Suffering with Love
from Lessons in Love by Anne, a lay apostle
Jesus, the lover always alert, watches His beloved. If the beloved shows signs of weariness or discouragement, the Lover moves swiftly to refresh and encourage.
There are times when the beloved, that is, each one of us present in this distinct and separate relationship with Christ, rejects assistance. We have all had the experience of someone whom we may characterize as difficult to love. Often by this we mean that someone does not find it easy to accept our love, perhaps because of a feeling that he is unlovable. There will always be those in our lives who give us the feeling that we are trying to love a cactus plant. If we get too close, we get hurt. Jesus experiences this, too, of course, with each one of us to different degrees at different times in our lives.
The Lover, Jesus Christ, feels the pain of His beloved acutely, suffering with us the pains of our humanity. How baffling for Him, human speaking, to be rejected, and yet how patiently He awaits acceptance. His whole presence in each relationship could be viewed, among many other things, as a study in patience. We, the beloved ones, entertain so rarely the truth of the constant gaze of love that follows our every breath. This is perhaps a blessing because when the strength of the Lover's gaze is remotely understood, the beloved one can feel helplessly inadequate in the love equation. How can one return such pure love? How can one measure up, protecting the pristine nature of the exchange? Clearly, without grace, one would simply drift away, such would be the hopelessness of the situation.
To protect the relationship, Christ infuses into His beloved puffs of pure love through an action of the Holy Spirit. There is no limit to the amount of growth possible in love, even while we remain on earth. The beloved becomes more and more disposed to the Lover and gradually, in the same way, learns to become more and more alert to the Lover's whims and communications. This is to be desired, because, even while this disposition increases the divine pain of separation, it increases the capacity for storing the treasures that come from the Lover's heart.
The Lover is always fully engaged with us. That does not and will not change. The process we desire or strive for is to enter into the gaze, to become fully engaged with Him in a constant exchange.