Love One Another! 7/2006 → True Love Waits - Pure Hearts
It is amazing how my life has changed through God’s grace. A few years ago I would have laughed at anybody saying I would come to a deep experience of faith. Why? Because the Church had always played a marginal role in my life.
I never knew that faith had such depth and power. As I saw it, faith was nothing but dry piety. Conscious of the hypocrisy, evil and distress around me, I became a cynical woman. The problems I faced in life hurt me deeply, unimaginably, and I was powerless to fight back. It was tough. It seemed to me that I was the only one in the world to be suffering. In the end I decided I didn’t need the Church at all. I had a thousand excuses for not going to Mass because it had no effect on my life, or so I thought. That was the worst period of my life: deep depression, irritability, despair, gallows humor. I saw the world as a wicked, treacherous, tainted place. I sank into a black quagmire, withdrew into myself, created an imaginary crash bar around me. Though no one may have noticed, I was seething inside. I felt worthless and doomed to failure. Life seemed futile. But God did not let me forget Him. Intuitively, I was seeking the good all along. Because I did not wish to waste my life, I decided to come back to the Church. I made a pilgrimage. I saw that people could look at each another through the eyes of love. That was a shock for me; but it gave me hope. The Lord began to refashion my heart. I attended a religious retreat.
My life began to change from the foundations up. I discovered I was important to God. I had worth. After a year, the effects of the retreat began to wear off, but the Lord continued to work on me through other people. I went on another retreat, I had no idea how much this would change my life.
Every day I put on “the new self.” Step by faltering step I make my way toward the Source of Living Water, Grace and Truth. When it comes to straightening our paths, God dictates the tempo. We cling to Him and He gives us the best retreats. He gives us Himself.
Every day I discover to my amazement how much our faith unites and permeates all things, how it shapes and builds from the foundations up. Until recently I thought faith was a subjective matter. I did not put much stock in it. I did not want to deepen my knowledge of it. Now I cling to my faith with my whole heart. God is not an alien being. He is not a mere subjective experience. Even when I shut myself off from Him, when I say He does not exist, or when I go astray or become angry with Him, He is still there – really and truly.
To the very end our hidden God respects our freedom – the freedom that we so often and willfully use against ourselves. Yet He makes His home in our hearts. He takes His shelter there. In the impenetrable maze of modern liberalism it is hard for people (especially young people) to find themselves. Faith, hope and love do not lend themselves to media hype. They are not things you can buy or sell wrapped in alluring packages. They do not tempt or enslave or awaken in us a desire for possession. They are eternal Truths that give life.
I was always convinced that God was absent when we suffered. I saw Him as someone who punished and scoffed at us. Suffering was the “hand of God.” Now I know that when a person suffers, God has compassion for us. Christ’s example shows that He suffers greatly and unimaginably on our account. I still suffer, but now I know that pain is an inseparable part of everyone’s existence.
My sense of being purified in the Lord, of being open to His grace is growing.
I have joined the Movement of Pure Hearts. For years I was troubled
by self-abuse – the result of mental rejection. I felt I was
doomed to this practice for the rest my life. I even thought that
it was good and pleasant, that I was developing sexually. Instead
it gave rise to uncertainty, tension and guilt. “The thief
breaks in” (Hosea
7:1). Satan destroys the soul and impoverishes the body. What is
even more monstrous: this affords him joy! He would have us believe
that he cares for us. What deception!
Day after day the Lord works within me, purifies me, fills me with love. He also works through people and bestows blessings on me. I used to feel I was not worthy of His gifts. But He has shown me the way and will not abandon me. Now I know that my painful experience was necessary because in spite of my many problems He lightens the way with His grace. Thanks to Him my yoke is easy and my efforts make me the richer for it. I still experience pain and doubt, but I do not give up. It is not worth it. I want to serve my Lord. He knows the road marked out for me. Today He is inscribing His name in my heart.