Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Raissa Maritain: “Living in the Whirlwind”

Don't just start "browsing" through Raissa's Journal unless you are prepared to have an ice bucket of God's incomprehensible 'crazy' love dumped on your head.

The Journal is Raissa Maritain's posthumously published reflections on six decades of living (along with her husband Jacques) a life of intense faith as a layperson in the twentieth century world. 

There are words in it that will give you shivers. You will remember the mysterious, awesome, and infinite God who loves us. By the very reality of His love drawing near to us, He shatters all our sentimental substitutes and comfortable notions of 'cheap grace' – all the domesticated categories we would like to use to contain Him.

Yet here is found also the hint as to why our own lives can seem so inexplicable. The identity and vocation of each of us is hidden in Him, and His love has set out to transform us.

I'm not sure I understand the words quoted below.

Surely here we are within the paradox of needing to "lose ourselves for His sake" if we are to have the life to which He calls us. We are called to go forth to God "without-keeping-back-anything." Even in our journey of "one step at a time," the steps are measured by Him.

How often life itself teaches us this when we walk by faith. There will be rest and consolation enough, but not "on demand," not according to our own conception of ourselves and our limits. One day we will understand fully what a good thing it is that God leads us according to His wisdom and love, and our gratitude will fill our hearts. For the present moment, we have faith, hope, trust – we adhere to Jesus, we cry out to Him, we beseech His mercy, we never give up on Him.
“Surely we are to be pitied, we who are tossed in the waves of everything that constitutes suffering in this world, of everything which, like ourselves, is all misery and need, we who 'seeking peace and pursuing it' can nevertheless only find it under the goad of a thousand trials, in labour, in noise and in the midst of the world.
“We walk in darkness, risking bruising ourselves against a thousand obstacles. But we know that 'God is love' and trust in God is our light. I have the feeling that what is asked of us is to live in the whirlwind, without keeping back any of our substance, without keeping back anything for ourselves, neither rest nor friendships nor health nor leisure – to pray incessantly and that even without leisure  in fact to let ourselves pitch and toss in the waves of the divine will till the day when it will say: 'It is enough.'”
~Raissa Maritain