In mediation this morning I went off subject because as I focused on reflecting on the Good Shepherd a picture came to me. I saw before me an archway and thought of ‘the narrow gate’
Am I getting in through that narrow gate I wondered?
I don’t think so. Not yet. I see the narrow archway right up ahead. There are plenty of interesting things I catch a glimpse of beyond and inside the archway. The archway itself is made of rugged stone but none of this interests me.
“How shall I pass through? What more do I need? What am I lacking?
Jesus said: “The gate is narrow and they are few who enter in”
I recall now how in those past days I thought this applied to others. The faceless others. Strangers.
Now I know better. I cannot pass through and I am not sure why.
There are a million “more” things I ought to be doing. More prayer, fasting, kindness, forgiveness in my heart.
Suddenly the archway becomes more real and I feel a terrible longing to go through.
I hear my soul crying out “I want through, I want through”.
I am getting quite distressed.
Then the voice of God the Holy Ghost settles into my nature.
“Not more! Less!”
I stay very still within. There is silence.
Oh wayward heart of mine. I know the answer to this. How many times have I realised not more but less is the answer.
Less of the world. Less of the seeking my own comfort. Less of satisfying my own desires, my own will.
Then comes a very real experience.
Through the gate!
I am clothed with the totality of living in God alone. There is nothing of anything else. Gone is ego sum.
There is only His ‘I AM’.
The impressions are so real. Nothing clinging to me. Nothing? No such word in here. Instead everything.
I am no longer on the outside of the archway I am living inside it. I don’t say “I” anymore. Ego sum has gone and yet there is completeness of human nature in God.
I understand that this is how it would feel to be so focused on God Alone.
Then it is gone and I am outside the narrow gate again.
Pondering on the experience, as usual I forget that step so necessary in the meditation and mental prayer process, that of saying “thanks” for the grace and enlightenment received.
Instead I am awed with what just happened. I begin to think about myself again. I hold on to the experience desiring to savour it and it becomes an impediment to my journey forward.
“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. His Majesty warned.
Today I will answer the call and allow my spirit to love God with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind. With my strength I will adore Him.
No need to ask myself how will I manage this. I know. Fancy name “procrastination”. But what is it really? Adoration of the self.
Too late now to say thanks, too late for the other steps on St. Teresa’s map: because the morning duties call.
Later in the day I try to appreciate what I felt in those few moments of completeness during mental prayer but that is not possible. There is only the knowledge that it happened.
What now? No doubt I will have to “cowboy up” as they say in “heartland”. Oh dear should I give up that little addiction? Yes of course I ought to.
Well maybe not yet. I think of all the holy women in the world who are dedicated to God even though they have family commitments. Those faceless strangers who do get through the narrow gate. I conjure up the image of that perfect Catholic woman somewhere in the world who is pleasing God perfectly.
Maybe God can do without me, just yet.
And ‘yet’, something is different. There is a residue which translates into a determination to shed the self.
Perhaps that ‘perfect Catholic woman’ is praying for us all.