The Grace of Being Faithful
Sometimes the obstacles do not arise from our environment, but rather spring from within our being. Pride is the principal obstacle to fidelity. Next to pride there is lukewarmness, the spiritual disease that robs us of our joy in following Christ. Lukewarmness leads us to
indulge in ridiculous fantasies. We may suffer from a period of spiritual obscurity or dryness. This problem may arise from our lack of struggle, or it may be God's way of purifying our intention. Whatever the cause may be, the solution will normally lie in humble recourse to spiritual direction and in persevering prayer to the Lord. If we are willing to be led, God will take us by the hand. The Venerable Josemaria Escriva once recalled: One of my most vivid childhood memories is of seeing, up in the mountains near my home, those signposts they planted alongside the hill paths. I was struck by those tall posts usually painted red. It was explained to me then that when the snow fell, covering up everything, paths, seeded fields and pastures, thickets, boulders and ravines, the poles stood out as sure reference points, so that everyone would always know where the road went.
Something similar happens in the interior life. There are times of spring and summer, but there are also winters, days without sun and nights bereft of moonlight We can't afford to let our friendship with Jesus depend on our moods, on our ups and downs. To do so would imply selfishness and laziness, and is certainly incompatible with love.
Therefore, in times of wind and snow, a few solid practices of piety, which are not sentimental but firmly rooted and adjusted to one's special circumstances, will serve as the red posts always marking out the way for us, until the time comes when Our Lord decides to make the sun shine again. Then the snows melt and our hearts beat fast once more, burning with a fire that never really went out It was merely hidden in the embers, beneath the ashes produced by a time trial, or by our own poor efforts or lack of sacrifice.
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 5 pp. 497-498