Summary: We seek in love a God who has penchant for hiding himself, and we are drawn to follow him into his own hiding places.
“Even in the consolation that silent prayer may grant, there is always a deeper layer of spiritual need untouched by peace, unsoothed by the tranquil breeze. This recess of poverty in the soul longs for a companion still not seen. It craves for more the passing satisfaction. Our gratitude ought to increase if we leave prayer aware of this unsatisfied desire for the one who continues to conceal himself. Perhaps it is the finer grace of prayer.” -page 26
“God is more present in prayer than we may often think, turning towards us with a father’s solicitude to protect our soul in some manner, assuaging some doubt, removing some uncertainty. In this there may be no image, no emotion, no particular thought. Yet the effect within our soul is a certitude that God is very personal in his love. He asks us to trust this truth.”-page 27
“We may know that God will not allow himself to be apprehended easily, but sometimes we forget the complementary truth. Once he is known to some degree, he will not permit us to keep at a distance on limited terms, maintaining a prudential respect. He is a hidden God, but when he deigns to show himself, he demands afterward our passionate pursuit.” -page 29
“We learn the hidden mystery of God in the presence of the Eucharist, or perhaps not at all. Kneeling in silence before the quiet of a tabernacle we can come to know a deeper longing for God, sometimes a strange and poor longing. God speaks untranslatable words in that silence. A tone and manner is recognized more often than any message. Those silent hours may cast our soul into an ocean of incomprehension, or they may be like tripping over sharp stones though a shallow rivulet. But without such hours, our faith stands at the shoreline, perhaps admiring the view, but rarely touching the water.”—page 30
“Can we persevere in love for someone we do not see? This is an essential religious question, in part, it determines whether we will continue to pray in a manner that leads to the interior poverty of contemplative graces.”—page 30
“God is never so hidden for long, provided our eyes are open. Indeed no one grows in faith without finding signs fo God’s help and intervention in daily life, small favors that could be dismissed as chance until we begin to notice their frequency. Fragmentary perhaps, seemingly unlinked, these quiet signs reveal a personality of great kindness in God....” —page 31
“The inclination to hiddenness is a quiet mark of holiness. It corresponds to the secrecy of relations between a soul and God. For it seems to be God’s consistent habit with souls to conceal himself even when they are close to him. We can surmise that the saints came to know well this divine preference for concealment. It added intensity to their seeking after God in his many disguises. Rather than frustrating them, the divine hiding provoked them with intense longings. And it aroused in them a desire for their own concealment, not from God, but from the eyes of others, so that they might remain among the unknown and the unrecognized. If we want to find holiness, the first place to search is in the shadows and corners.....
...If we desire deeper prayer, should we not also learn to pass through the crowds in secret, unnoticed by others, drawing no attention? The desire to be unknown and hidden, concealed from sight, is not simply a monkish inclination. This desire has a certain logic in the nature of love. We seek in love a God who has penchant for hiding himself, and we are drawn to follow him into his own hiding places”—page 33
“The incomprehensibility of God should not be reduced to a psychological experience. If ever we focus too intently on the unknowability of God, we may plunge our soul inwardly upon itself, towards caverns within the psyche where only a gloomy absence of meaning is met. This would be a kind of visceral reaction to a false idea about God. It is true to speak of the mind’s inability to comprehend God. But this incapacity does not imply that God is aloof and absent. On the contrary, his love and goodness, infinite as they are, invite our confident turn in love toward him. At the same time his love is so far beyond the capacity of thought that we have but one recourse. We must aspire to surrender to him our whole being. He must be approached by our giving ourselves in a manner also beyond our current comprehension.”—page 49
Source: Contemplative Provocations by the Rev. Donald Haggerty, Ignatius Press, 2013