"Try to imagine a man of action, some sort of explorer, about to set forth on a journey. His powers of persuasion have aroused a few enthusiasts who have decided to follow him. The start of the journey is a triumph. A rain of flowers, wild applause, the delight of the crowds. In towns and villages flags are out, there are displays of lights, the bold travelers are feted. The very countryside revels over their passing through it.
Yet the joy soon dims. The wayfarers enter new lands which know nothing, understand nothing, and care less. Sometimes also our travelers arouse misgivings. Their passionate desire for the Yea or Nay of the Gospels, excluding all other forms of discourse, assuredly does not recommend them. Little by little the food and the wines are replaced by potato peelings, and the contents of chamber pots succeed the flowers.
The enthusiasm of his companions is already wholly extinguished. Several of them have withdrawn on various pretexts and have not returned. The faithful few, in their turn, seek means to flee without too greatly disgracing themselves. They had not foreseen that there would be suffering.
Still, those who are left resign themselves from shame or from pride. As long as there continue to be human dwellings and men good or bad, a little effort still makes the journey bearable.
But now it happens that both the one and the other become sparse. We are entering into the desert, into solitude. Here are Cold, Darkness, Hunger, Thirst, vast Weariness, dreadful Sadness, the Agony, the Bloody Sweat.
The rash traveler looks for his companions. He understands, then, that it is God's good pleasure that he be alone amid torments, and he goes on into the black immensity, bearing his heart before him like a torch!"
- Leon Bloy, from Magnificat, April 2015