"The great Flemish mystic John Ruusbroec wrote, 'When a person thus beholds the marvelous richness and sublimity of the divine nature and all the manifold gifts which God offers and gives to his creatures, there grows within him or her an interior sense of wonder at such great and diverse richness and sublimity and at the infinite fidelity which God bears toward his creatures. This gives rise to a special interior joy in the spirit and a sense of great trust in God. This interior joy envelops and penetrates all the powers of the soul and the unity of the spirit.'

"In other words, the key to receiving the gift of trust from God is the very act of beholding God — the practice of contemplation. When we gaze with wordless love into the heart and mind of God, we are making ourselves available for this gift (among others). The 'interior sense of wonder' that God bestows upon the person resting in silent love before God is not only a blessing in its own right, but it is also a key to 'interior joy' — and the ability to more fully trust in God.

"In one of his minor writings, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing has this honest comment to make: 'As far as you can see, everything has gone — ordinary graces as well as the more special. But you must not be too disturbed, though it seems that you have every reason to be. Rather trust lovingly in our Lord, as much as you can at the time, however feebly; for he is not far off. He will turn his face to you, perhaps very soon, and affect you again with a touch of that same grace more ardently than you ever experienced before.'

"What an honest statement — acknowledging that sometimes our ability to trust is feeble!

"I could relate to that. I saw that trusting is almost like working out in a gym. If you're out of practice, you're not going to be able to lift much weight — so, start small. Lift what you can, safely, and keep working out; eventually you will gain strength and be able to press more weight. Trust works the same way. At first we are feeble in our trust, but that's better than nothing. And the more we exercise our trust, the more we recognize that God 'is not far off' and will turn the divine face to us 'soon.' "