I have been reading a book on prayer by Fr. Donald Haggerty. In a chapter entitled “the desert of deeper prayer” he shares a quote from Saint Augustine.  “Give me a man in love: he knows what I mean, give me one who yearn; give me one who is hungry; give me one far away in this desert, who is thirsty and sighs for the spring of the Eternal country.  Give me that sort of man: he knows what I mean.  But if I speak to a cold man, he just does not know what I am talking about.”  

This quote is both inspiring and convicting for me.  I confess there are times when my relationship with God as that of a “cold man“.  I am not sure about my love for God, I lack passion for the cause of Christ, my thirst  for God is not very apparent, and I go through the motions without the vital energy of the Spirit.  I still struggle with my sexual fantasies. I want to desire “one thing”; that is being a passionate lover of God.  Yes, Augustine, I am that man, thirsting in a dry and thirsty culture.

I am a man continually crying out to God,  “Have mercy on me a sinner.”  I am like blind Bartimaeus, sitting by the roadside begging, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47).  He was desperate, knowing this was his only opportunity to connect with Jesus.  When Jesus called him, Bartimaeus responded. Without hesitation he  throw of his cloak, jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.  When Jesus asked what he wanted, he was honest,  “Rabbi, I want to see” (Mark 10:51).  Jesus tells him, “Go your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:52).

David cries out to God in a parched and weary land.  “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.  My soul thirst for you; My whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is not water” (Ps. 63:1).  I can somewhat identify with David.  It has been a long, winding path in becoming a man who desires to be a lover of God – “a man in love.”  It has meant a lot of unlearning about what a man is, my past spiritual journey and my theological framework.  I finally can say, “I want to be a man in love with God.”

What has this meant for me?  I have had to become more honest about my spiritual condition. David was honest when he prayed, “Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me? (Ps 42:5).  First, it has meant becoming a soulful man. St. John of the Cross calls the soul, the region of deep caverns .  It is vast, unknown and deep.  I have to become willing to go deep. This in not introspection for Jesus is already there waiting for me.  

Secondly, I have to admit my need.  I am a beggar like Bartimaeus, who can’t fix himself spiritually.  David prayed, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps 51:17).  He admitted his great need. “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God” (Ps 42:2).  I come to God in all my nakedness and emptiness.

Thirdly, God will rescue me from myself.  “I sink in the miry depths where there is no foothold.  I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me” (Ps 69:2).  God will rescue me.  “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (Ps 18:19).