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For love of you I will sit at that table of bitterness where poor sinners take their food, and I will not stir from it until you give the sign…. I am willing to remain there alone to eat the bread of tears, until it shall please you to bring me to your Kingdom of Light….

When my heart, weary of the surrounding darkness, tries to find some rest in the thought of a life to come, my anguish increases. It seems to me that out of the darkness I hear the mocking voice of the unbeliever: "You dream of a land of light and fragrance, you dream that the Creator of these wonders will be yours for ever, you think one day to escape from these mists where you now languish. Hope on!  And look forward to death, which will give you, not what you hope for, but a night darker still, the night of annihilation…!" May God forgive me! He knows that I try to live by Faith, though it does not afford me the least consolation. I have made more acts of Faith in this last year than during all the rest of my life….

When I sing of the happiness of Heaven and the eternal possession of God, I do not feel any joy in it, for I sing only of what I wish to believe. Sometimes, I confess, a little ray of sunshine illumines my dark night, and I enjoy peace for an instant, but later, the remembrance of this ray of light, instead of consoling me, makes the blackness thicker still.

And yet never have I felt so deeply how sweet and merciful the Lord is. He did not send me this heavy cross when it might have discouraged me, but at a time when I was able to bear it. Now it simply takes from me all natural satisfaction I might feel in my longing for Heaven…. It seems to me that at present there is nothing to impede my upward flight, for I have no longer any desire save to love Him till I die. I am free; I fear nothing now, not even what I dreaded more than anything else, a long illness which would make me a burden to the community. Should it please the good God, I am quite content to have my bodily and mental sufferings prolonged for years.  I do not fear a long life; I do not shrink from the struggle.

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In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.