The funny thing was, I loved the first page so much, I couldn't get past it. (Okay, today was a busy day...but still...I really felt the need to linger on those opening paragraphs.)
Here's what I especially loved in those first few paragraphs:
- That he felt his first deep "kindling" of love towards God when contemplating a bare, winter tree and considering how it would soon bloom with flowers and fruit again. This gave him a vision of God's providence and power.
- That when he first joined the monastery, he assumed everything about the life would show him his awkwardness and faults and that he'd be making a big sacrifice to enter that kind of life, but God instead gave him years of satisfaction and contentment. (Surprise! How like God to give us joy where we expect difficulty!)
- That we need to be faithful in times of dryness, insensibility, and "irksomeness in prayer," that our faithfulness in times like those could do much for our growth in love for God. (I love how he just candidly admits to irksome prayer times.)
- That instead of troubling himself and freaking out (okay, my paraphrase) about how bad people could be and how awful the world was getting, he marveled that, given the power of sin, things weren't worse, he prayed for those who were sinning, and he trusted that God could remedy anything. And after that, he wouldn't trouble himself about those things anymore.