In that deathly closeness

Although somewhat cryptic in its statements, this passage from Sr. Wendy’s letters is talking about life in the embrace of the Spirit. Insofar as it lacks tangible or sensible assurances, it has the appearance of “death”. But, to the contrary, this “death” is “life” for us. Will you let the crucified one take you in His embrace and come to you as He chooses; even and especially in the humiliation and pain of life’s bewilderments?

In every other sphere, the sound of what we hear ourselves say and know ourselves think can deceive us: only with God are we absolute in our bare choice. We can have of Him exactly as much as we want – and we know what we want from what we in fact have. A terrifying demand: no wonder people fear the inescapable closeness of prayer. Yet in that deathly closeness is the only Life, Way, and Truth.

Remember that Jesus has been through the whole gamut: dread, and then dreadful reality, right under the bitter waters. But He came out the other side, crying “Consummatum” and my prayer is for Him to cry that out in you.

Whatever life may feel like, this is, in literal truth, its purpose: He can only come to us in time and through our unidealized circumstances . . . all “corruptible things” though they are. So I think it’s a grace that you see your corruption, both the inescapable without and the somehow secretly, though unwillingly, willed within. Daughter, so much hangs upon your lettering Jesus come to you as He chooses, and your responding to Him in this painful and demanding reality.

The Lord never “makes demands”, never, never. All He says is: Let me bear it, let me take the pressure. Or rather, He tells us He has taken the pressure – and let it kill Him, and it was that death that gave Him wholly to His Father, and us in Him. All the anxious side of things is over, Daughter. We have conquered, in Jesus. So bear the humiliation and pain of life’s bewilderments gladly, in His gladness: “Now is the Father glorified.”

When Jesus is all to us, in the Spirit, it means in practice we have nothing tangible or sensible: death. But this is life.

Sr. Wendy Beckett



Mailing Address: 4450 Bayard Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

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