by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of progress
that it is made by passing through
some states of instability--
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually--let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
This is the daily (and nightly) struggle of faith. We are always incomplete. We are constantly waiting. It is often difficult to trust that God is working on our behalf, especially when we can't see it. This can lead us to despair, to doubt, to an aching melancholia dependent on our outward circumstances.
This is what prayer is for; not to relate to the divine as though he/she/it was Santa Claus but to place ourselves in the presence of patient trust. Like a seed that is placed in the ground and then seemingly forgotten, a mystery unfolds beyond our sight.
These words are not comforting but growth-inducing. They confront us with the reality that we live in the in-between, that we are addicted to haste, that for some of us, instant gratification takes too long. And even when we get what we think we want, it is still not over. There is more. With God, there is always more.