Our faith tells us that the infinite love that is the architect of our hearts has made our hearts in such a way that nothing less than an infinite love will put to rest the restless longings of our hearts. –James Finley
So this is where the restless longing of my heart is taking me: to say yes to infinite love. And that divine restlessness is continuously stirred as I witness a daily display of my own inability to do it. I’m worn down from trying to get myself out of all that entangles me. But the Incarnation tells me that God comes into my dark entanglements and is born in me there. God with us awakens us to God in us.
A hymn comes to mind.
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Light that foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
–George Matheson, pub.1882
I looked up the lyrics and learned what led Matheson to write this song. He writes,
“My hymn was composed in the manse of Innellan on the evening of the 6th of June, 1882. . . . Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression rather of having it dictated to me by some inward voice than of working it out myself.”
Love comes in our suffering–when our souls are weary, our torch barely flickers, and life’s glory dead. Love comes and does not let us go. Love holds us in the dark night and makes it bright and fair–more lovely than the dawn, said John of the Cross.
In the longest nights of the year, may something happen to you that allows your soul to rest, opens your heart to Infinite Love, and lifts up your head.
Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!
–St. John of the Cross
Some Advent Love Mischief:
- What does your restless longing for Infinite Love look like?
- When do you feel it most?
- How might you welcome God in it?