Emotions and desires
Man’s spiritual life is primarily a gift from God Himself. We would not be able to contact Him if He were not our beloved Father who desires union with us. In fact, He created us to live with God. This is what our Heavenly Father is like, that He needs, He wants a relationship with the man He created out of love, and we also need such a relationship with our beloved Father. However, our commitment also plays a very important role on this path. Sometimes this commitment is disrupted, but also supported by emotions and desires. Emotions are very important in human life. They give the taste of life. They help man to desire God, to long for God. Indeed, the emotions that arise in us when we meet God, when we meet our highest good, for which we were created – they make our path to God a wonderful and beautiful path. We want God. We enjoy God’s presence. At the same time, however, we cannot stop at our emotions – because they are too shaky the foundation of our relationship with God. Especially in the first years or in the first moments when a person consciously takes up his spiritual life, that is, responds to the gift that God has given us, we are accompanied by very beautiful emotions. We are accompanied by joy, we are accompanied by warmth, we are accompanied by goodness, which we feel through the fact that in our hearts the emotions that are the most beautiful and beautiful are awakened. At the same time, however, at some point these emotions may not be enough on our way to God. These emotions can even turn out to be deceptive at times. Sometimes we miss them. Especially when such a drought begins. The saints called it aridities, they called it the desert through which man passes. We are then confused. It seems to us that we may be praying badly, that we may be going some wrong path, especially after the wonderful experiences that accompany our prayers, meetings, reading the Bible … At some point, when the time of drought comes, we are deeply concerned – sometimes it seems that something is wrong, that God has abandoned us, He hides, that He is gone, that we cannot find Him. The initial joyful moments for us often turn into such a sad period of some experience. And it must be said that this is not actually the time to worry. This is not a moment when we should be particularly afraid. Everyone, literally everyone who comes close to God, passes this moment. Because on changing emotions – they are inherently changeable – you cannot build a relationship with another person – even with a human being. If it all depends on our capricious emotions, it may turn out that this relationship will not stand the test of time. It is the same with God. God loves us infinitely and wants this bond to be founded, built on a foundation that is deeper. What is this deeper foundation? This deeper foundation is our will, our mind. That is why it is so important to fund our spiritual life, as the saying goes, to build on rock. That rock is Christ as we know. In practice, however, this means that we build our relationship with God, build on our will, memory, and mind. I remember the first time I went to the oasis retreat, I was then a young boy, this retreat caused me real pleasure and joy. I was moved that this is how you can live. When we prayed together with others, when we were in the community, when we shared what a man experienced towards God; it was completely new to me, and I was even moved. I thanked God very much for this experience. I didn’t even know we can live that way. But when I got home, and it was a vacation, I remember when I got home, my friends and relatives weren’t there, they were very busy and somehow I was alone. I remember that I experienced it quite badly, violently. A kind of sadness haunted me. I tried to pray, I tried to read the word of God. It turned out not to be enough. It didn’t fill my soul. Everything was going smoothly, we would say. I was shocked. I attended church, but it did not give me those wonderful experiences that I remembered a week ago, when in the community of young people, with a priest, with a catechist sister, we could pray, we could get closer to God … This all that I experienced after returning home it was nothing compared to the wonderful experiences that accompanied me during the oasis retreat. I did not know what was happening to me, I really wanted to return to those experiences and during confession I asked the priest about what was happening in me. I think that in such situations it is worth asking someone more experienced – is it a priest during confession or a more experienced layperson. The fact is that this process is experienced by practically every human being. And then we must not get discouraged – this is the first. The second thing – you have to know that everything happens as it does in the life of every human being. Do not be surprised that in our lives we experience a kind of aridity, dryness, that we are not drawn to this prayer, that it actually rejects us from it, that we are not accompanied by the same interior experiences, pleasures that accompanied us in previous meetings of this kind with Christ . There is no need to be surprised. It is important to move slowly, not immediately, to what still seems incomprehensible, namely to build our relationship with God not so much on emotions and