Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Despite our efforts

"there is always something clinging to the soul,
through the influence of the body
and of the baseness of our nature,
which we should prefer not to be there.

"I will explain myself further.
We are meditating on the nature of the world,
and on the way in which everything will come to an end,
so that we may learn to despise it,
when, almost without noticing it,
we find ourselves ruminating
on things in the world that we love.

"We try to banish these thoughts,
but we cannot help being slightly distracted
by thinking of things that have happened,
or will happen,
of things we have done
and of things we are going to do.

"Then we begin to think
of how we can get rid of these thoughts;
and that sometimes
plunges us once again into the same danger.

"It is not that we ought to omit such meditations;
but we need to retain our misgivings about them
and not to grow careless.

"In contemplation
the Lord Himself relieves us of this care,
for He will not trust us to look after ourselves.
So dearly does He love our souls
that He prevents them
from rushing into things
which may do them harm
just at this time when He is anxious to help them.

"So He calls them to His side at once,
and in a single moment
reveals more truths to them
and gives them a clearer insight
into the nature of everything
than they could otherwise gain in many years.

"For our sight is poor
and the dust which we meet on the road blinds us;
but in contemplation
the Lord brings us
to the end of the day’s journey
without our understanding how."

From The Way of Perfection, Chapter 19
by St. Teresa of Avila