Carthusian master of ascetical and mystical theology. He speaks ardently and invitingly, from experience, of mystical union with God. At the same time, he is as far as it is possible to be from that "put your feet up and have a mug of cocoa" school of "spirituality" which accommodates itself to whatever makes us feel warm, fuzzy and comfortable.

(I have started a label for "Guillerand" to make it easier to find other posts where I have written about this book.)

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