We cannot attain it but it attains itself in us in our very inability to attain it. That’s the miracle of it . . . Amazing Grace! Amazing Grace! Being swept up like this in the intimacy of the unattainable given to you as your life . . .
Another image I use of this . . . We tend to think then, that the spiritual life is some kind of spiritual feat, like it’s an attainment. We’re trying to get into shape to be able to pull off this feat of mystical union. I didn’t think I could do it but by God I did it (chuckle)! That’s what we think! So imagine that it’s like the high jump where you’re trying to jump over a very high thing like this . . . You’re trying to jump over but it’s just too high, and you exhaust yourself in the ability to jump over it.
Mystical marriage, are you kidding?! I have a hard time being sure my socks match in the morning! Mystical marriage? Really? Seriously? Why is my heart smitten by this longing, for this sweetness?
And the thing is, that when you spend yourself in your inability to achieve it, spent in powerlessness, which is the dark night, love steps out and does something completely unexpected. It takes the high bar and sets it flat on the ground. You approach the bar, bewildered by the simplicity of the task, and you trip over it. And you fall into God’s arms as unspeakably precious in fragility. And so God’s great surprise party, this heavenly stature, of this blessedness, this blessedness in poverty.
And then you know that the real poverty of everybody is yours, as everyone is actually walking around thinking that they have to get past something or over something. Am I lovable yet? Am I lovable yet? Will I make it? And the real sadness is not realizing that they are already as beautiful as God is beautiful because God gave the infinite beauty of God as who they are. And the more that you love them the more you see that beauty in them. For the ones we know are the ones we love. And it’s in this love that we move forward together in this.