If we are prepared to allow God to speak to us of his transcendence, we then understand his infinite impatience to give us all things as quickly as possible, so as to bring us to total happiness without delay. We shall begin to suspect that he is not to blame for the delay we suffer, int he same way that he cannot be blamed for hell. When there is no answer to our most praiseworthy prayers, we may be sure that it is not God’s fault but our own. Perhaps because our hope is so feeble, we resign ourselves to delay to easily, and we insult God by imagining that he does not love us, at least with that extraordinary love whose transcendence we fail to recognize. Our lack of desire, our want of intelligence, even perhaps our laziness – all these we are pleased to call “patience,” because we object to being upset by too violent a love, too swift a response. Alternately – and sometimes concurrently – we are horribly impatient, demanding instant response, not because we are hard pressed by charity but because we want to make an end to this painful state of desire, to the torments that love of God imposes. The fault is all on our side. Whether we are patient or impatient, it amounts to the same thing. We are trying to protect ourselves from the fire that Jesus came to cast upon the earth.

Our most fervent prayers oscillate between laziness and revolt, between hot and cold, without finding the right tone, the infinitely soft and powerful note that brought down the walls of Jericho with a single blast. God waits in infinite desire to hear this note from us. He cares for us with a maternal tenderness, the visible expression of which he has placed in the hands of the Blessed Virgin, that little by little, through the clumsy repetition of our stumbling prayers, we might learn the incredible whisperings of the Holy Spirit.

Father M.D. Molinie, O.P., is a French Dominican priest and author.