Intimacy means ‘into me see‘ – with people and with God. Sometimes we’d rather not have it this way, but since when does God’s way make a whole lot of sense to our flabby minds?
St. John of the Cross has said that God loves a soul most, when He strips it, for one can then achieve the fullness of faith. When you have no support in any of your systems of security, then God can attract you to rely solely on Him, the only rock of your salvation. The grace of denudation is a special gift of the Holy Spirit, who before descending onto a person, strips him. Often we do not understand fully the work of Holy Spirit. We know that He is the Power, the Paraclete and the Love of the Father and the Son; but we often forget that it is He who is the principal author of our holiness. Therefore, He is the One who brings about the entire process, which is indispensible to us on our path toward unity with God. This process has elements of attraction and elements of purgation. It is the Holy Spirit who denudes us; it is He who renders us to become poor… Stripping us and making us even poorer is His gift so that we may be more open to His strength and to His love. Only then will He Himself, become a gift for us, for then he will be able to descend into the emptiness of our nakedness and fill us with His infinite power and love. (Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer)
In other words:
To live is Christ, to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7-11)
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
How does a lover make love to his beloved? He strips her.
To be denuded by the Lord ought never to discourage us (if it does, that’s a sign of the enemy whispering lies). When He strips us, it is His love that is doing so, and it is a sign of a sweet embrace with our Lover about to come. God wants to make love to our souls, but He must strip us of all that blocks His entry.
To receive grace you must embrace humiliation willingly… not in order to confound you, but to provide an occasion for more solid, more deep humility by which your capacity and worthiness for the sublimer experiences she desired would be increased. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux)
So, it can be said, that whenever humiliation assails you, trials test you and the furnace in which you are being molded feels too hot to handle … Rejoice! Grace is on the way! And it’s exactly what you want.
No doubt, to be human means to want to be made love to (physically and spiritually). Some are called to give up the former, but no one is called to give up the latter. So, let God make love to your soul! Let Him strip you – let Him do everything necessary to make that embrace more and more all-encompassing. It’s worth it.
So very worth it.