“The hardest cross to bear in life is the thought that we are wasting our time, that we are useless, that the world is rushing along and we, apparently, have not yet found our feet. For the missioner the monotony of merely marking time, of facing petty tasks, or even manufacturing small jobs to kill time, can be especially disheartening.
This monotony readily suggests to a nervous conscience that we could be doing better work elsewhere, that we are not really appreciated at our full worth, and that we are not given a chance to show what we could accomplish in busier circumstances. All of us have our daydreams of ideal conditions in which we modestly achieve wonderful success through our own plans, and in these dreams it is difficult at times to distinguish between inspiration and vanity. We all have our moments of dreadful tedium, when even our favorite books are distasteful and when we favor a chance visitor with unusual cordiality.
At such times we could recall with profit the words of the blind Milton: ‘thousands at His bidding speed, and post o’er land and ocean without rest; they also serve who only stand and wait.’ God needs us where we are; we are active even in being merely on call; and the Omnipresent God is beside us even when we feel alone. . . . Sentrywork is essential though seemingly inglorious.
There is a tendency in modern moods to emphasize the emotional side of religion; and we are all somewhat tainted with this error. We are only too prone to look for sensible consolations in our mission work, and in their absence we are tempted to take a grim view of life. The remedy for this self-centered condition is contemplation and service of God. Contemplation takes us out of ourselves and focuses our attention on God; service of God instinctively issues from our contemplation. We see that God needs us in His redeeming of the human race; and we forget ourselves in satisfying God’s needs.”
—Francis X. Ford, M.M., Stone in the King’s Highway,
Seek the answer in God’s grace, not in doctrine;
in the longing of the will, not in the understanding;
in the sighs of prayer, not in research;
seek the bridegroom not the teacher;
God and not man;
darkness not daylight;
and look not to the light but rather to the raging fire that carries the soul to God with intense fervor and glowing love.
The fire is God
—From The Journey of the Mind to God, by Saint Bonaventure