The gift of tears

December 11, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

A few years ago, during a retreat, I began weeping when I shared a dream about my early family.  The ladies in the group thought it was great!  I am not so sure about that.  But, since then, there have been times when I have longed for the gift of tears, to pour out my  heart and my pain to God–but nothing came, unfortunately!  The mystics talk about the first stage of mysticism as being the purgative way.  This is when we realize our human failure and deficiency or see our sinful condition before God.  As Jerry Root says, “To define oneself before the holiness of God leads to repentance, confession and tears.”

Well, I have been reading Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle and in her section on the sixth mansion she writes about the times when the fire of God within her leads to tears that are soothing and gentle rather than stormy and rarely do any harm.  But then she writes:

Let us not fancy that if we cry a great deal we have done all that is needed–rather we must work hard and practse the virtures; that is the essential–leaving tears to fall when God sends them, without trying to force ourselves to shed them.  Then, if we do not take too much notice of them, they will leave the parched sould of our souls well watered, making it fertile in good frueit; for this is the water which falls from heaven.  However, we may tire ourselves in digging to reach it, we shall never get any water like this; indeed, we may often work and search until we are exhausted without finding as much as a pool, much less a springing well!

Therefore, . . . I think it best for us to place ourselves in the presence of God, contemplate His mercy and grandeur and our own vileness and leave Him to give us what He will, whether water or drought, for He knows what is good for us; thus we enjoy peace and the devil will have less chance to deceive us.  Sixth Mansion; Chapter VI:9

I find this helpful and freeing and hope it can help me be less frustrated when the tears do not come.

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