In moments of spiritual desolation it is important to ask ourselves this very question "Are we in love with all the good things of God, or the God of all good things?" This question was presented to me by a priest and it hit me rather hard. As I find myself trying right now to balance everything going on around me and striving to maintain a sense of order, I must admit with all humility and humanness that times of spiritual consolation are much easier to deal with because they "feel" so much better.
This is where there is proof of need for further virtue, and an examination of heart; is my love for God unconditional? Is it rooted in making myself a gift to Him, or solely about the gifts He has given to me?
We are called not to a "feeling" but to a fervency of faith and acceptance of all things as coming from the God of all good things. If we truly believe in God and that He loves us immeasurably then we can accept all things from Him as good for us. It does not mean that there will be good "feelings" but there is indeed grace. It is to hold to the belief "that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose, and turns everything to their good." (Romans 8:28)
Our idea of what this "goodness" entails is not decided upon by human feelings, but rather by divine providence and with a faith based understanding of what "good" truly is. Sometimes what is most good for us by God's standards can go against what our own ideas of goodness are. This is most evident when we look at the proclamations of worldly goodness versus a life rooted in Christ. Yet, in these moments our Lord allows us to gain perspective on the ways in which we "deal" with God as we are dealt things of a difficult nature. The more intimate we become with our Lord the more that we can attain a perspective rooted in His will and come to see all things He values as the ultimate good for us.
Faith is not a feeling. To follow our Lord is not something we base solely on the moments of "resurrection" and joy in our lives. We are called, as Jesus was to embrace the Cross, to persevere despite our feelings and maintain a sense of hope and faith in the Lord. It is not easy. I am most grateful for it not being easy; for it is in this way that our Lord shows to me His mercy, His love, and ultimately His majesty. It is in the difficult moments that I come to see my weaknesses and my constant need for the Lord. It is when I am stretched beyond my limitations that I most recognize the Divine Aid that is there to assist me if I turn to Him in faith.
I am in love with the God of all good things, and all things are good because they come from God. Let us not seek to love only the "good things of God" but to seek in all things the God who made all things for His good. May we live each day with this always in mind. (C.C)