The Call to Holiness
The Call to Holiness
On Cleaving to God - Chapter Eight

On Cleaving to God - Chapter Eight

Commit yourself to God in all circumstances

Please note:

It is helpful to note that while St. Albert wrote this text for professed religious, particularly Dominican friars, the work contains wisdom applicable to all Christians seeking holiness. References to religious vows point to the original audience, but the central themes of detachment from worldly things and contemplation of the divine are universal. All baptized followers of Christ, whether clergy, religious, or laity, are called to turn from sin and cling to God alone in prayer and devotion. St. Albert provides invaluable guidance for this journey toward sanctity.

I am now completely convinced that you will recognize 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 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.

Let Us Pray.

O Divine Creator, in the tranquility of our hearts, we approach You, seeking guidance and comfort, conscious of our frailties and the distractions of the world that often obscure our sight.

In Your infinite wisdom, You have reminded us to strip ourselves of all that is not of You, to release our minds from the entanglement of worldly affairs, past, present, and future. We bow in gratitude and obedience, finding joy and peace in the process of releasing all that we hold onto, that is not You.

May we, in our aspiration towards spiritual innocence and perfection, mirror Your divine image, untouched by the illusions of this world. In this moment of prayer, we cast aside our earthly burdens, surrendering all to You, our God, seeking only Your divine light, uncreated, radiant, and pure.

With humility, we strive to be untangled from the fleeting thoughts and temptations that seek to hinder our path. We desire, O Lord, to remain steadfast in You, resilient in the face of adversity, and serene in times of peace.

In moments of internal disturbance, may we not seek consolation in the world but instead find comfort in the intellect gifted to us by You. Let our will to connect with You be stronger than the natural inclinations of the body. May we remain firm, for it is in You we find solace.

We pray for a heart united with Yours, echoing Your divine will. May we not be occupied with the material world, but instead be filled with a desire for Your eternal presence. In every circumstance, may we accept Your divine providence with patience, peace, and silence, acknowledging Your sovereignty over all.

Lord, guide us to strip our minds of all but You, so we may be united with You, by Your divine will, and be conformed to You. In our quest for spiritual enlightenment, may we find no intermediary between us and You, for You alone are the goal of our spiritual journey.

Let us remember, O Lord, how gravely we sin against You when we put created things before You, the Creator. Convict us, correct us, and lead us back to the path of righteousness when we falter.

In humility and trust, we lay these petitions before You, Lord. May our hearts be ever drawn to You, and may we find joy and contentment in Your divine will. Amen.

The Call to Holiness
The Call to Holiness
The Universal Call to Holiness