No, no I never expected that there is a short-cut that bypasses the drudgery of human experience. I don’t want one, I want to drink to the chalice of my Lord. In my case (and isn’t this the common, ordinary state?) how non-glamorous, how ignoble this chalice! What does it amount to me with me? A sense of inner fragility and faintness which taps, knocks at the wall of my body too. I seem unable to face up to any pressure. I feel faced with an immense ‘trial’ utterly beyond myself, and yet when I look, where is the trial? What have I to suffer compared to so many people? I have good health, am surrounded with love, have everything I need, and yet life itself seems more than I can bear—the unutterable loneliness and emptiness, the mystery and obscurity. Yesterday, I heard of a poor woman enduring humiliating helplessness for ten years, and now, faced with new symptoms, her splendid spirit is breaking and she can take no more. Just one of millions similarly suffering from seemingly unbearable afflictions. And what relation has my life to hers? By comparison I have nothing to suffer. It is my hope that this ‘suffering’ of mine which is nameless, which really has no right to be called suffering, this inner ‘dissolution’ should be a way through which Jesus comes to others in grief and pain. I feel overwhelmed with everything: with the beauty of the world, with its terrible pain, with its evil and ugliness, the devilish brutality of man to man–with the word of God so mighty and so obscure. I could weep my eyes out with–I don’t know what! Oh, how fragile I am, without achievement; no human victory, no human beauty, only that which is he, who experienced in all its raw bitterness the human condition.
~Carmelite Ruth Burrows quoting a friend named Petra in Guidelines for Mystical Prayer via Heather King’s fantastic blog Shirt of Flame.