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live where He lives

Hurry and come down, for I must stay in your house today.

The master unceasingly repeats this call to our soul which He once addressed to Zacchaeus. Hurry and come down. But what is this descent that He demands of us except an entering more deeply into our interior abyss? Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am. Such is Christ’s last wish, His supreme prayer before returning to His Father. He wills that where He is we should be also, not only for eternity, but already in time. It is important to know where we must live with Him in order to realize His divine dream. The place where the Son of God is hidden is the bosom of the Father, or the divine Essence, invisible to every mortal eye, unattainable by every human intellect, as Isaiah said: Truly You are a hidden God. And yet His will is that we should be established in Him, that we should live where He lives.

  • St Elizabeth of the Trinity

interior castle

We will consider our soul to be like a castle made entirely out of diamond or of a very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in heaven there are many dwelling places.

I don’t find anything comparable to the magnificent beauty of a soul and its marvellous capacity.

It is a shame and unfortunate that through our own fault we don’t understand ourselves or know who we are.

Wouldn’t it show great ignorance, my daughters, if someone when asked who she was didn’t know, and didn’t know her father or mother or from what country she came? Well now, this would be so extremely stupid, we are incomparably more so when we do not strive to know who we are, but limit ourselves to considering only roughly these bodies. We seldom consider the precious things that can be found in this soul, or who dwells within it, or its high value. Consequently, little effort is made to preserve its beauty. All our attention is taken up with the outer wall of the castle; that is, with these bodies of ours.

Well, let us consider that this castle has, as I said, many dwelling places and in the centre is the main dwelling place where the very secret exchanges between God and the soul take place.

We must see how we can enter it… if this castle is the soul, clearly one doesn’t have to enter it since it is within oneself. How foolish it would seem were we to tell someone to enter a room she is already in. But you must understand that there is a great difference in the ways one may be inside the castle.

It should be kept in mind here that the fount, the shining sun that is the centre of the soul, does not lose its beauty and splendour; it is always present in the soul, and nothing can take away its loveliness. But if a black cloth is placed over a crystal that is in the sun, obviously the sun’s brilliance will have no effect on the crystal even though the sun is shining on it.

How is it possible that in realizing these things you don’t strive to remove the pitch from this crystal? How miserable is the state of those poor rooms within the castle! How disturbed the senses are, that is, the people who live in these rooms!

  • St Teresa of Jesus.

annihilated

First know the kingdom of heaven.
Take up your cross, lose yourself.
Renounce self daily.

Take nothing for the journey: neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money; and let none of you take a spare tunic.

Do not to worry about your life
and what you are to eat,
nor about your body
and how you are to clothe it. 
Do not worry about tomorrow.

To the man who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek too;
to the man who takes your coat from you, do not refuse your shirt.
Give to everyone who asks you,
– do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you.
– lend without any hope of return.

Love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you,
pray for those who treat you badly.

*****

The soul is withdrawn from its customary manner of experience to bring it to the divine experience which is foreign to every human way. You are being made a stranger to your usual knowledge and experience of things so that annihilated in this respect you may be informed with the divine.

  • St John of the Cross.  (Dark Night II 9:5)

the cross

In contemplation you learn to abandon and forget your own self, after the teaching of Christ in the Gospel, who said: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Wait on the grace of the Lord and hear what he says: “ If any want to come after me let them abandon themselves.” Can you tell me any better way for us to abandon ourselves and the world than to refuse all thoughts of either?

To begin with you must forget all things except the blind awareness of your naked being. However, once this focus is established you must forget yourself entirely in exchange for a complete awareness of God’s being. That’s why I showed you at the start that God is your being. Because of your inexperience I thought it would be premature of me to expect you – all at once – to suddenly soar up to a spiritual awareness of God’s being, so I’ve been leading you there by degrees. You’ve been climbing up a step at a time. The first step was my advising you to gnaw on the simple blind awareness of your own being for a time, until your perseverance in this initial exercise gave you a familiarity with contemplative work, preparing you to reach the high awareness of God.

When through persistence in this exercise, you’ve gained experience and wisdom, you’ll undress yourself – strip – completely take off your self-awareness, to be clothed with the grace-filled awareness of God himself.

This is how a true lover behaves. Lovers strip themselves of anything theirs to gain the other. They won’t accept anything except the object of their affection, and not short-term but for all time. They want to be enveloped by the other forever in the full and final forgetting of self. This is the work of love that no one understands but the person who feels it. This is what our Lord is trying to teach us when he says, “If any want to come after me, let them abandon themselves.” It’s as if he is saying: “Strip yourself of your self if you really want to be clothed in me, the long and flowing robe of everlasting love.”

  • Epistle of Privy Counsel

phantasmagoria

All that lies around us is false and vain. All the affairs of the world are but shadows, yet we still persist in looking at them as if they had an intrinsic value and reality. The result is that everything remains a riddle to us and we behave like fools. What we should do is gaze at the principle, the source and the origin of all things. Then we should find that everything has a supernatural quality, something divine about it that can lead us onward to holiness. If we persist in living according to what we see and feel, we shall wander like imbeciles through a maze shrouded with darkness and phantasmagoria.

Nothing is safer than the way of self abandonment.

We keep ourselves detached from all we feel and do as we travel along this path and live only for the present moment.

If we have abandoned ourselves, there is only one rule for us: the duty of the present moment. The soul is as light as a feather, as fluid as water, as simple as a child and as lively as a ball in responding to all the impulses of grace. We are like molten metal which takes the shape of the mould into which it is poured, and can just as easily assume any form God wishes to give us. We are like water which fills every vessel no matter what its shape.

The realization that God is active in all that happens at every moment is a continuous revelation.

  • J.P. de Caussade

just for a moment

Seldom do we find a person so spiritual that she lives stripped of everything. Who can find someone truly poor in spirit and totally detached from all the things of this world? Her price is well beyond anything on earth! If a person were to give up all possessions, that would still be nothing. If great penance were to be done, it would still be a little thing. And if all knowledge were to be learnt, we would still be far off. And if one had great virtue and burned with a passionate devotion, still much would be lacking; that is, the one thing which is supremely necessary. And what is it? That having left all things behind, we must also leave self – totally abandon self – keeping nothing of self. Then we will be truly poor and naked in spirit. Yet no one is richer, no one more powerful, no one more free.
– Imitation of Christ. II:11

Totally abandon self – just for a moment.
Then we will be truly poor and naked in spirit – just for a moment.
Yet no one is richer, no one more powerful, no one more free – just for a moment.

method of ascent

 

One has to follow this method…

this method of emptying
t
he faculties of their natural occupations
to make room for illumination.

Remain alone in a loving awareness,
without particular considerations,
in interior quiet,
without the acts and exercises of the faculties.
Remain only in general loving awareness,
without any particular knowledge or understanding.

The more habituated persons become to this calm,
the more their experience
of this general loving knowledge of God will increase.

The preparation for this union
is not an understanding,
nor the taste, feeling, or imagining of God or any other object,
but the stripping off
of all experiences
for God alone.

If individuals would eliminate these impediments
and live in pure nakedness,
their soul in its simplicity and purity
would then be immediately transformed
into simple and pure Wisdom
.

  • St John of the Cross. Ascent of Mount Carmel