When there is only God…..

Jesus holding woman

On a few occasions in my life, I have been aware of only God and me.  This has almost always been during times of intense suffering.

About a week ago, on a Sunday morning, I re-visited that rare place again.  I was in the throes of the worst hours of a severe stomach virus.  I was alone in the house as my husband had gone to Mass.  But I was glad to be alone.  Even a comforting presence at those moments of such suffering would have been too much stimulation.  I could bear nothing but my own being, alternately fighting and then surrendering to the misery.

I was burning up with fever, suffering from dehydration, shivering and engulfed in waves of nausea that seemed never to end.  My insides literally felt as though they had melted to gether, and my mouth was agonizingly dry..  I remember thinking how much I would like to escape from my body.  And I also thought, “What must it be like to actually die?”

My dehydration and swollen tongue brought to mind Our Lord’s Suffering in His Passion.  I thought of how unbearable His misery must have been.  He was not only dehydrated,  much more so than I was, but He also had the beatings and the heavy Cross to carry and the nails driven into His Flesh, the hours hanging on a Cross, unable to breathe, and He bore all of this for an evening and the better part of a day with not so much as a drop of water, while He lost immense amounts of blood and sweat.  And He chose to bear it.  He could have stopped it at any moment, but He did nothing at all to comfort Himself or to relieve even a tiny pang of His Agony.  How great is His Love for us!

Perhaps that is why the Saints can bear so much suffering, because they love so much…like Jesus.

At my lowest moment, I crawled back into bed, trying to just hang on from minute to minute.  I turned my eyes to the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus hanging on the bedroom wall, and I begged His help.  But mostly, I just looked at Him.  I was grateful for the grace to remember Him in my own little suffering.  But I did want it to end.

It was just the two of us in that bedroom during those few moments….nothing supernatural, but I knew He was there.  I knew I wasn’t alone.  And in a short time, I felt a little better, enough to know that I could bear the rest.  I thanked Him.

I thought about how much He is always there.  He is just waiting for us.  And often when we feel healthy and are going about the business of life, we don’t notice Him.  Or at least, we can’t feel how close He is, because there is too much else swirling around us both within and without.  And He is in the quiet, the whisper. He peers through the lattices of our life.  (Song of Songs 2:9)

I am grateful that I was reduced to experiencing my own nothingness for that brief time last week, for painful as it was, that suffering brought me into the stillness where there was only God.  And He was the only One I wanted, the only One Who could help me, the only One Who mattered.  Oh, if it could only always be like that!.

Maybe if I can find a way to reach that place of nothingness more often, where everything else is stripped away, maybe I can find Him so close, so loving, so real, in such fullness of Presence just waiting for me again….and again.

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5 thoughts on “When there is only God…..

  1. Patricia, What a very personal walk with Jesus through His suffering this Lent. Makes me think of the moment of His crucifixion, when after the agony, scourging, crowning of thorns and falling 3x , there was nothing left …and that’s how He was laid on the cross. Totally exhausted and emptied out…
    It’s hard to find Him sometimes when we’re in so much pain..God bless you for reaching up to His Sacred Heart.
    I know you offered it up…what reparation you must have worked for many souls through it all..
    Love you and +

    • Caroline, oh how true about Jesus totally emptying Himself… while my prayer was that He help me to feel better. What a contrast! Yet, He is so kind that He answered my prayer almost immediately. Yes, I did offer it up…wasn’t going to let that one get away 🙂 You know what else I thought about? In the midst of the worst period of dehydration, I thought of how they made poor Terri Schiavo die that way. It took her two weeks. I can’t begin to imagine how much she had to have suffered, and her poor family forbidden to give her a sip of water. I remember Father Pavone saying what a terrible death it was. I can just imagine. I don’t know how anyone suffers without Jesus.

      I see that there is a little bit of night owl in you like you said 🙂 Thanks for coming back to visit, and to leave your beautiful thoughts. Love you!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I could feel the human part of me groaning at how miserable you were, while the part of me that wants only God was rejoicing in His work in you. Then I read your comment above about Terri Schiavo and how she must have felt, and I literally gasped.

    And now I suddenly think of Jesus saying He is the living water. God be praised.

    • Nancy, thank you for your beautiful comment…especially the part about Jesus being the “living water.” I wish I had thought of that when I was so sick. What a comfort that would have been! We will never be thirsty again. St. Teresa of Avila loved that scene of Jesus with the woman at the well. I guess the Carmelite part of my brain wasn’t working that morning. Not much was working! 🙂

      I’ll never forget what was done to Terri Schiavo, literally before the whole world. It still breaks my heart. She was perfectly healthy…just not perfect. Unbelievable! The culture of death at work.

      Thanks for visiting, Nancy. Please keep my sister in your prayers till she gets a clean bill of health. xoxoxo

  3. Second to last paragraph is exquisitely beautiful. Sorry for the sickness but glad for the grace and realization of your desire for Him, and the quenching of your thirst to know he was there with you in your suffering. He loves you so much, Patricia!

    I was reading St. Catherine of Siena’s Dialogues on the plane ride down. I didn’t get far. The Pope Selection news was very distracting! Still there is much in there about how important our desire to know and love God is, and how important it is first to know how great is His love for us. You have said as much to me before. It seems the saints are those that come to know and appreciate the great goodness and love of God.

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