Father Benson points out that “the Way of Divine Love has been trodden and retrodden already a thousand times.” Moreover, because the relationship between Christ and His beloved is a friendship between two human souls, “it will follow in a great degree the regular lines of all other friendships.”
“There are moments in it of bewildering bliss, at communion or in prayer—moments when it appears (as indeed it is) to be the one supreme experience of life; moments when the whole being is shaken and transfused with love.”
“There are periods too of tranquillity and steady warmth, of an affection at once strong and reasonable, of an esteem and an admiration satisfying to the will and the intellect, as well as to the sensitive or emotional parts of our nature.”
“And there are periods, too—months or years—of misery and dryness: times at which it seems as if we actually needed patience with our Divine Friend; cases in which He appears to treat us with coldness or disdain. There will actually be moments in which it needs all the loyalty we have not to cast Him off as fickle and deceptive. There will be misunderstandings, darknesses, obscurities.”
“Yet, as time passes, and as we emerge through these crises one by one, we come more and more to verify that conviction with which we first embraced our Friend. For this is indeed the one Friendship in which final disappointment is impossible; and He the one Friend who cannot fail.”
“It is in the cause of this one Friend only and of His Friendship that the words of one of His intimates are completely justified in which he tells us that for His sake it is good to ‘count all things to be but loss’—’and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ’ (Phil 3:8).”
Quotations from Robert Hugh Benson, The Friendship of Christ (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1912).