September 20, 2011

Prayer out of the Depths

"Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.  Lord, hear my voice."  There are moments in the Christian life, moments when you least expect them, when you are severely tried.  There are times where we must perservere in love when everything most hoped for seems to evaporate while everything most feared explodes around us.  

When thrown into such a crisis, such a moment of judgment where the truth of the heart is exposed, there is no magic formula which can lessen the sting and no switch to reset everything back to "normal."  Such trials launch one out into new unexplored territory.   In such uncharted waters, many mistakes are made while many more undealt with transgressions are suddenly exposed.  Fear and anxiety must be constantly renounced.  It is time to trust - but in these moments trust costs so much.  Here, one is made lowly and discovers the depths of one's own poverty.  One sorrows.  One thirsts.  One hungers.  Prayer becomes a wordless cry, a naked clinging to the One who seems absent, a patiently kept vigil for the One whose coming is our only hope.  

In such dark nights, do not despair: the Holy Spirit in his great love for you has brought you to the threshold of the Father's glory.  You, soul that suffers all these things, you have been called blessed by our Crucified Master, and the meager confidence that you manage to place in Him will bear fruit that this present life cannot contain! You have entered an abyss of misery and the deeper abyss of God's mercy waits for you there.  It is in these depths, and only in these depths, that intimacy with God grows and the secret of love is entrusted to the soul.  For we cannot love except at our own expense.  We cannot progress to our goal but by means of the Cross. 


  1. Thanks Dr. Lilles. Great words, poetic and direct. I needed them.

  2. Your last several posts have been very powerful. Robust food for a difficult journey. Thanks for your total unfluffiness!

  3. My soul laid bare in it's nakedness and shame before perfect love knows abject poverty yet sublime security simultaneously......I am indeed saved!

  4. Well THAT's a wonderful way to put it (the last comment)! And I used to be confused about the whole "saved" thing. And I used to wonder why we needed to praise God... was he vain? But love is why we praise, and knowing ourselves is why we know we need saving.