One rainy evening, a young novice and I were strolling in the prayer garden which was placed in a certain protestant cloister. Stillness pervaded all over and we were walking and meditating on the passion of the Lamb soundlessly.
O Jesus alone
In sorrow and woe!
Alone in temptation's garden
And not a soul heeds Your affliction.
Who stands by Your side
In Your greatest plight?
Forsaken by God, by Your children.
For sinners God now makes atonement.
When approaching a path toward the cave in which the statue of buried Jesus laid, I realized that the path was so narrow (besides, we were holding the wide umbrellas), that it was impossible for us to walk this path side by side. So, the sister withdrew herself gently and let me go first. And at that very moment, He revealed me something unforgettable ---that is: to follow our suffering Lamb, the saints must walk alone...
The heart can be light,
steady, and gentle
when it is far away from all creatures;
but to arrive at this,
you must struggle and before you can leave them,
you must feel pain.
Therefore, do not touch anything
--neither in heaven
nor on earth--
that you may find what can never
be taken away.
"You may find what can never be taken away." Yes, it is none other than Jesus Himself! He is our eternal Bridegroom and we, His church, are His bride.
Lord, Jesus, Your very nearness
brings great peace deep within,
And Your loving gaze,
speaking of grace so infinite,
Fills my soul with joy and thankfulness.
-Christian Gregor, 1723-1801
Blissful communion with Jesus is but a foretaste of what awaits us in heaven. "However, the heavenly Bridegroom will at times withdraw His perceptible presence, while still dwelling within us.
At such times, He leads us along dark paths like the bride in the Song of Songs, who comes up from the wilderness "leaning upon her beloved" (Song of Songs 8:5)...There are times when the bride of Christ finds that her soul is parched. She seeks for her Beloved, but to no avail.
It has become dark in her soul. Still there is no sign of Him. And yet it is precisely then that the heavenly Bridegroom shows how much He loves His bride. Through such experiences, He makes His bride more lovely and lovable than before." (B. Schlink, My All For Him)
Have you felt lonely? Are you alone? Then, rejoice, my friend. Because it is He who has guided you to the point where you are right now. Blessed are those who are living in inner cloisters and gazing at the night sky alone, for it is in this valley that our real searching begins and that we shall never be satisfied until our souls would be deeply and perfectly united with Christ Jesus.