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On Cleaving To God Chapter 8

How a religious man should commit himself to God in all circumstances

whatsoever

   I am now completely convinced that you will recognise from these
   arguments that the more you strip yourself of the products of your
   imagination and all worldly and created things, and are united to God
   with your intellect by a good will, the closer you will approach the
   state of innocence and perfection. What could be better? And what could
   be more happy and joyful? Above all it is important for you to keep
   your mind bare - without imaginations and images and free of any sort
   of entanglement, so that you are not concerned about either the world,
   friends, prosperity or adversity, or anything present, past or future,
   whether in yourself or in others - not even your own sins. But consider
   yourself with a certain pure simplicity to be alone with God outside
   the world, and as if your mind were already in eternity and separated
   from the body so that it will certainly not bother about worldly things
   or be concerned about the state of the world, about peace or war, about
   good weather or rain, or about anything at all in this world, but with
   complete docility will turn to God alone, be empty for him and cleave
   to him. So now in this way ignore your body and all created things,
   present or future, and direct the high point of your mind and spirit
   directly, as best you can, naked and unencumbered on the uncreated
   light. And let your spirit be cleansed in this way from all
   imaginations, coverings and things obscuring its vision, like an angel
   (not) tied to a body, who is not hindered by the works of the flesh nor
   tangled in vain and wandering thoughts. Let your spirit therefore arm
   itself against all temptations, vexations, and injuries so that it can
   persevere steadily in God when attacked by either face of fortune. So
   that when some inner disturbance or boredom or mental confusion come
   you will not be indignant or dejected because of it, nor run back to
   vocal prayers or other forms of consolation, but only to lift yourself
   up in your intellect by a good will to hold on to God with your mind
   whether the natural inclination of the body wills it or not. The
   religious-minded soul should be so united to God and should have or
   render its will so conformed to the divine will that it is not occupied
   with any created thing or cling to it any more than before it was
   created, and as if nothing existed except God and the soul itself. And
   in this way it should accept everything confidently and equally, in
   general and in particular, from the hand of divine providence, agreeing
   in everything with the Lord in patience, peace and silence. The thing
   is that the most important thing of all for a spiritual life is to
   strip the mind of all imaginations so that one can be united in one's
   intellect to God by a good will, and conformed to him. Besides, nothing
   will then be intermediary between you and God. This is obvious, since
   nothing external will stand between you when by the vow of voluntary
   poverty you will have removed the possession of anything whatsoever,
   and by the vow of chastity you will have abandoned your body, and by
   obedience you will have given up your will and your soul itself. And in
   this way nothing will be left to stand between you and God. That you
   are a religious person is indicated by your profession, your state, and
   now your habit and tonsure and such like, but whether you are only a
   religious in appearance or a real one, you will find out. Bear in mind
   therefore how greatly you have fallen away and sin against the Lord
   your God and all his justice if you behave otherwise and cling with
   your will and love to what is created rather than to the Creator
   himself, putting the created before the Creator.
     







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