There always is an interplay between the soul and the Beloved. With a consolation raising the soul as if up to the kiss of God's lips, one is so consumed in the cherished and unexpected gesture of love, that nothing else seems possible but the soul's delight with Christ.
Then comes desolation. Yes, it always comes until the final breath of the earthly body when there is no more desolation for the soul who has desired and striven to be beloved of His Real Presence. But until that moment, either at death or after judgment and more purifying of the soul into greater light enough to be one with His Light, there will be a reminder through desolation of the earthly attachment to sin, which is some degree of opposition to God's purity and perfect, loving will.
Desolation: a state of complete emptiness or destruction; anguished misery or loneliness.
For various reasons, the main one being desolation comes after consolation (and consolation comes after desolation), this nothing Catholic hermit experienced tremendous and unexpected emptiness and anguish of body, heart, mind, and soul yesterday evening and this morning. It was rugged, and thankfully was able to email a friend, repeatedly, expressing the temporal discouragements and sorrows.
Only later, by afternoon, did the hermit grasp what was the cause and effect that always is, was, and shall be in souls on the purgative, illuminative, and unitive way of the spiritual life: consolation, then desolation, then consolation, then desolation, then....
There was no relief, no verbal or mental prayers that one can recall. Just prayer without words, without thought, and the sorrows and sense of abject failure as a person and with its life, became as prayer of sorrow, repentance, and hopeless clinging.
In times such as these, the soul is let down. The kiss on the lips by God is forgotten or seems long ago if recalled. And, if recalled, there is added shame that somehow, within days, the consolation that was so glorious is as if spurned or rejected, and in its place is the dejected soul, unable to function, not able to force its mind to reading Scripture other than a few lines that seem unable to be absorbed.
Then, somehow, toward the evening after the night and day of desolation, there is a ray of light in the evening dark: a song. This hermit was turning to YouTube to find music--anything that might soothe the misery of its failed and flawed life and weakness in faith on the Sabbath, no less.
Harmony! That is what this weeping soul sought. And somehow--yes, by the grace of His Real Presence, the Bridegroom brought His emptied hermit-bride to the name of a back-up singer for another famous singer. Then, a title drew the attention: Song of Bernadette. Then, from there another song title: Joan of Arc [refer to previous post, song composed by Leonard Cohen, sung by Jennifer Warnes].
This hermit had never heard the latter song. It listened while viewing the accompanying video and lyrics printed upon the vivid images. Each word had clear meaning, deep significance, and each brought: consolation.
Thanks be to His Real Presence for His marvelous works! Thanks be to the Beloved for raising up and taking down...and raising up again! May this tired, ailing, yet desirous nothing hermit soul be soundly reminded of its purpose and to accept the suffering of this life as a means of reparation with the Beloved. To be burned in the fire of His Love is so very painful, yet it is necessary for its purifying qualities.
Consolations and desolations intertwine and spiral through our spiritual journeys on this earth. At some appointed and anointed moment, there will be the final desolation, an immolation. Then there is the final yet eternal consolation. Think on these marvels of His Real Presence and His fiery love for each of us. We cannot but accept such love, yet we will cringe with the desolations, for that is natural, and we on earth are of nature.
But with each spiraling cycle of consolation-desolation, we will learn to trust in His lifting us up, then setting us down, higher then lower. But He always raises us up for the kiss of His Lips. Even when in the dizzying delights of consolation or in the despairs of desolation, we may forget this cycle is occurring and all in His loving pervue, we will be consoled over and over until the soul is burned into His very Soul--never more to be disconsolate again.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another, for love is of God. Let us remain in His Love and offer ourselves as living, holy, pleasing sacrifices to His Divine Will.