I am having a difficult time reconciling the concept of desolation as a tool in God’s hands and the promise of Jesus that we will never thirst. On the one hand, experience and the word of people who testify in words and in love that they are disciples of Jesus Christ speak of desolation as a valuable, and perhaps necessary, experience. On the other hand, the testimony of this same Jesus.
I know that the classical writers (John of the Cross), experienced periods of desolation and describe them as part of the maturation process. Zaleski reference Mother Teresa’s fifty years of spiritual darkness. Teresa of Avila says that dryness and desolation of spirit may be better signs of progress than sweetness. Therese of Lisieux wrote “Do not believe I am swimming in consolations…my consolation is to have none on earth.” Jesus himself cried out in anguish at having been forsaken by His Father.
But Jesus said “…whoever drinks of the water that I give him shall never thirst…” (John 4:14) and “…he who comes to Me will never hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” (John 6:35). Furthermore, Jesus says “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7).
I do not know how to reconcile this. Perhaps I misunderstand either the words of Jesus or of His followers (hrm… could be a translation issue… maybe suffer from thirst versus feeling thirsty?). Perhaps those who speak of desolation neglected to seek His presence or grieved His spirit in some way. Or, perhaps, having been in intimate contact with the the unbearable glory of God, everything else pales to such a degree that it can only be comprehended as darkness.
I need to read more about this (starting Ascent of Mount Carmel now) and welcome comments.
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