"...enthusiasm for a virtue does not guarantee possession of that virtue; and that a clear perception of the beauty of spiritual transformation can coexist with a deep reluctance to let oneself be re-formed by Christ." Transformation in Christ, Dietrich von Hildebrand. Intro. viii
This is a statement in the introduction to the Transformation in Christ is by the author's wife Alice. To my immediate recollection I have never had anyone put into words in such an eloquent way what has essentially been my experience from the beginning of my Journey with the Lord Jesus.
One of the things that is so amazing about this statement is that it is Jesus who gives us that perception of the beauty to be had when transformed! He makes every effort that He possibly can to show us, or even experience, what it is that is waiting for us on the other end of the Cross!
And yet, I RESIST! YIKES! :-p
It was through a mystical experience that Jesus first gave me this perception. It happened around a year before I became Catholic and was instrumental in creating a hunger in me for God.
I was with a new friend who was essentially the instrument of my conversion. We were talking and he was sharing with me another world, the world of God. It was all so foreign to me as I was into some very dark things. At one point in the evening, it was as though Someone had touched me. This sense of total peace and contentment came over and in me that I broke down and cried because of the contrast between that peace and my daily life. I had never experienced being so comfortable in my own skin. I had never experienced such a total peace like that before that moment. It stayed with me for a short time and then left. I felt so empty.
From that moment, I made a commitment to discover that peace. That peace was the gift. I soon discovered that I was looking for the wrong thing! I needed to be looking for the gift Giver.
After becoming Catholic, and beginning the Journey I discovered that it was indeed possible to know what the Lord had in store for me after a healing process that He was calling me to enter. Even He received that gift in the Transfiguration! But, boy oh boy there were many times, and there still are some times, when I refused to cooperate. I did not want that cup of suffering!
The agony of healing can be so incredibly intense and totally consuming. Yet, once the process is finished, I was always one step closer to that deep peace that the Lord has for me. It was His promise that He made to me when He gave me that gift of peace right at the beginning, and then in the many times he gave me a new perception afterward, that gave me the strength to make the decisions to follow the healing path.
"...Christ suffered for you and left an example for you to follow in his steps." 1 Peter 2:21
St. Peter surely wasn't kidding when he said these words! In context, he is speaking to those who receive unjust punishment for something they did not do. This passage is so significant to those of us who have indeed suffered unjustly at the hands of others! I am thinking specifically of those of us who have been abused.
Realizing that Jesus suffered the ultimate abuse at the hands of us all because of our sin, that He indeed walked the same path as I, can sometimes be the only source of light at the end of the long dark tunnel of the healing path. He triumphed and rose from the dead! I too triumph in Him and with Him in His victory!
Praised be Jesus Christ for being willing to walk that path! Praised be Jesus Christ for willingly sharing His victory! And, praised be Jesus Christ for being so generous as to give us glimpses of the gift waiting for us after my time in the crucible!