The authorities teach that next to the first emanation, which is the Son coming out of the Father, the angels are most like God. And it may well be true, for the soul at its highest is formed like God, but an angel gives a closer idea of Him. That is all an angel is: an idea of God. For this reason the angel was sent to the soul, so that the soul might be re-formed by it, to be the divine idea by which it was first conceived.
Once a man came to me - it was not too long ago - and said that he had given away much landed property and many goods for his own sake so that he might save his soul. Then I thought: 'How little and how insignificant is what you have let go of! It is blindness and foolishness for you to continue looking at all you've let go of. If, however, you've let go of yourself, then you've really let go.'
Though one should live through all the time from Adam and all the time to come before the judgment day doing good works, yet he who, energising in his highest, purest part, crosses from time to eternity, verily in the sight of God this man conceives and does far more than anyone who lives throughout all past and future time, because this now includes the whole of time. One master says that in crossing over time into the now each power of the soul will surpass itself. . . .
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My children, mark me. I pray you. Know! God loves my soul so much that his very life and being depend upon his loving me, whether he would or no. To stop God loving me would be to rob him of his Godhood; for God is love no less than he is truth; as he is good, so is he love as well. It is the absolute truth, as God lives... If anyone would ask me what God is, I should answer: God is love, and so altogether lovely that creatures all with one accord essay to love his loveliness, whether they do so knowingly or unbeknownst, in joy or sorrow.
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Jesus went into the temple and boldly drove out those that bought and sold. And when all was cleared, there was nobody left but Jesus. Observe this, for it is the same with us: when he is alone he is able to speak in the temple of the soul. If anyone else is speaking in the temple of your soul, Jesus will keep still, as if he were not at home. And he is not at home wherever there are strange guests-guests with whom the soul holds conversation, guests who are seeking to bargain. If Jesus is to speak and be heard, the soul must be alone and quiet.
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A question arises regarding the angels who dwell with us, serve us and protect us, whether their joys are equal to those of the angels in heaven, or whether they are diminished by the fact that they protect and serve us. No, they are certainly not; for the work of the angels is the will of God, and the will of God is the work of the angels; their service to us does not hinder their joy nor their working. If God told an angel to go to a tree and pluck caterpillars off it, the angel would be quite ready to do so, and it would be his happiness, if it were the will of God.
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Now the Father draws us from the evil of sin to the goodness of His grace with the might of His measureless power, and He needs all the resources of His strength in order to convert sinners, more than when He was about to make heaven and earth, which He made with His own power without help from any creature. But when He is about to convert a sinner, He always needs the sinner's help. "He converts thee not without thy help," as St. Augustine says.
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I have sought earnestly and with great diligence that good and high virtue by which man may draw closest to God... and as far as my intelligence would permit, I find that high virtue to be pure disinterest, that is, detachment from creatures. Our Lord said to Martha 'Unum est necessarium', which is to say; to be untroubled and pure, one thing is necessary and that is disinterest.
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Behold how all those people are merchants who shun great sins and would like to be good and do good deeds in God's honour, such as fasts, vigils, prayers, and similar good deeds of all kinds. They do all these things so that our Lord may give them something, or so that God may do something dear to them. All these people are merchants.
If anyone went on for a thousand years asking of life: 'Why are you living?' life, if it could answer, would only say, 'I live so that I may live.' That is because life lives out of its own ground and springs from its own source, and so it lives without asking why it is itself living.
The only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life: your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away, but they're not punishing you, they're freeing your soul. If you're frightened of dying and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. If you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels freeing you from the earth.
Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow, and to love Him as they love a cow - for the milk and cheese and profit it brings them. This is how it is with people who love God for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort. They do not rightly love God, when they love Him for their own advantage.
To be sure, this requires effort and love, a careful cultivation of the spiritual life, and a watchful, honest, active oversight of all one's mental attitudes towards things and people. It is not to be learned by world-flight, running away from things, turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, one must learn an inner solitude, where or with whomsoever he may be. He must learn to penetrate things and find God there, to get a strong impression of God firmly fixed on his mind.
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Saint Augustine cries, Lord I cannot love you, but come in and love yourself in me. According to Saint Paul, we must put off our own natural form and put on the form of God, and Saint Augustine tells us to discard our own mode of nature; then the divine nature will flow in and be revealed. Saint Augustine says, Those who seek and find, find not. He who seeks and finds not, he alone finds. Saint Paul says, What I was, was not I, it was God in me.
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Love will never be anywhere except where equality and unity are..... And there can be no love where love does not find equality or is not busy creating equality. Nor is there any pleasure without equality. Practice equality in human society. Learn to love, esteem, consider all people like yourself. What happens to another, be it bad or good, pain or joy, ought to be as if it happened to you.
To be sure, our mental processes often go wrong, so that we imagine God to have gone away. What should be done then? Do exactly what you would do if you felt most secure. Learn to behave thus even in deepest distress and keep yourself that way in any and every estate of life. I can give you no better advice than to find God where you lost him.
The kind of work we do does not make us holy, but we can make it holy. However "sacred" a calling may be, as it is a calling, it has no power to sanctify; but rather as we are and have the divine being within, we bless each task we do, be it eating, or sleeping, or watching, or any other.
If I had a friend and loved him because of the benefits which this brought me and because of getting my own way, then it would not be my friend that I loved but myself. I should love my friend on account of his own goodness and virtues and account of all that he is in himself. Only if I love my friend in this way do I love him properly.
People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works.