On the spiritual journey there is nothing but change. Changes we have no control over. Ours is a journey into surrender. A gradual surrender to the all-encompassing, all-embracing, loving hug of God. Since is The Great Lover, She/He does not in any way force us to respond by surrendering. I remember reading this quote of St. Augustine. I remember when I read it. It is as clear today, as it was that evening in the Junior Chapel in St. Patrick’s 64 years ago. This was the quote that got my attention, "Late have I known Thee, late have I loved thee." Being in my first month in the seminary, and knowing so very little, I remember saying to myself, that is not going to happen to me. I am going to know God. That is why I am here. I have six years ahead of me to learn all there is to know about God. I knew I loved God because of all the religious practices which were part and parcel of my every day life. Very regular attendance at mass. Confession every week, of mostly made up sins. The nightly family rosary, and The Stations of the Cross were an essential part of my religious training and practice in the Ireland of my youth. Does not all this prove that I love God?
Oh! Boy, that must have triggered a very gracious gentle smile from God, I can now imagine saying to the Holy Spirit "Don't We have a lot to teach this kid." So the training in God’s ways rather than Joe’s way began. What a great long, crooked, and rocky road that has been. How I ever got to be where I am today is truly the mysterious action of grace. The end is coming but I do not know when. That is not my business that is my loving Prodigal Father’s business. Building trust in that love has not been easy. There is this paradox I have a daily struggle with, the more I fail in my loving attempts, the closer God seems to have become. His mercy-full love is revealed more and more through my weaknesses not as I expected, through my strengths.