Sf-IoanCasianTo cling to God continually, and as you say inseparably to hold fast to meditation on Him, is impossible for a man while still in this weak flesh of ours.

But we ought to be aware on what we should have the purpose of our mind fixed, and to what goal we should ever recall the gaze of our soul.

And when the mind can secure this it may rejoice, and grieve and sigh when it is withdrawn from this, as often as it discovers itself to have fallen away from gazing on Him, it should admit that it has lapsed from the highest good….

And when our gaze has wandered ever so little from Him, let us turn the eyes of the soul back to Him, and recall our mental gaze as in a perfectly straight direction.

For everything depends on the inward frame of mind, and when the devil has been expelled from this, and sins no longer reign in it, it follows that the kingdom of God is founded in us.

Thus the Evangelist says “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, nor shall men say Lo here, or lo there: for verily I say unto you that the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21).

But nothing else can be “within you,” but knowledge or ignorance of truth, and delight either in vice or in virtue, through which we prepare a kingdom for the devil or for Christ in our heart.

And of this kingdom the Apostle describes the character, when he says “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom.14:17).

And so if the kingdom of God is within us, and the actual kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy, then the man who abides in these is most certainly in the kingdom of God.

[…] And in truth if lifting up our mental gaze on high we would consider that state in which the heavenly powers live on high, who are truly in the kingdom of God, what should we imagine it to be except perpetual and lasting joy?

For what is so specially peculiar and appropriate to true blessedness as constant calm and eternal joy?

[…]  “Behold,” says He, “I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former things shall not be remembered nor come into mind. But ye shall be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create” (Is. 65:17-18).

And again “joy and gladness shall be found therein: thanksgiving and the voice of praise, and there shall be month after month, and Sabbath after Sabbath” (Is. 51:3; 66:23).

And again: “they shall obtain joy and gladness; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Is. 35:10).

John Cassian (c. 360-435): Conferences 1,13.

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