"Many beginners, delighting in the sweetness and joy of their spiritual occupations, strive after spiritual sweetness rather than after purity and discretion, which is that which God regards and accepts in the whole course of the spiritual way. For this reason, over and above their imperfection in seeking after sweetness in devotion, that spirit of gluttony, which has taken possession of them, forces them to overstep the limits of moderation, within which virtue is acquired and consists. . . Inasmuch then as all extremes are vicious, and as in this course of conduct men follow their own will, the consequences are that they grow in vice and not in virtue; at least they minister to their spiritual gluttony and pride, for they do not walk in the way of obedience."
-St. John of the Cross in Dark Night of the Soul, pg. 26
I know that is a long excerpt, but it sadly is the reality in which many Christians live out their Christian faith today. There remains in them a desire for only that which is easy and pleasing, and thus they cease to grow in the spiritual life. This is also explained in Hebrews:
"Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, [and] not solid food. About this we have much to say, and it is difficult to explain, for you have become sluggish in hearing. Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, [and] not solid food. Everyone who lives on milk lacks experience of the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil."
It begs us to ask the question, is our love for God really pure when we only love with the expectation of receiving something in return (namely consolations and spiritual highs) and which requires nothing of ourselves to give in return?
Lord, help us to love you more each day and to strive for a love that is as pure and holy as You. Amen.