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.