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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Hidden Way

St. Therese teaches us the hidden way. It is not the way of convention. Nor is it the way of convenience. It often goes against what seems opportune. It always opens out into what is not comfortable. It goes beyond all these things to our fatherland - a place where love is unimpeded by the narrow limits of our own cleverness and achievement. She calls this hidden journey "living by love." We are pilgrims in this world who travel with the trust of children -- this means never forgetting the goodness of the Father even when it seems most absent. The hidden way goes past our insecurities and our need to be in control. It takes us far past personal gain and even our own health. It takes us deep into the heartache of others - for there Our Bridegroom waits for us. Not suffering in itself, but the love He sees us offer in the midst of life's challenges pierces His heart.

In this face to face, the heart cries out not only in sorrow but also joy. Such is the oblation to merciful love one makes in this hidden way. Yet it costs dearly - for who can learn to love except at their own expense? And of what use is a love that has never been tested by suffering? For to live by love takes us on a pathway into the deepest voids -- it is in precisely such painful places that His healing touch is most felt. Finally, where His mercy touches our misery at last, our frail humanity finds its rest - not in what it achieves but in its very inadequacy, in its very failures to love. Only here, where we spend ourselves and pour out our last effort, falling short even as we hold fast to Him, do we finally learn to be confident in the goodness of the Father. Confidence in the love of God - that is the path and it is the destination. He draws us into this great mystery by the immensity of His love - beyond every barrier, every seeming impossibility, into a place of mystery that even those closest to us do not understand ... but somehow yearn for.

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