Many times we never make it in Christianity because there is always something holding us back. The Danish theologian Sören Kierkegaard wrote about a well-off woman who felt God calling her to the religious life. She felt she would be able to give up everything in order to do this, with one exception: she had a garden which was very dear to her heart. It was a place for her to be alone and to renew herself. And she was unable and unwilling to give up the key to her secret garden.
Perhaps we too have a secret garden and perhaps we too are unwilling to give up the key to Jesus and to let him take possession of all!
One priest told me how one day he met a young man leaving a rehabilitation center for alcoholics just a few hours after he entered! “Do you know what they wanted me to do in there?” he confided to him in a shocked whisper, “They wanted me to change my whole life style!”
The poor lad saw all that as being far too complicated, and he was getting out of there as fast as he could. In fact, this man had chosen undoubtedly the more difficult road. The road that had been suggested to him was much easier and held higher hopes of satisfaction in life than the one that he chose to follow.
The issue is perhaps that we underestimate His power and His tenderness with our wounds. A novice went to Abba Poemen in sorrow. “I had a great fall, Abba,” he confessed, “and I need at least three years to repent.” “That’s too much,” the Elder told him. “Is three months enough, then?” “That’s also too much,” the holy man replied. Let me tell you that if you have truly repented and have made a firm decision not to fall into the same sin again, God in his Goodness will receive you back in three days”
Someone made up this dialogue between Jesus and the soul that I found very enlightening. “If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a healer? If you never went through addiction, how would you know that I am a deliverer? If you never felt sadness, how would you know that I am a comforter? If you never made a mistake, how would you know that I am forgiving?
If you knew all, how would you know that I will answer your questions? If you never were in trouble, how would you know that I will always come to your rescue? If you never were broken, then how would you know that I can make you whole? If you never had a problem, how would you know that I can solve them?
If you never had any suffering, then how would you experience my nearness to you in pain? If you never went through fire, then how would you become pure? If I never corrected you, how would you know that I love you? If your life was perfect, how could you possibly understand others? I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”
I think I finally understand something…
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.