THE SINNER'S GRIEF
[continued from yesterday]
Then comes the struggle.
Humility bids us turn back while yet there is time, and, since we cannot help ourselves, take hold of a hand that will help us; but pride whispers in our ear that this will not do, that we are our own masters and must brook no interference, that we have chosen our own path and must needs walk along it to the bitter end.
Our lives are now broken, we tell ourselves, we have lost our treasure for ever, and we must carry our grief in our own hearts and work out our doom as best we may.
So is the agony increased at every step, until at last the poor soul becomes partly numbed, tells itself that it has grown used to it, or soon wilt grow used to it, and meanwhile must submit to the inevitable.
It knows it is deceiving itself; it knows the sin - if it is sin - and the agony could be removed by one bold step backward, by one humble trusting of itself to a hand that can and will support it; but these things to human nature are very hard.
Yes, they are very hard; but, thank God. not too hard. "God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb;" and in all His wonderful dispositions there is nothing so wonderful as this - that never was a soul left so utterly alone in its misery and hopelessness but succour could be foupd if it would stretch out its hand and take it. And, be again God thanked for it, many do.
Pride may resist, the devil may argue that to retreat is impossible, human nature may pretend that the slavery is sweet. But the God of love is not beaten; in one way or another He stretches out His hand to His beloved. A friend passes by, and at once the loneliness is gone; a word of sympathy is uttered, and the barrier of silence is broken; a prayer is poured forth, from two hearts instead of one, and the grace is given that heals the wound. All these are there, if the poor, beaten soul will take them; if it only will!...
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918