Chapter 8

Chapter 8

DESIRE

As a man’s desire is so is he.
If our desire is entirely towards fleshly things
and joys and comforts, we are sensualists.
If our desire is all towards sport and horses,
we are not then above horses but rather below them,
for the human animal is full of guile
but the horse of obedience and generosity.
Nevertheless he is no goal for the human to aim at.
If we desire the beautiful, we become beautified and refined.

If we desire God, we become godly.

It is characteristic of spiritual progress that each step is gained through suffering,
through penetrating faithful endeavours,
through grievous incomprehensible turmoils
and discords of the spirit, worked frequently by means of the everyday commonplace happenings
and responsibilities of our daily life.
Finally as each new step is gained
we are by Grace carried to it in a flood of divine happiness to crown our woes.

Grace is God’s magnetic power acting directly and immediately upon us
and is altogether independent of place, time, services, sacraments, or ceremonies.
We limit God’s communication with us
in that He is communicable to us  , only in so far as we ourselves ,
respond and are able, apt, and willing to receive Him.

Is the condition of blessed nearness to God permanent?
No, not as a condition …but as a potential capacity only.
We have need to perpetually renew this condition by a positive active enthusiasm toward God.

We can in laziness no more retain and use this condition as a permanency
than we can sleep one night and eat one meal
and have these be sufficient  for our lifetime.
But slowly, with work and with pain, we learn perpetually
to regain this condition by that form of prayer
which is the spiritual breathing−in of the Spirit of Christ.

All God’s help, all God’s comfortings are to be had by us through Enabling Grace.
This Grace will constantly be withdrawn so that we may learn that we arrive at nothing
by our own power but by gift of God,
who is ever willing to give to us …provided we whole−heartedly respond.

This response to God is surely amongst the most difficult of our achievements;
unaided by Enabling Grace it is an impossibility,
but we know that every man born into the world is invited by Christ to ask for and to receive this Grace.

The effect of Response to God is a unity of our tiny force to the Might−Presence
and company of God as much as we are able to bear it,
producing in us while with us such wealth of living;
and such happiness as passes all description.

As we have capacity to respond to God
so we shall know of God
which is not known by those  who are as yet  , unlearned in response.

For God, we know, is neither This nor That,
but so infinitely more than any particularization
that we are able to know Him only and solely according to our own capacity to receive Him.
To one He is a Personal Power that ravishes with might,
and with whose awesome magnetism
draws the very heart and soul in longing anguish from the body.

To another He is the dimly known
Silent Manipulator of the Universe,
the secret Ruler to whose mighty Will creation bows—because it must.

To another He is yet even more remote,
being the unresponsive,
impersonal,
incomprehensible,
immovable Instigator of all law.

What is it in our religion that we need for a full happiness?
Not the God of our mere faith,
nor the God of the theologian veiled behind great mysteries of book−learning.
It is the Responsive God that we long for,
and how shall we reach Him?
There is one way only
through the taking of Jesus Christ firmly and faithfully into our own heart and life.

It is not what we now are,
or where we now stand that matters,
but what He has the power to bring us to.

How is God−consciousness to be achieved—shall we do it by study, by reading?
No—for the study or reading of it will do no more than stir and whet the appetite for spiritual things—
this is its work,—but it can do no more in giving us the actual possession of this joy
than the study of a menu can satisfy hunger.

Individual, personal and inward possession is in all things our necessity.
If our friend has slept well it is no rest to us if we have slept ill.
Up to a given point in all things each for himself.
It is the law.

Where this law ends or is superseded by the law of all , for all ,
only the Holy Spirit can instruct us, and that inwardly and again each to himself.
This state of God−consciousness is a gift,
and our work is to qualify for this gift by persistent ardent desire towards God
continued through every adversity, through every lack of sensible response on His part—
a naked will and heart insisting upon God.
This state of God−consciousness once received and in full vigour of life,
there is without a doubt about this condition
a principle of active contagion, very noticeable, very remarkable.

That “something” which would appear frequently to be needed by persons anxious to come to God
and unable to discover the manner of achieving it,
would seem to be supplied by this contagion,
as though a human spark were often wanted to ignite the spark in another,  which being done,
the Divine Fire springs up and rapidly grows without further human assistance.

We see this contagion as used in its full perfection by Jesus,
for with all His selected followers
He had only to come in momentary contact with them, using a word or a look,
and, instantly forsaking everything, they followed Him.

Was this selection of His favoritism?
No, they were prepared to receive this contagion,
and not a one of them had not been secretly seeking for God; and this perhaps for long years.

To find this new life we need then not the reading of profound books of learning,
not the wisdom of the scholar, but an inward persistence of the heart and will towards God.
This time of insistent waiting is to be endured with all the more courage
in that we do not know at what blessed moment we may pierce the veil and
the gift come in all its glorious immensity.
Ten years, twenty, thirty—what are such in comparison with the
blisses that shall afterwards be ours for all eternity?

To look up by day or night into the vastness of the sky with its endless depths,
and as we do it … to burn with the consciousness of God, this is to truly live. No distance is too great, no space too wide. All is our home.
Without this burning consciousness of God, Space is a thing of fear and Eternity not to be thought of.

Of the many experiences and conditions of the soul returning to God
there is a condition all too easily entered—
that of an weakened , pulseless , seductive inactivity.
In this condition of inactivity but marvelous contentment the soul would love to stay.
This is spiritual sensuality, a spiritual back−water.
The true life and energy of the soul are lulled to idleness:
basking in happiness, the soul ceases to give and becomes merely receptive.

This condition is entered from many levels:
we can rise to it (for it is very high) from ordinary levels,
branch sideways to it from high contemplation;
drop to it from the greatest contacts with God.

This condition seems strangely familiar to the soul.
So much so that she questions herself.
Was it from this I started on my wanderings from God?
The true health of the soul
when in the blisses of God
is to be in a state of intense living or activity.
She is then in perfect connection with the Divine Energy.
She is then in a state of an immense and boundless radiantly joyful Life.

To find God is to have the scope of all our senses increased,
but it is easily to be understood that our power of suffering increases also,
because we are, as it were, flayed and laid bare to everything alike.
But it increases our joys to so great a degree
that for the first time in life , joy is greater than pain,
happiness is greater than sorrow,
knowledge is greater than fear,
and Good suddenly becomes to us so much greater than Evil that Evil becomes negligible.

This increase, this wonderful addition to our former condition, might be partly
conveyed by comparison to a man who from birth
has never been able to appreciate music: for him it has been meaningless,
a noise without suggestion,
without delight,
without wings,
and suddenly by no powers of his own
the immense charms and pleasures and capacities of it are laid open to him!
These increases of every sense and faculty God will give to His lovers,
so that without effort
and by what has now become to us our own nature …
we are continually able to enter the Sublime.

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