We might add that unfavorable surroundings often provoke a salutary reaction in good souls, especially in very good ones, and the Lord helps them in proportion to the difficulties to be overcome. For example, the suffering caused by injustice reveals to us the worth of justice, self-sufficiency and pride, which become unendurable, demonstrate the worth of humility. Love of truth, relish for the word of God, solid piety, all of which are not content with appearances, react by common accord and quite spontaneously against empty and pretentious learning, which alters everything by its false spirit. The lack of simplicity in life emphasizes the desirability of that frank cordiality without which there is not true union of hearts and minds in God. A discordant note, which violates the order of charity by placing the love of neighbor above the love of God, startles us and by contrast recalls the grandeur of the first precept. Falsehood under its various forms shows us the worth of truth; the absence of truth in varying degrees is one of the greatest obstacles to the life of prayer. A soul becomes contemplative only if it is established in the truth, because infused contemplation is simply the immediate effect of the direct operation of God’s truth on the soul to bring it to a greater love. Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange ‘Christian Perfection and Contemplation According to St Thomas Aquinas and St John of the Cross’
I like Father Garrigou’s message of a soul open to infused contemplation able to alight upon truth under contrary conditions. It made me think of St John of the Cross being incarcerated, judged so harshly wrong in interpretation he is imprisoned and beaten, reduced to paltry conditions. Complicating matters further, the severe discipline is enforced by fellow religious, those dedicating their lives to the service of the Lord. The saint responds with a greater absorption in truth. He does not seek justice, nor focus upon the impiety of others. Lacking accord or reward, he dives deeper into God. External conditions are such a great affront to the reality of truth the saint responds with a greater immersion into truth. The gifts of the Holy Spirit, wisdom and understanding, provide clarity upon the ways of God through the perversion of the ways of man. Through the grace of God, the experience of reality away from truth assists in the defining of truth.