As I grow (and I don’t mean the inevitable horizontal growth of approaching middle age), as I grow and mature in Christ I see how faith itself changes. This is strange because it is somewhat of a surprise, as no one talks about it – or very few talk about it.
Maybe it doesn’t happen to everybody? I don’t know. What I do know is that at first, when I am newly ‘awake’, my faith is focused on God, but it is still in the context of ‘me’. As I grow, it becomes ‘me’ – and more myself than ever before – in the context of God. The element of struggle is still there, but it is also not there. Another paradox.
I think God must like paradoxes. They are like a witty way of revealing Himself, because you have to be ‘in’ on the ‘joke’, only it’s not a joke (although I definitely think God has a sense of humour and my faith is very much shaped by my humour) it’s more like being ‘in’ on a wonderful surprise, like the surprise party the father holds for the prodigal son.
In a word, those who truly love Jesus Christ lose all affection for worldly goods, and seek to strip themselves of everything, to be one with Jesus Christ alone. All their desires point to Jesus; they are always thinking of Jesus and sighing for him; and in every place, at every time, on every occasion, they seek only to please Jesus.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori summarizing the doctrine of Saint John of the Cross