Some of the greatest Saints of the Catholic Church led lives of spiritual aridity, and suffered great persecutions even from within their own families and Religious Orders. But even though their souls were immersed in the depths of darkness, where they were deprived of all consolations, yet they did not fall into despair.
It is these souls who learned to love God for who He IS, rather than what He could give them. It is these privileged souls who held within their hearts, the Pearl of Great Price. They did not seek after the glitter or the glory of their encounter with the Divine. In fact most of these noble Saints were silent about their struggles and inner aridity.
Those who seek spiritual 'highs' are in most danger of falling into despair, for it is not God they seek, but the 'feelings' of exultation through the manipulations of emotions, rather than their dependence on God. This hunger for spiritual 'highs' is a form of unhealthy spirituality.
Before the soul can reach this Mystical completeness with God, they must first be purified. This is a very painful experience as the soul undergoes a withering heat which burns away their love of worldly things and longing for attention. It is a holocaust of the heart as God purifies the soul so as to occupy it. This happens so that no longer do you live but Christ lives within you.
The great Mystics of our Faith eschew any longing for 'feelings.' They recognise that these 'feelings' will lead them astray, from the purpose of which God is drawing them into union with the Divine.
Neither do these great Mystics promote a cold 'detachment' in that a soul who is on fire for love of God is not cold towards others, but deeply humbled towards all. There is much misunderstanding in what detachment is: we are to become detached from a longing of 'things' but not to foster a coldness or chilliness towards anyone. Detachment is to appreciate that all things made by God is good but they do not become dependent upon the created, but, instead they remain dependent upon the Creator.
God's Love is a fiery furnace which consumes the soul completely, without nullifying the uniqueness of the individual. The Church has had many Mystics, but, no two have been the same, in that St. Catherine of Siena is not St. Therese of Lisieux, yet both are Mystics of the one Faith.
In order for God to work within the soul uninterrupted He first has to empty the soul of any egoism, emotionalism and attachments. The soul in effect becomes an empty vessel and it is then that God fills the empty vessel with the Essence of the Divine. This does not 'divinize' the person, but it does make them a living reflection of the Triune Spirit, indwelling within them.
In the end it is the Mystic who dies to self will, and arises with the spark of the Divine Love, which then spills itself out for love of others. In this they can truly say 'I have been Crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.'
Written by Marie