Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Hold of Our Love for God and When It Lets Go

“The eighth step of love causes the soul to seize Him and hold Him fast without letting Him go, even as the Bride says, after this manner: ‘I found Him Whom my heart and soul love; I held Him and I will not let Him go. [Song of Songs 3:4] On this step of union the soul satisfies her desire, but not continuously. (Italics added for emphasis.)

“Certain souls climb some way, and then lose their hold; for, if this state were to continue, it would be glory itself in this life; and thus the soul remains therein for very short periods of time.”[1]

-St. John of the Cross.

And this is precisely how it is for us in our spiritual adventure with the Lord our God. The theory is God’s love takes us captive; we are entranced and enraptured in the throes of his glory; such is a baby Christian’s newfound love of life itself; then it somehow wanes. Enter, for some, the Dark Night.

A love so great as God’s can hold anyone. So why do we lose our grip? Well, both realities don’t align with each other to begin with. It is us and our circumstances that realises situations of unrequited longing; not God.

We, in a sense, approach the glory of the Lord in certain seasons, ‘spikes of life’ if you will, and for the rest have but a dim memory, a glass-darkly pose, whereby we always clamour for a re-visitation of this euphoric state of God’s Presence.

Perhaps it’s the spiritual imposter who asserts their continual ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit,’ as I’m quite sure God takes us to the Dark Night for good reason; of discipleship, obedience, testing.

Besides, we’re more than human enough to find the going heavy, tortuous and full of gullied drudgeries from time to time; yet, not many new Christians will be told of this reality of destiny.

God is so interested in us, and so in love with us, he wants us to cling to him in spite of all things. And the basic thing is we can.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

[1] St John of the Cross, “Wherein are Treated the Other Five Steps of Love,” in Dark Night of the Soul.

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