I was glad to se that Bosco has opened up in his comments in the comboxes; it is so good to have some insight to why he thinks and feels as he does. I shall leave him and Chalcedon to examine the exegesis of Bible texts, as here, I want to say something about another aspect, which is, I think, at the heart of our recent discussions – namely the relationship we have with God.
I have never heard God speaking to me directly through Jesus in the way Bosco describes, and part of me is envious; how nice it would be to have no doubts; to have, in effect, faith replaced by certainty. But that is not how it is for me. There are times when I feel my faith is all but gone; times God seems very far away; but I know it is me who is far away. At those time I pray for the strength to carry on; and it comes; or at least, when I feel I cannot carry on because my strength is gone, I find myself carrying on, and I find my belief sustained in a way I cannot explain.
There are times when I cannot feel that warmth in my heart which I feel for Jesus when my relationship with Him is at its best; but then, in prayer, it will come to me that He died for me; that He loves me; and some Grace warms me again, and I feel the gratitude that love brings. I remember – and feel – that I have been freed from the captivity of sin, and that if I lean on Him He will carry me through; I know I need to rely less on me and more on Him.
There are times, and some not long ago, when I feel empty, broken and close to despair; unloveable and unloved (even though I know the last is not true, it feels like it). But then, from nowhere, it feels like His mercy washes over me, and I am, again, set free from the chains which drag me down. The feeling of His compassion swells within me, and it feels almost like I am being washed clean – a sort of baptism if you like.
This has long been a pattern for me. If I remember to pray every morning and evening, it is better; if I pray my Rosary, it is better still. But what I marvel at is that even when I fail to make time for Him, He has the time for me.
None of this is the sort of certainty of which Bosco speaks, and in many ways it seems to me that it must be lovely to have that. Am I ‘saved’? If I say I don’t know what that means, that is true. I know that at the last God will hold me to account for what I have done with the life he gave me. I don’t think that He will draw up a profit and loss account at which, if I have been a good girl, I will be rewarded, and a bad one, I will be punished. I believe in Jesus, and I believe that His sacrifice has washed away my sins. I believe that because of that, because His Grace operates within me, because I am supported by Him at the Eucharistic feast, that He will enfold me in His arms and let me be in His presence forever. Do I know that? I have faith it will be so.