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The Grace of Suspense


God seems at times to parry off our attempts to understand him, resisting our effort to take hold of him in a moment's fragile thought.

aaaajlkjjesusupdateThe mystery of a personal God is the source of prayer.  But because his divine mystery is beyond our conception, we are likely to experience a certain strain in our reflections on his nature and truth.  God seems at times to parry off our attempts to understand him, resisting our effort to take hold of him in a moment's fragile thought. 

Behind this may be God's refusal to be reduced to an item of mere thought and observation.  He desires to be personally sought in love.  Without love animating our seeking, no effort of thought alone gets nearer to him.  What may be surprising, however, is that our passion for God can increase as we encounter his greater mystery.  This spiritual passion may flame up after pondering a truth of God has, for a time, frustrated our mind.  After the struggle of thought, we must accept a silencing of thought before the concealed face of God.  It is a sign, perhaps, that our passion for God is intensifying in prayer....

The incomprehension is often the greater grace, more than the knowledge we may have gained of God.  It protects us from resting in an intellectual comfort as the fruit of prayer, and thereby halting our search for God.  Other times an intuition is given. 

The search to know God, the perpetual incompletion of this quest, teaches a deeper truth about the God of love who has become a man.  We discover for ourselves how quickly an infinite light overwhelms every lesser light.  Every glimpse of his truth draws us into a more piercing awareness of how little we still know.  We realize, he is known even in his human Incarnation as the beloved one who stretches always beyond our understanding.



haggertyFr. Donald Haggerty. "The Grace of Suspense" Contemplative Provocations (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2013).

Reprinted with permission from Ignatius Press.

The Author

haggerty1haggerty2Fr. Donald Haggerty, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is currently serving at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He has been a Professor of Moral Theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in New York and Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland and has a long association as a spiritual director for Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. He is the author of Conversion: Spiritual Insights into an Essential Encounter with God, as well as Contemplative Provocations and The Contemplative Hunger.

Copyright © 2013 Ignatius Press
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