At some point in our journey upon this planet, we may become fortunate enough to discover exactly why we’re here.
I hardly claim to know the answer, but it seems to my small and imperfect mind that it JUST MAY have something to do with the quest for spiritual perfection. I find I’m happiest when I empty myself of all things in this world and lose myself in the spiritual realm. That means praying, meditating, sacrificing.
Truthfully, I’m not very good at any of this. But I want to be.
The more I attend to the spiritual, the more I feel I’m make some small modicum of progress toward my life’s goal. I should have been a Cistercian monk or hermit, I suppose. I just couldn’t find the right cave.
I found this great excerpt from Gertrude’s writings dealing with her conversations with Jesus about achieving perfection. Find a quiet place…read slowly…see if this speaks to you like it does to me…
As Gertrude prayed to Jesus for a person who had an ardent desire to advance in perfection, she received this instruction: “Tell her from Me, that if she desires to unite herself to Me by the tie of special love, she must, like a noble bird, make a nest at my feet of the branches of her own nothingness and the palm fronds of My greatness, where she may repose by a continual remembrance of her unworthiness, because man is always inclined to evil of himself and not to good, unless he is prevented by My grace. Let her often reflect on My mercy and on the paternal goodness with which I am ready to receive men when they have fallen, if they return to Me by penance.
“When she desires to leave this nest in order to seek for food, she must fly into My bosom wherein, with affectionate gratitude, she must reflect on the different blessings with which I have enriched her by My superabundant kindness. If she desires to fly further, and to ascend higher on the wings of her desires, she must rise with the swiftness of an eagle to the contemplation of heavenly things which are above her. She must fly around My face, supported like a seraph on the wings of charity, and gaze with the piercing eyes of her spirit upon the glory of the King of kings.
“But since it is impossible for her during this life to continue long in this high contemplation, even for an hour, she must depress her wings, by thinking frequently of her own nothingness, and return to her nest, remaining there in repose until she is able again to renew her flight by acts of thanksgiving and gratitude.
“Then let her seek once more her pasture, and elevate herself again in ecstasy to the highest contemplation of the Divine Majesty. Thus, by repeating frequently these difficult movements, entering into her nest by considerations of her unworthiness and coming forth from it by meditating upon My benefits, she will elevate herself to heavenly contemplation. And she will always taste celestial joys.”
Dare we desire perfection? I’m no Gertrude, far from it. But it is only with the help of God that I would even think I had the remotest of chances of achieving some degree of perfection. Even a tiny bit. Let go…Let God. That’s my prayer.
You have shared with Gertrude a path to perfection, my Lord. Alone, I could never even attempt the journey. Give me the grace and humility to be small within the nest at Your feet, and the courage to fly to your bosom for contemplation of Your great goodness. Incline me not to evil, but enlighten me, guide me, and purify me through the trials of this life. Help me to achieve your plan for me.