The life of sanctity is marked by the reversal of so many truths that we hold dear. To a soul far from God, the thought of death is one of anguish, sorrow, and pain. The dread of loss and the sadness of the thought of everything you’ve been working for going to waste. To the soul far from God, mortification is just self-harm and can be thought of as a sign of mental illness or of some deep-abiding sorrow or pain.
The abandonment of earthly thoughts and actions looks to the soul as the final abandonment of one’s life in a deep depression. The soul far from God cannot know what it is that drives the soul of sanctity to these “extreme” measures, and even the thought of someone not only going through these trials but of rejoicing in and actively seeking them out is utterly disturbing.
Yet, the soul of sanctity sees the world as an altogether different place. The soul that has been touched by the love of God has pulled back the veil from the world and has seen it for what it is: the wonderful creation of God. The soul that has felt the love of God has tasted the infinite and the eternal; the passing pleasures of this earthly life now feel empty and unfulfilled. The action of God, once seen and recognized by the soul, counts as so much more than anything this world could offer that the soul rightly loses sight of those things that are merely creations and creatures. The soul touched by God thirsts after God as a parched man in the desert who has had but a drop of water and now thirsts for the quenching of his anguish. So is the soul that realizes it is dying of thirst in this world without the grace of God.
So, this soul seeks after God with all the fervor of a dying man trying to save himself from death. To this soul, the abandonment of everything earthly is so natural that the soul feels there is nothing else it could do than to turn toward God. The action of turning away, of course, comes with resistance; the devil would never let us get away so easily. Sin calls to our human nature, and it requires the supernatural grace of God to overcome it.
The soul has no part in this except to trust itself completely to the love and mercy of Christ. Any attempt on the part of the soul is akin to the child attempting to fix a problem for itself that only its parents could solve: the child only serves to get in the way and to cause the problem to worsen. But the soul that abandons itself to the will of the Father, that abandons itself into the hand of Our Lady, that kneels at the foot of the cross and allows itself to be bathed in the blood of the Lamb, that soul will know the peace, the mercy, the love, and the glory of God in its sainthood.
The more the soul knows Our Lady and has a personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ and Our Father in Heaven with the grace of the Holy Spirit, the more that soul leaves behind this world. Outwardly, this soul has abandoned everything that the world thinks is good, because the soul has recognized that it is imperfect and impure, and in the presence of perfection, those stains on the soul burn with a pain far greater than any torture on this earth. Therefore, the soul seeking after sanctity seeks after purification, seeks after the mastery of its imperfections, and the cleansing of its impurities. It is because of this that the soul seeks to mortify itself through the denial of earthly pleasures and the active subjugation of its body through mortification. While the soul far from God sees it as a problem or an illness, the soul seeking sainthood sees mortification as participation, not only in the salvific action of God in their life, but the very walking of the road to Calvary with Jesus Christ with the cross of its imperfections on its back.
The purest action of sainthood in the soul is its longing for death. This is the most disturbing sight to the soul far from God. It thinks the person has completely lost it and has become suicidal. Not so! The soul living in the love of God longs after death for nothing else than to be united with God as intimately as two lovers separated by distance. The longing of this soul for death is the longing of a lover for the sight of the beloved. A soul that abandons itself completely to God lives only to do the work of God in this world. The soul loves the work of Christ through them in the world but knows that it was not made for this world. It was made for union with God in Heaven, and it is for this reason that the soul exists.
So, I want to live so closely united to the love of Christ, so intimately familiar with Him and his Eucharistic heart, that when I die and I meet him face to face, it may be as two old friends meeting after a time apart. He will look me in the eyes of my soul and tell me simply: “Welcome home!”
I love you Jesus, and I want to love you more.