“Remain in Me”. It is the Word of God who expresses this wish. “Remain in Me”, not for a few moments, a few hours which must pass away, but “remain”… permanently, habitually…
We must enter ever deeper into the divine Being through recollection… we must descend daily this pathway of the Abyss which is God. Abyss calls to abyss. It is there in the very depths that the divine impact takes place, where the abyss of our nothingness encounters the Abyss of mercy, the immensity of the all of God. There we will find the strength to die to ourselves and, losing all vestige of self, we will be changed into love … Blessed are those who die in the Lord !
- St Elizabeth of the Trinity. Heaven in Faith
being alive should no longer mean living with our own life, but with his life.
With us, Christ’s love is a compelling motive, and this is the conviction we have reached: if one man died on behalf of all, then all thereby became dead men; Christ died for us all, so that being alive should no longer mean living with our own life, but with his life who died for us and has risen again. (2 Cor 5:14-15)
We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are consigned to our death every day so that in our mortal flesh the life of Jesus may be openly shown. So death is our practise. (2 Cor 4: 7-12)
And this is the way in which the perfect lover behaves, wholly and entirely to despoil himself of himself to have the thing he loves, and refusing to allow himself to be clothed in anything except the thing he loves; and this is not merely for a time, but to be wrapped in it forever, in the full and final forgetfulness of self. This is a love making that none can know save one that has experience of it. This is what our Lord is teaching when he says: “If any man love me, let him forsake himself,” as though he said : “Let him despoil himself of himself if he truly wishes to be clothed in me, who am the rich garment of everlasting love that shall never have an end.”
( extract from ‘A letter of Private Direction’ – by the author of ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’)
Man comes, in the most profound sense, to himself, not through what he does, but through what he accepts. He must wait for the gift of love, and love can only be received as a gift. It cannot be “made” on one’s own, without anyone else; one must wait for it, let it be given. And one cannot become wholly human in any other way than by being loved. By letting oneself be loved.
Love represents simultaneously both man’s highest possibility and his deepest need and this most necessary thing is at the same time the freest and the most unenforceable.
Ratzinger, Cardinal Joseph. Introduction to Christianity. ( pp. 266-267)
It is openness to the whole, to the infinite, that makes man complete. Man is man by reaching out infinitely beyond himself, and he is consequently more of a man the less enclosed he is in himself, the less limited he is. For – let me repeat – that man is most fully man, indeed the true man, who is most unlimited, who not only has contact with the infinite – the infinite Being! – but is one with him.
The man shut off in himself, who wants to assert himself, stand only in himself, is then the man of the past whom we must leave behind us.
- Ratzinger, Cardinal Joseph. (1969) Introduction to Christianity. p 234 -40
The basic Christian decision signifies the assent to being a Christian, the abandonment of self-centredness.
The phrase “the way of the cross”, represents the basic idea that man, leaving behind the seclusion and tranquillity of his “I”, departs from himself in order by this frustration of his “I” to follow the crucified Christ.
Think, for example, of the image of the exodus, which remains the basic idea governing the existence of the people of God and of him who belongs to it: he is called to the continual exodus of going beyond himself.
In an image borrowed from nature it is shown the basic structure of Christian life represents at bottom the stamp of the cosmic, of creation itself. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24) On the cosmic plane the law holds good that life comes only through death, through loss of self. By embracing the fate of the grain of wheat, by letting himself be broken down and by losing himself, the Christian opens up access to true life.
- Ratzinger, Cardinal Joseph. (1969) Introduction to Christianity (pp 251-253)
In the beginning was the Word,
a being waiting to be realized.
The primordial state:
a reaching back to the being
behind the ‘phenomenal’ character of the mere happening.
Total unity with the “I am”,
the ground of being,
that results from an attitude of complete surrender.
That which is
waiting to be realized.
We are discussing the union and transformation of the soul in God.
As regards this road to union, entering on the road means leaving one’s own road; and turning from one’s own mode implies entry into what has no mode, that is, God.
We go to God by not comprehending rather than by comprehending, and we exchange the mutable and comprehensible for the Immutable and Incomprehensible.
Manifestly, in this high state of union God does not communicate himself to the soul through the disguise of any image or likeness, but directly: the pure and naked essence of God with the pure and naked essence of the soul.
The purity and simplicity of this state renders the soul simple, pure and clear of all the apprehensions and forms through which the senses and memory were acting.
What clearly follows is that when individuals have finished purifying and voiding themselves of all forms and apprehensible images, they will abide in this pure and simple light and be perfectly transformed in it. This light is never lacking to the soul, but because of creature forms and veils that weigh on it and cover it, the light is never infused. If individuals would eliminate these impediments and live in pure nakedness and poverty of spirit, their soul in its simplicity and purity would then be immediately transformed into simple and pure Wisdom, the Son of God.