"If then you are wise, you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than as a canal. For a canal spreads abroad water as it receives it, but a reservoir waits until it is filled before overflowing, and thus communicates, without loss to itself, its superabundant water. In the Church at the present day, we have many canals, few reservoirs." ~ Bernard of Clairvaux
find suffering redemptively creates those reservoirs to which this St.
Bernard quote refers. I believe that unless we do suffer redemptively
our spiritual journey can follow only intellectual steps and we will not progress because there are steps of the heart as well. As in The Sacrament of Love by Paul Evdomikov: "Leon Bloy would speak here of the
spaces of the heart that do not exist as of yet but are created by
suffering. In order to be loved by the other, one must renounce oneself
completely. It is a deep and unceasing ascetic practice". It is our suffering redemptively that carves out room for God's love in our hearts.
I am led to this scripture from Chapter Seven
of the Gospel of Saint Luke:
36 A Pharisee invited him to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. 42 Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. 47 So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” NABRE
I find that the part of the story I tend to gloss over is the "weeping" of the "sinful" woman. To bathe feet requires a lot of tears! This woman wept a lot! She had already suffered much, that is given. The point here is that she suffered greatly when she comes into a personal encounter with Jesus and that suffering allows her to love greatly and receive the freedom of forgiveness.