I am, perhaps, one of the more annoying people on Twitter in that I take everything and nothing with utmost seriousness. I realized a long time ago that Twitter was as perilous for my soul as television if I responded to people as if they were less than real. If I systematically ignored either clear requests for prayer or subtler cries for help, then I was slowly damning myself.
Of course I frequently miss things and respond incorrectly, and I’ve sometimes closed Twitter after the third random request for prayer in a row because I had opened Twitter for mindless reading, not lengthy intersessions.
But I have somehow so changed my interaction with this funny medium that I didn’t hesitate to respond to a random Tweet as if it were a serious personal question from my spiritual director.
Do you know how much God delights in you?
— Santi Rodriguez, SJ (@sayochia) April 26, 2014
I felt no shame in my fast admission that I have no concept of how much God delights in me. After all, it seems likely that there are very few who actually grasp this, and there is no advantage in me pretending to be what I am not.
But then, when @sayochia surprised me by responding equally seriously I realized for a moment how much is bound up in that truth and subsequently in whether or not one could possibly hold it for a time.
I struggled profoundly with Lent this year because II was cut off from the sacraments and liturgy that I so desperately need. But it was perhaps a greater problem that when I did encounter God in those few moments of silence I was faced with the simple fact that I cannot Drink the Cup. Jesus, the Crucified, is just one of the objects of my wishes and desires. The world is drowning in sorrow and I have no reason to think that God will wish to wipe any of it away in my time and understanding. I have not been called to hope in God’s merciful intervention but to calmly accept the grace of a love which may mean the most profound of human pain.
There was a brief moment on Good Friday when I almost had my answer and almost accepted it all. But it was fittingly fleeting for that dark day.
And now I am gloriously faced with the solemn knowledge that the lives of all those I love would be so completely different if only we were aware, if only I knew, how much God delights in us.
The truth that I must desire only Jesus and to bear his cross with joy, and the truth that God delights in me seem contradictory in a superficial way. Still it is clear that I will only ever hold both or neither.
I have nothing, or, more correctly, I know nothing in the truest sense, but perhaps somehow I will learn the hope of emptiness from all of this. Someday.