The Brutal Light of God

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The Mystery is a light more blinding than thousands of simultaneously exploded atomic bombs.

If you attempt to gaze on it directly, you are blinded and enter into a darkness that is your own, not God’s. He knew this, and devised for our sake certain precautionary measures. Christ knew it, and issued his terse warning : ‘Unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Mt i8 : 3).

This is the crux of the matter, and knowing the danger to which my generation is exposing itself, I wish to take issue with God.

I am not afraid that God will destroy the world, but I am afraid that he may abandon it to wander blindly in the sophisticated wasteland of contemporary civilization.

I am not afraid that he will allow us to want for food and medicines, but I am afraid that he may abandon us to the temptation against faith.

I will not presume to say that I have experienced the terrors of the night of the spirit, and I do not know whether that night is the same as the one described by St John of the Cross. I only know that it is a terrible experience to find oneself with one’s faith exposed before the stark Reality of God.

And there is one way, and one only, of coming through the experience : the way of childhood, littleness, humility, persevering prayer, tears. It is not easy, I admit, because before resolving to become little we are only too inclined to try every other way imaginable. In nearly every case the way of humility and tears is chosen only when one feels defeated and at a loss where to turn. The parable of the wedding feast described by
Luke tells how, in order to have his table full, the king finally commanded his servants, ‘Go to the open roads and the hedgerows and force people to come in . . .’ Lk 14 :23). And it is sad to think that we possibly begin to search for God only because we no longer know where else to go, and only when, let down by beauty, by health and by our dreams, we are prepared to open ourselves to the One who still loves us, and makes use of our misfortunes to compel us to enter at last into the kingdom of his love.

This is why I want to challenge my God.

Carlo Carretto, from the prologue of In Search of the Beyond

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