Archive for the 'Quotes and reflections' Category

God is everywhere, always . . .

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
No contemplation and fruition of love, whether intellectual or affective, is more useful, more perfect and more satisfying than that which is of God himself, the Creator, our supreme and true Good, from whom, through whom and to whom are all things. He is infinitely satisfying both to himself and to all others, who contains within himself in absolute simplicity and from all eternity the perfection of all things, in whom there is nothing which is not himself, before whom and through whom remain the causes of all things impermanent, and in whom dwell the unchanging origins of all changing things, while even the eternal reasons of all temporal things, rational and irrational, abide in him. He brings everything to completion, and fills all things, in general and in particular, completely and essentially with himself. He is more intimately and more really present to everything by his being than each thing is to itself, for in him all things are united together, and live in him eternally.

St. Albert the Great, On Cleaving to God, Chapter 9.

(So just to be still . . . present to the One Who is always present . . . here/now . . . loving . . . )

Surrender and resignation

Friday, April 27th, 2012
“I ask you neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death; but that you may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life and my death, for your glory … You alone know what is expedient for me; you are the sovereign master, do with me according to your will. Give to me, or take away from me, only conform my will to yours. I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and bad to offend you. Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in anything. I know not which is most profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom.”

― Blaise Pascal

Acknowledging God

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

- from a sermon by St. Gregory Nazianzen published in the Office of Readings, Feb. 27, 2012 -

Recognise to whom you owe the fact that you exist, that you breathe, that you understand, that you are wise, and, above all, that you know God and hope for the kingdom of heaven and the vision of glory, now darkly as in a mirror but then with greater fullness and purity. You have been made a child of God, co-heir with Christ. Where did you get all this, and from whom?

Let me turn to what is of less importance: the visible world around us. What benefactor has enabled you to look out upon the beauty of the sky, the sun in its course, the circle of the moon, the countless number of stars, with the harmony and order that are theirs, like the music of a harp? Who has blessed you with rain, with the art of husbandry, with different kinds of food, with the arts, with houses, with laws, with states, with a life of humanity and culture, with friendship and the easy familiarity of kinship?

Who has given you dominion over animals, those that are tame and those that provide you with food? Who has made you lord and master of everything on earth? In short, who has endowed you with all that makes man superior to all other living creatures?

Is it not God who asks you now in your turn to show yourself generous above all other creatures and for the sake of all other creatures? Because we have received from him so many wonderful gifts, will we not be ashamed to refuse him this one thing only, our generosity? Though he is God and Lord he is not afraid to be known as our Father. Shall we for our part repudiate those who are our kith and kin?

Attributes of God: Love

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

There are three things told us in Scripture concerning the nature of God. First, “God is spirit” (John 4:24). In the Greek there is no indefinite article, and to say “God is a spirit” is most objectionable, for it places Him in a class with others. God is “spirit” in the highest sense. Because He is “spirit” He is incorporeal, having no visible substance. Had God a tangible body, He would not be omnipresent, He would be limited to one place; because He is spirit He fills heaven and earth. Second, God is light (1 John 1:5), which is the opposite of “darkness.” In Scripture “darkness” stands for sin, evil, death; and “light” for holiness, goodness, life. God is light, means that He is the sum of all excellency. Third, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). It is not simply that God “loves,” but that He is Love itself. Love is not merely one of His attributes, but His very nature.

There are many today who talk about the love of God, who are total strangers to the God of love. The Divine love is commonly regarded as a species of amiable weakness, a sort of good-natured indulgence; it is reduced to a mere sickly sentiment, patterned after human emotion. Now the truth is that on this, as on everything else, our thoughts need to be formed and regulated by what is revealed thereon in Holy Scripture. That there is urgent need for this is apparent not only from the ignorance which so generally prevails, but also from the low state of spirituality which is now so sadly evident everywhere among professing Christians. How little real love there is for God. One chief reason for this is because our hearts are so little occupied with His wondrous love for His people. The better we are acquainted with His love—its character, fulness, blessedness—the more will our hearts be drawn out in love to Him.

from The Attributes of God, by A. W. Pink

On the love of God alone

Friday, January 20th, 2012

(This meditation was in today’s Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours.  Keep in mind that by “self-love” and “love of self” the author is referring to selfishness and self-concern and not a healthy care for one’s needs.  He is, however, giving testimony to a love of God that is so forgetful of self-regard as to resolve the matter of bestowing upon oneself any kind of unhealthy attentiveness to self. Apologies for the non-inclusive language, but it’s just impossible to adequately edit out in texts such as this one.)

Whoever is in love with himself is unable to love God. The man who loves God is the one who abandons his self-love for the sake of the immeasurable blessings of divine love. Such a man never seeks his own glory but only the glory of God. If a person loves himself he seeks his own glory, but the man who loves God loves the glory of his Creator.

Anyone alive to the love of God can be recognised from the way he constantly strives to glorify him by fulfilling all his commandments and by delighting in his own submission. It is fitting that God should receive glory, because of his great majesty; but it is fitting for us as human beings to submit ourselves to God and thereby become his friends. Then we too will rejoice in his glory as Saint John the Baptist did, and we shall never stop repeating: His fame must increase, but mine must diminish.

I knew someone who was sad that he could not love God as he would wanted, but who nevertheless loved God so much that his soul was always in the grip of desire for God, for God’s glory to manifest itself in him, for himself to be as nothing in comparison. Such a person cannot be touched by verbal praise or convinced of his being, since his overwhelming humility means that he simply does not think about his own dignity or status. He celebrates the liturgy as, according to the law, priests should; but his love of God blinds him to all awareness of his own dignity. He buries any glory that might come his way in the depth of his love of God, so that he never sees himself as anything more than a useless servant: he is estranged, as it were, from a sense of his own dignity by his desire for lowliness. This is the sort of thing we ought to do, to flee from any honour or glory that is offered us, for the sake of the immense riches of our love of God who has so loved us.

