“When you experience God directly, seeing and feeling him as he is, your understanding can no more be separated from God than God himself can be separated from his own being”

What is grace? Grace is something so high, so pure, and so spiritual that our physical senses can’t grasp it. It’s equally out of reach of our feelings. Our body and emotions can only perceive the signs of grace and from time to time our Lord withdraws these sweet emotions so that he can expand and purify our patience. This isn’t his only aim. He has other reasons, but I won’t go into them here. Now let’s get back to our subject.

God feeds your soul with a regular diet of the healthy emotions described above, and their goodness always deepens your spirit. You assume, then, that these feelings are his presence, but they’re not the same thing, although they do give you the strength to persevere and to live a loving life of service. Here’s how God works. When these comforting emotions, or signs of his grace, are absent, you learn patience. When they’re present, your spirit is nourished by joy, and grows. Together, these twin experiences teach you much. You learn to bow to every situation, happy to obey the demands of spiritual maturity and your union with God’s will. This is perfect love. You will eventually reach a point where you no longer care whether you experience the absence of these pleasant feelings or their presence. Always accepting God’s will, even when these graceful emotions are absent, you will be just as happy and just as joyful then as you would be if they were with you every moment of every day of your entire life.

During times of suffering, your love is made pure and perfect. You see that your God and your love are one, and in union with him, you know him directly. You stand naked in the absolute center of your spirit. Completely stripped of self, you’re clothing in nothing but God alone. Wearing his simplicity, you remain essentially naked, not wrapped up in any human emotions, no matter how good they may make you feel nor how holy they may be. Here on earth, even your most sublime experiences will be blind, but God can still be known for who he is, through purity of spirit, which is a long way from delusion and human error. …

When you experience God directly, seeing and feeling him as he is, your understanding can no more be separated from God than God himself can be separated from his own being. God’s essence and existence are one thing, just as the God-seeing, God-feeling soul is one with God because you cannot be separated from what you see and feel, and this union between you and God takes place in grace. …

Grace is rarely in a rush. It touches and changes us, but usually not as soon or as suddenly as we’d like, and our experience with these signs comes to us over time. Be happy if you experience one or two of these comforting marks of grace, and if you believe you have, test their authenticity against Scripture, ask your spiritual mentor for advice, and search your conscience. If they all confirm you in this work, then it’s best for you to stop your old intellectual meditations for a while. Quit your complex, imaginative musings on what you are and who God is and what you do and what God does. In the past, these fed your intellect well. They led you from a materialistic worldview to your present capacity for grace through contemplation, but now it’s time for you to set aside reason and imagination and become skilled in this spiritual occupation. Learn this simple awareness of your self and God. … So this is my advice to you. At some point, if you want your soul to grow, give up your painstaking intellectual meditations and open yourself up to finding out more about this contemplation we’ve discussed. Then you’ll get a taste of the deep feelings of the soul that come from loving God.

The Book of Privy Counsel

Advertisements
Quote | This entry was posted in Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “When you experience God directly, seeing and feeling him as he is, your understanding can no more be separated from God than God himself can be separated from his own being”

  1. Tom says:

    Yes, yes, yes. This! I’ll have to pick my copy of PC back up. It’s been a while. Too long.

    Like

Comments are closed.