wonderful experiences, but on our will to love God, which comes from where? From knowledge. From the knowledge of God. That is why in our previous meetings we spoke about the role of the Holy Scriptures in the spiritual life. When we read the word of God, which for us is of course not only a text that instructs us on how to live morally, not only a text that reveals some very important rules and wisdoms in life, but above all a text through which God himself speaks to us, an inspired text and the reading of which in faith, that is, being aware that God is talking to me now, the true God, this word of God simply carries God to us. And this is how we know Him. God moves us internally, our strings of our spirit, and then we begin to understand that He is speaking to us. It was through these words written so many thousands of years ago. It is very important that we slowly, not immediately, shift to obedience to God, to understanding the Scriptures, to patience, which just shapes our will, not affection. You have to pray sometimes against our feelings. Despite the fact that a person does not feel the same emotions, that it is not as pleasant as before – it is extremely important not to rely on feelings too much. If they are, you have to enjoy it. But if they are not there – you have to be patient, you have to be persistent in prayer. If they are, you have to enjoy it. But if they are not there – you have to be patient, you have to be persistent in prayer. That is why it is worth establishing a certain schedule for our spiritual practices, we have to pray often, that is, systematically, maybe shorter but systematically, even when we do not want to break down to really talk to God. We should also ask God for the grace of a close relationship with Him. Sometimes, when someone is unable to get through this stage, may stop at only emotions. And then what happens? His prayer becomes, let’s call it “an internal struggle.” He would like to experience all the time, and it does not always work out. In fact, instead of seeking God, he is looking for emotions. Often the evil spirit builds on it and tells us: “you are not fit”, “God has abandoned you”, “God does not want your closeness”, “you cannot do this”, “you are not fit to be a saint”. This, of course, is not true, these are the thoughts that the evil spirit, the devil, gives us. In fact, it is precisely persistence, precisely systematicity, a certain stubbornness in striving for God that is the way to solve it. We have to switch to systematic prayer, that is, to the prayer that we are planning. Prayer planning, as we’ll talk about later, is essential. You have to pray in the morning, noon, evening … You have to sit down against the fact that it seems to us that we would use our time better for something else, with the Holy Scripture, reflect for a moment, stay and, above all, constantly realize that God is with me, that God is in me, that He is my beloved Father, that He listens to me, even when it seems to me that He is completely absent from my heart. On what, then, is it worth building our relationship with God? What should we build our prayer on? In addition to exercising perseverance, patience, and regularity, it is very important to build our prayer on our deepest desires. Desires arise in a person of will. The will begins to desire God. God awakens these desires in us. But when does this happen? When we get to know the God. You have to read the word of God, you have to get to know God, not only from the intellectual side, in order to read some books – they are always very valuable. I think that every year or two you would have to read a book about Jesus, about the Gospel – they constitute such spiritual food. But, of course, the Scriptures come first. And our desires for God, these deeper desires, God awakens in us. But we also need to work together to shape these desires. These desires are built precisely on knowing God. The more a man gets to know God, the more he tries, the more he breaks himself, the more desires appear in his heart which are not only a desire to feel beautiful, but to know God deeply. This is how we all shape our interior. Our interior is then, so to speak, illuminated through the word and through this experience that God gives us. It is a bit as if someone has entered a dark cave. He doesn’t know where he is, whether it’s a large cave or not, until he starts talking. Then the echo tells him that this is some great cave in which you can look around; when we turn on the light, then we see the dimensions of this cave – otherwise we don’t know, we’re just in the dark. The same happens with our interior. When a man gets to know God, when his desire for God is inflamed, then this inner room, this inner our … our soul we could say, our conscience, our heart, we say very often, it becomes clearer for us, that is, we begin to feel in it as we feel in ourselves. We even begin to get to know, there is this inner space in us that we sometimes forget about. So emotions and desires are two realities within us. We cannot build our spiritual life on emotions, just as we cannot build any relationship with another person. We can build it on desires. And these come from knowing God, from loving Him … Christ says: “whoever loves me, I will reveal myself to him”. This is the key to deepening our spiritual life.