As certain Thomists understood it, there is at times demanded of us a hard going effort in the service of God.
At such times, the wind of the Spirit appears to have been stilled, and we, so to speak must take up our oars and row.
“We’d be alright if we make it around the horn!”
In such times it is not that God has removed his Spirit from us, although this is how we speak and feel, but that we have placed the ship of our soul in such a position to lose the wind. We have set some body between us and the breath of God; God has merely allowed us to do so.
It is the hope of faith which at such times takes up the oars and pulls, even when it seems our efforts will never take us ’round the horn and back into the wind.
We find, as only the experience of finding will teach us, that we have indeed made it around the horn and that the joy of salvation has been restored to us, that the wind is again in our sails.
And when we look down at our hands to set the oars back in the ship, we shall find it was neither our hands which first took them up, nor our own strength which kept us rowing. For did we not despair in face of the ocean current? Did we not lose hope due to the lethargy and stupidity of our craft?
We did indeed, and yet onward the ship was rowed.