There is a painting by Hieronymus Bosch called The Temptations of St. Anthony, featuring all manner of weird demons of the unconscious drawing the saint away from goodness. You can hardly make him out in the central picture, kneeling, in blue, in prayer, though he is physically alone. And the spiritual life sometimes feels like that – our inner world is crowded out by worries, fears, anxieties, temptations, angry thoughts – and so on…
In this last post on The Prologue, we see St. Benedict understood the challenges facing anyone trying to live a spiritual life.
“The patience of God is leading you to repent…We must, then, prepare our hearts and bodies for the battle of holy obedience to his instructions. What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace…We must run and do now what will profit us forever.”
The motivation is love:
“Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation…As we progress…we shall run on the way of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love…We shall through patience share in the sufferings of Christ that we may deserve also to share in his kingdom.”
It is a very challenging call.
But it is a call to goodness and to eternity, so perhaps, on balance, it’s worth it!