The need for contemplation becomes obvious in trials. Raissa's experience of living through two world wars and frequently being separated from her husband, as well as a life of illness, helped her to realize that contemplation could not merely be seen as a tool which leads one to unity, but a tool which allows one to cope with horrible situations.
I do not think people understand, on the whole, the great need for spiritually preparing for the hard times to come.
One of the reasons I started the perfection series three years ago (next January) was to stir people to get ready spiritually so that we all could face severe persecution, even death.
A month ago, I had a strange week wherein I felt impatient and irritated by little things. I needed more silence and solitude. But, God showed me that week how one must learn to transcend all negativity and respond with love in all situations. Small things which normally did not bother me caused me to be angry. Ah, God was showing me this deep-seated pride which would not be able to withstand the anger of hateful people if I was faced with martyrdom.
The martyr can only respond in love to the enemies of Christ, who would be his or her enemies as well.
Confessing this released me from the week of irritation and brought me back to peace. One cannot respond to those who are rude, hateful, even violent with any negativity at all. One must love, always.
Raissa knew this, coming from Jewish background and having to face the horror of persecution for herself, her sister, and others.
To transcend hate, one must go deep inside one's self and find God's love, which is there, but hidden under our layers of sin and weaknesses.
Raissa's contemplation allowed her to face possible death with peace, and the love which passes all understanding.
She notes in her diary that this peace which passes understanding involves physical pain, suffering, even the absence of consolation from God. This is like St. Therese's "unfelt joy". Peace can exist with deep suffering, and contemplation helps one in this regard. Contemplation leads to union, but it also leads to the ability to love those who hate and to live in suffering.
Can we not see how God wants to prepare us now by leading us to contemplation?
Raissa states as well that no matter if a person is busy in the world, or hidden, in silence or in noise, this contemplation is possible to all in some way.
We are all called to be saints. We are all called to be in union with God.
We ignore this call at our own peril. Could we love the enemy who hates Christ and His Church with equanimity?
to be continued...