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

On Cleaving to God - Chapter Seven

How the heart should be gathered within itself

What is more, as is said in the book On the Spirit and the Soul (of St. Augustine), to ascend to God means to enter into oneself. He who entering within and penetrating his inmost nature, goes beyond himself, he is truly ascending to God. So let us withdraw our hearts from the distractions of this world, and recall them to the inner joys, so that we can establish them to some degree in the light of divine contemplation.

For this is the life and peace of our hearts - to be established by intent in the love of God, and to be sweetly remade by his comforting. But the reason why we are in so many ways hindered in the practical enjoyment of this matter and are unable to get into it is clearly because the human mind is so distracted by worries that it cannot bring its memory to turn within, is so clouded by its imaginations that it cannot return to itself with its understanding, and is so drawn away by its desires that it is quite unable to come back to itself by desire for inner sweetness and spiritual joy.

Thus it is so prostrate among the sense objects presented to it that it cannot enter into itself as the image of God. It is therefore right and necessary for the mind to raise itself above itself and everything created by the abandonment of everything, with humble reverence and great trust, and to say within itself, He whom I seek, love, thirst for and desire from everything and more than anything is not a thing of the senses or the imagination, but is above everything that can be experienced by the senses and the intellect. He cannot be experienced by any of the senses, but is completely desirable to my will. He is moreover not discernable, but is perfectly desirable to my inner affections. He cannot be comprehended, but can be loved in his fullness with a pure heart, for he is above all lovable and desirable, and of infinite goodness and perfection. And then a darkness comes over the mind and it is raised up into itself and penetrates even deeper. And the more inward-looking the desire for it, the more powerful this means of ascent to the mysterious contemplation of the holy Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity in Jesus Christ is, and the more interior the yearning, the more productive it is.

Certainly in matters spiritual the more inward they are the greater they are as spiritual experiences. For this reason, never give up, never stop until you have tasted some pledge, as I might say, or foretaste of the future full experience, and until you have obtained the satisfaction of however small a first fruits of the divine joy. And do not give up pursuing it and following its scent until you have seen the God of gods in Sion. Do not stop or turn back in your spiritual journey and your union and adherence to God within you until you have achieved what you have been seeking. Take as a pattern of this the example of those climbing an ordinary mountain.

If our mind is involved by its desires in the things which are going on below, it is immediately carried away by endless distractions and side tracks, and being to some extent divided against itself, is weakened and as it were scattered amongst the things which it seeks with its desires.

The result is ceaseless movement, travel without an arrival, and labor without rest. If on the other hand our heart and mind can withdraw itself by its desire and love from the infinite distraction below of the things beneath it, can learn to be with itself, abandoning these lower things and gathering itself within itself into the one unchanging and satisfying good, and can hold to it inseparably with its will, it is correspondingly more and more gathered together in one and strengthened, as it is raised up by knowledge and desire. In this way it will become accustomed to the true supreme good within itself until it will be made completely immovable and arrive securely at that true life which is the Lord God himself, so that it can now rest in him within and in peace without any changeability or vicissitude of time, perfectly gathered within itself in the secret divine abode in Christ Jesus who is the way for those who come to him, the truth and life.

Let Us Pray Today

In the gentle hush of our hearts, Dear God, we gather ourselves to seek You. You, who transcend senses and imaginations, who rise above everything experienced by the senses and the intellect. Envelope us in Your loving Presence, that we may turn our wandering minds inward, toward the infinite goodness and perfection of Your love.

Lord, the world distracts us and our minds are often clouded, pulled away by countless desires, preventing us from seeking the inner sweetness of Your spiritual joy. We yearn for Your divine contemplation, yet we often find ourselves lost amidst the sense objects that vie for our attention.

Guide us, O Lord, to rise above these distractions. Teach us the humble reverence necessary to abandon our worldly concerns and with a pure heart, trust in You completely. Illuminate the path for our minds to penetrate deeper into Your divine mystery. For what we seek, thirst for, and desire is You - not a thing of the senses, but a Being above all beings, infinitely lovable and desirable.

Darkness may come over our minds, yet in this darkness, we find an ascension, a rising towards You. The more inward our desire for You, the stronger our ascent to the holy Trinity in Unity, Unity in Trinity, found in Your son, Jesus Christ.

We will not cease, we will not rest until we have tasted even the smallest fruit of Your divine joy. We yearn for the God of gods, for union with You, our Lord. Help us to remain steadfast on this spiritual journey, not allowing worldly distractions to divide or weaken us.

Grant us, O Lord, the grace to gather our hearts and minds, to rise above transient concerns, and to find rest in the unchanging, satisfying goodness of Your love. May we become immovable in our faith, finding our true life in You, our Lord God.

In the refuge of our hearts, we find our secret divine abode. In this inner sanctuary, we meet You, Christ Jesus, who is the way for those who come to Him, the truth and life. Herein, we seek to rest, to dwell in peace, to be gathered within ourselves, all in the divine love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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