Anyone who loves God in the depths of his heart has already been loved by God. In fact, the measure of a man’s love for God depends upon how deeply aware he is of God’s love for him. When this awareness is keen it makes whoever possesses it long to be enlightened by the divine light, and this longing is so intense that it seems to penetrate his very bones. He loses all consciousness of himself and is entirely transformed by the love of God.

Such a man lives in this life and at the same time does not live in it, for although he still inhabits his body, he is constantly leaving it in spirit because of the love that draws him toward God. Once the love of God has released him from self-love, the flame of divine love never ceases to burn in his heart and he remains united to God by an irresistible longing. As St Paul says: If we are taken out of ourselves it is for the love of God; if we are brought back to our senses it is for your sake.

- by Diadochus of Photiké, “On Spiritual Perfection”

In God we have everything!

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

The sovereign God wants to be loved for Himself and honored for Himself, but that is only part of what He wants. The other part is that He wants us to know that when we have Him we have everything—we have all the rest.
- A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

(Pearl of great price!)

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- Related:

To which end, if you have begun to strip and purify yourself of images and imaginations and to simplify and still your heart and mind in the Lord God so that you can draw and taste the well of divine grace in everything within yourself, and so that you are united to God in your mind by a good will, then this itself is enough for you in place of all study and reading of holy scripture, and as demonstration of love of God and neighbour, as devotion itself testifies.

So simplify your heart with all care, diligence and effort so that still and at peace from the products of the imagination you can turn round and remain always in the Lord within yourself, as if your mind were already in the now of eternity, that is of the godhead. In this way you will be able to renounce yourself through love of Jesus Christ, with a pure heart, clean conscience and unfeigned faith, and commit yourself completely and fully to God in all difficulties and eventualities, and be willing to submit yourself patiently to his will and good pleasure at all times.

- On Cleaving to God, by St. Albert the Great: Chapter 5. “On purity of heart, which is to be sought above all things.”

On Christian Enlightenment

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

“So love is the way to Christian enlightenment and there is no other.  This love has a twofold thrust: love of God and love of neighbour.  In either case it is ecstatic.  That is to say, my consciousness expands and I go out of myself–I go out to all men and women who have ever lived or ever will love, to the whole material universe of moons and stars and planets, to every blade of grass and every grain of sand, to every living creature, and to the great mystery at the centre of all, the great mystery we call God–and God is love.”
- William Johnston, Letters to Contemplatives

Faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests . . .

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all. While we are looking at God, we do not see ourselves–blessed riddance. The one who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One.
- A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God

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We were created to be an image and likeness of God, and so it is only by “looking” unto God frequently that we come to most accurately reflect God’s image and likeness.   This doesn’t mean that we ought not examine ourselves, our motives, or do various kinds of inner work, however.  Because God always appeals to our freedom and intelligence, we do need to take full responsibility for what goes on in our consciousness, and we cannot take such responsibility without being aware of what goes on there.  After doing so, we can make adjustments in how we think and choose, but we cannot become truly healed, nor realize our true identity by trying to “fix” ourselves.  When we give up trying to do so and look to God instead for healing, identity and guidance, it is indeed a blessed relief.

Love God, and do as you please.

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Love God, and do as you please.
- St. Augustine

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Do anything?

Well, sure, but only if you truly love God first and foremost above all else.   If you do so, then your consciousness will be oriented toward God in such manner as to love what God loves and to regard as harmful what God regards as harmful.  In other words, your conscience will be moved by the Holy Spirit to act in such manner as to do what is called for in every circumstance.

Thus is the second great commandment — to love your neighbor as your self — like unto the first, for those who love God above all cannot help but regard other people with God’s own loving regard.  In other words, we love our neighbor for God’s sake, which is a higher love than one based on our natural attractions and compatibilities.

Does this counsel from St. Augustine sound too easy?   Too simple?  What do you think?

The flow of God’s love

Friday, November 25th, 2011

This flowing forth of God always demands a flowing back; for God is a Sea that ebbs and flows, pouring without ceasing into all His beloved according to the need and the merits of each, and ebbing back again with all those who have been thus endowed both in heaven and on earth, with all that they have and all that they can. And of some He demands more than they are able to bring, for He shows Himself so rich and so generous and so boundlessly good: and in showing Himself thus He demands love and adoration according to His worth. For God wishes to be loved by us according to the measure of His nobility, and in this all spirits fail; and therefore their love becomes wayless and without manner, for they know not how they may fulfill it, nor how they may come to it. For the love of all spirits is measured: and for this reason their love perpetually begins anew, so that God may be loved according to His demand and to the spirit’s own desires. And this is why all blessed spirits perpetually gather themselves together and form a burning flame of love, that they may fulfill this work, and that God may be loved according to His nobility. Reason shows clearly that to creatures this is impossible; but love always wills the fulfillment of love, or else will be consumed, burned up, annihilated in its own failure. Yet God is never loved according to His worth by any creatures. And to the enlightened reason this is a great delight and satisfaction: that its God and its Beloved is so high and so rich that He transcends all created powers, and can be loved according to His merits by none save Himself.

The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage, chapter 40
by St. John of Rusybroeck (1293-1381)

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There is much food for thought and reflection in this quote.  As noted in another post, God’s love is the means by which we come to love God.  The “ebb and flow” mentioned by St. John in this quote attests to this.  Note, too, his mention of the failing of all to love God as God deserves.  Still, any movement in this direction is most pleasing to God and most edifying of the person.