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remain in me

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

death every day

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’)

 

 

wait and watch

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)

one with him

 

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 continual exodus

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)

pure actuality

In the beginning was the Word,
primordial being,
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
pure actuality
waiting to be realized.

 

 

essence of practise

 

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.

A man, then, is decidedly hindered from the attainment of this high state of union with God when he is attached to any understanding, feeling, imagining, opinion, desire, or way of his own and knows not how to detach and denude himself of these impediments. His goal transcends all of this.

The preparation for this union is not an understanding, nor the taste, feeling, or imagining of God or any other object, but purity and love, which is the stripping off and perfect renunciation of all experiences for God alone. Perfect transformation is impossible without perfect purity. The illumination of the soul and its union with God corresponds to the measure of its purity.

The faculties must undergo a purification of their respective apprehensions in order to reach union with God.

We annihilate the faculties in their operations. We go to God by not comprehending rather than by comprehending, and we exchange the mutable and comprehensible for the Immutable and Incomprehensible.

All the sensory means and exercises of the faculties must be left behind and in silence so that God himself may effect divine union in the soul. One has to follow this method of disencumbering, emptying and depriving the faculties of their natural occupations to make room for the inflow and illumination of the supernatural.

This sublime knowledge can be received only by a person who has arrived at union with God, for it is itself that very union. It consists in a certain touch of the divinity produced in the soul, and thus it is God himself who is experienced and tasted there. This knowledge tastes of the divine essence and eternal life.

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.

Remain alone in a loving awareness, without particular considerations, in interior peace and quiet and repose, and 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.

What the soul was gradually acquiring through the labour of meditation is converted into habitual and substantial, general loving knowledge. This knowledge is neither distinct nor particular, as was the previous knowledge. The moment it recollects itself in the presence of God it enters into an act of general, loving, peaceful, and tranquil knowledge, drinking wisdom and love and delight.

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.

We do not work with the faculties. One should not commingle other, more palpable lights of forms, concepts or figures of meditative discourse if one wants to receive this divine light in greater simplicity and abundance, for none of these tangible lights are like that serene, limpid light. If individuals were to desire to consider and understand particular things, however spiritual these things may be, they would hinder the general, limpid and simple light of the spirit.

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.

*****

Creatures, earthly or heavenly, and all distinct ideas and images, natural and supernatural, that can be the object of a person’s faculties, are inadequate to God’s being. Therefore, anyone encumbering the faculties of the soul with what is comprehensible cannot have a proper esteem of God. For whoever does not renounce all possessions cannot be Christ’s disciple.

To reach satisfaction in all
desire satisfaction in nothing.
To come to possess of all
desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing.
To come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge of nothing.

To come to enjoy what you have not
you must go by a way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not
you must go by a way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
you must go by a way in which you possess not.
To come to be what you are not
you must go by a way in which you are not.

 

As Joseph Ratzinger put it: “it is made apparent how being that truly understands itself grasps at the same time that in being itself it does not belong to itself; that it only comes to itself by moving away from itself and finding its way back as relatedness to its true primordial state.”