One of my good friends introduced me to St. Margaret of Cortona yesterday. She was a third order franciscan. So pretty relatable as the T.O.R. in Franciscan Sisters T.O.R. of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother stands for third order. My friend shared with me this quote of her’s:
“In times of desolation, God conceals Himself from us so that we can discover for ourselves what we are without Him.”
Its such a powerful quote. And I was kind of smacked in the face as my friend was sharing it. I’ve really been going through a lot of struggles in my prayer, feeling distant from God, and really attacked by the evil one – all of this I would put in the category of desolation. So this quote was really poignant for me. My immediate though when I heard it was: I really don’t like who I am without Him. I can’t do anything without Him. I’ve kind of been reflecting on this quote the entire day and a thought crossed my mind a little bit ago about the truth in that statement. I can’t do anything without Him. I fail without Him. I am nothing without God. I literally wouldn’t exist without Him.
Taking it deeper I started to think about my vocation. A lot of this desolation has been centered around this journey I’m on with the T.O.R.s and so that’s where this quote took root. But if I really feel this awful in a state of desolation, where I truly felt like I couldn’t do anything, I with all my heart desired to be close to the Lord again, to feel Him if even just for a moment to be reminded He actually existed and was with me. If even when the Lord seemed to be far away, I stayed committed and faithful, how could I doubt my relationship with Him?
It seems to me that if so much of my identity and happiness lies in someone why would I question whether I want to spend the rest of my life with Him? If Jesus was a living breathing man whom I was physically able to date and I was so in love with this man that even when we were fighting and struggling, I could think of nothing else than fixing it and growing back together, I would never question my love for him. I would know without a doubt that this man is worth my life. Not only that, knowing that he wasn’t giving up on me, that he was still showing up and listening. What else could I ever want? I would for sure be daydreaming about marrying a man like that. So what’s the difference? The only thing is that Jesus isn’t physically here in human form for me to date. But He does meet me every day, usually more than once a day, in the Eucharist at Mass and in adoration. He listens to me, He inspires me to grow, He challenges me, He comforts me, He is all things for me.
I still have a long journey ahead of me, but I am feeling better about where I am and what I’m doing. I’m starting to see again how this vocation fits into my identity. It’s just this waiting game that is making this more difficult.