(This is Neil.) Here, I would like to share Father John Breck’s most recent excerpt – it is his eighth – from Father Lev Gillet’s 1971 work, Amour Sans Limites. Links to the earlier excerpts and to some information about Lev Gillet can be found here.
This section, entitled “The Violent Announcement,” challenges those of us (perhaps all of us, from time to time) who would too easily relate the Christian life to “calm waters,” a “familiar homeland,” or any other sort of presently imaginable (and manageable) “stability” or “order”:
The Violent Announcement
Infinite Love storms the very gates of our life. It could be that I’ve already achieved a kind of peaceful co-existence with God. Perhaps I’ve been able to convince myself that I am more or less “in order” with my soul and therefore more or less at ease with myself. Maybe I’ve even foreseen a happy and peaceful ending to my earthly life.
Then suddenly all these assurances are turned upside down by a divine calling. God demands something of me that I never expected. It’s almost like receiving the news of an unwanted child.
Should I listen to this urgent request? Should I make a decision that will cost me dearly? Why in the world would I? Everything seemed to be going so well. Is it really necessary to accept these uncertainties, these new anxieties? Do I really need to tread again the tortuous pathway of that first calling, the one that came so long ago? Do I really have to leave my own familiar homeland, with no idea as to where God is leading me?
I never spoke these things to God, but I certainly thought them. Of course I never said “No” to the Lord, but I have certainly given Him a reply that amounts to a respectful refusal: “Please allow me to live in your presence just as I am!”
“Just as I am….” That person who is me, myself, represents a present state of being, a life lived in a well defined situation, with a collection of things to which I’ve become thoroughly attached. That includes my relationship with God, which seems perfectly adequate. What more could I want?
Love without limits seeks to invade my life. It troubles the calm waters of my daily existence. It shatters all that seems stable, in order to open before me new horizons that I never before imagined.
Will I refuse? Will I run from this announcement, this command, that God has just spoken to me? If I do refuse, I may not necessarily be estranged from every other form of love. But the love I finally do embrace will be both relative and limited. It will amount to a rejection of absolute Love, with all its audacious demands. It will be the stillness of a stagnant pond, rather than the tumult of the high seas.
Lord of Love, break the bonds that hold me back! I will never return to that place of familiar complacency. O Lord of Love, may I live before you as the person I shall become!