From The Joy of Full Surrender
The written word of God is full of mystery. His word expressed in the events of the world is no less so. These are two sealed books, and of both it can be said, “The letter kills.”
God is the center of faith. All that emanates from this center is hidden in the deepest mystery. This word and these events are, so to speak, feeble rays from a sun obscured by clouds. It is vain to expect to see with our mortal eyes the rays of this sun. Even the eyes of our soul are blind to God and his works. Obscurity here reigns rather than clear light; knowledge itself is ignorance, and we see without seeing. The Holy Scripture is the mysterious Word of an even more mysterious God. And the events of the world are the obscure language of this same hidden God who is not readily investigated, interpreted, or understood. They are mere drops of the ocean, but an ocean of shadows. Every drop of the stream, every brook of water partakes of the nature of their source.
The fall of the angels, the fall of humanity, the impiety and idolatry of humankind before and after the Flood up to the time of the Patriarchs, who knew and told their children the history of Creation and of its still-recent preservation from the universal Flood – these are indeed very obscure words of Holy Scripture! It seems incredible that when the Messiah came, only a handful of persons should be preserved from idolatry in the general ruin and overthrow of faith throughout the world. It seems unbelievable that evil is always dominant, always powerful. It seems incredible that the little band of those who uphold the truth should always be persecuted and ill-treated. Consider the treatment of Jesus Christ. Think of the plagues of the Book of Revelation – yet these are the words of God. They are what God revealed. It is what God has dictated. And the effect of these terrible mysteries, which endure till the end of time, are still the living word, teaching us God’s wisdom, God’s power, God’s goodness. All the events in the history of the world show forth these divine attributes and preach the same Word, who is worthy of our worship. We must believe it, for – and what a pity this is! – we cannot see it.
What is God saying by the existence of infidels, heretics, and all the other enemies of the church? Surely they point to the infinite perfections of God. Pharaoh and all the evil persons who followed him are allowed to exist only for that purpose, though truly, unless we look at them with the eye of faith, the end of all these would seem most contrary to the divine glory. We must close our eyes to what is external and cease to reason in order to see the divine mysteries.
You speak, Lord, to humankind in general in great public events. All revolutions are only the waves of the sea of your providence, waves that stir up storms and tempests in the minds of those who question your mysterious actions. You speak, also, to each individual soul by the circumstances occurring at every moment. But instead of receiving what is obscure and mysterious in these your words, and hearing your voice in all the occurrences of life, they see only the outward aspect, or they see chance, or the caprice of others, and they find fault in everything. They would like to add to, diminish, reform – in fact, they allow themselves absolute liberty with these living words of God, while they would consider it a sacrilege to alter a comma of the Holy Scriptures. The scriptures they revere: “They are the Word of God,” they tell you. “They are true and holy. If we cannot understand them, that makes them all the more wonderful and we must give glory to God for the depth of his wisdom.”
All this is perfectly true, dear souls, but when you read God’s word from moment to moment, not written with ink on paper, but on your soul with suffering and all the daily actions you have to perform, do these words not deserve some attention on your part? How is it that you cannot see the will of God in all this? Instead, you find fault with everything that happens, and nothing pleases you. Do you not see that you are measuring everything by the senses and by reason, not by faith, the only true standard?
And since you read the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures with the eye of faith, you are gravely mistaken when you read this same word in God’s other operations with any other eyes.