PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Sunday, March 03, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 20 - Whatever happened to my love affair with God?


"This love communion sparks an amazing thirsting for the living God as a deer longs for the flowing waters. One sings to the Beloved through the night, pining for him as a parched desert thirsts for the refreshing rain (Ps 42:1-2; 63:1)"
I'm not unfamiliar with this feeling, this intense, passionate love affair with God. I've known this feeling intimately right after graduating from the Christian Life Program in community. With the passing of years, however, the feeling turned out to be a temporary high, a euphoric episode that would inevitably die down. With my addictive nature, I was bound to be attached to it, even if a cautionary word was given in community not to be attached to the feeling.

But how I loved that feeling of being in love and being beloved by God. It was like I could go to heaven anytime at the time and i wouldn't have cared less what the consequences could be. Germans even have a term for that state of mind/soul: sehnsucht.

The nitty-gritty of daily life, of trying to live in the world but not of the world, seems to have robbed me of that high. I thought, "Whew Christianity is high-maintenance." A little fall, a little sin, is bound to banish me from the throne, falling short of the glory of God. How disappointing could that be.

I even came to the point of understanding what sacrificial love is, when I resolved to be faithful in attending and serving in community despite my losses, perceived 'lacks,' and absence of the usual warm fuzzy feelings, thus making this passage so resonant for me:
"...[T]he feeling element so common in the usual ideas about love may be diminished or absent even in the most authentic love. What is crucial is that our free will be operative. We do what ought to be done in given circumstances even when attraction, pleasure and inclination are absent. Genuine love is sacrificial."
From time to time, during worship, at rare moments in the middle of Mass, or in certain events and occasions of my life, I do get back to that intimacy instantaneously, as though God have thought to grace me every now and then with the euphoria of old to remind me how the love affair started. But for the most part, God seems absent or far away. What, I wonder, is God up to?

Maybe I am the one to blame, after all? After all, God never goes away, if we are to believe him; he's just a prayer away. How is my prayer life anyway? It is regular, yes, but why do I fail to hear God the way I used to? Could it be that something in me has been blocking him away? If so, why am I walling off God? What have I done wrong along the way?

Maybe God has been talking to me in different ways that I am ignoring? I know he continues to talk to me through others; maybe the problem is I am not satisfied because I am expecting him to continue 'speaking' to me in the old way: through direct messages during prayer time, through the leaping words from the pages of the Bible, through readings during community assembly.

Looks like I need to dig this up further the rest of this retreat and throughout the rest of Lent.

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