Albert the Great: The true pattern of the soul is God, with whom it must be imprinted Thursday, May 26 2016 

Albertus_Magnus_Painting_by_Joos_van_GentNow the more the mind is concerned about thinking and dealing with what is merely lower and human, the more it is separated from the experience in the intimacy of devotion of what is higher and heavenly;

while the more fervently the memory, desire and intellect is withdrawn from what is below to what is above, the more perfect will be our prayer, and the purer our contemplation, since the two directions of our interest cannot both be perfect at the same time, being as different as light and darkness.

He who cleaves to God is indeed translated into the light, while he who clings to the world is in the dark.

So the supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone.

Now the image of God as found in the soul consists of these three faculties, namely reason, memory and will, and so long as they are not completely stamped with God, the soul is not yet deiform in accordance with the initial creation of the soul. For the true pattern of the soul is God, with whom it must be imprinted, like wax with a seal, and carry the mark of his impress.

But this can never be complete until the intellect is perfectly illuminated, according to its capacity, with the knowledge of God, who is perfect truth, until the will is perfectly focused on the love of the perfect good, and until the memory is fully absorbed in turning to and enjoying eternal happiness, and in gladly and contentedly resting in it.

And since the glory of the beatitude which is achieved in our heavenly homeland consists in the complete fulfilment of these three faculties, it follows that perfect initiation of them is perfection in this life.

Happy therefore is the person who by continual removal of fantasies and images, by turning within, and raising the mind to God, finally manages to dispense with the products of the imagination, and by so doing works within, nakedly and simply, and with a pure understanding and will, on the simplest of all objects, God.

So eliminate from your mind all fantasies, objects, images and shapes of all things other than God, so that, with just naked understanding, intent and will, your practice will be concerned with God himself within you.

Albert the Great (1193/1206–1280) [attributed]: On Cleaving to God, 3 & 4.

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Albert the Great: “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you” Thursday, Nov 19 2015 

Albertus_Magnus_Painting_by_Joos_van_GentThere, in the presence of Jesus Christ, with everything, in general and individually, excluded and wiped out, the mind alone turns in security confidently to the Lord its God with its desire.

In this way it pours itself forth into him in full sincerity with its whole heart and the yearning of its love, in the most inward part of all its faculties, and is plunged, enlarged, set on fire and dissolved into him.

Certainly, anyone who desires and aims to arrive at and remain in such a state must needs above all have eyes and senses closed and not be inwardly involved or worried about anything.

He should not be  concerned or occupied with anything, but should completely reject all such things as irrelevant, harmful and dangerous.

Then he should withdraw himself totally within himself and not pay any attention to any object entering the mind except Jesus Christ, the wounded one, alone.

And so he should turn his attention with care and determination through him into him – that is, through the man into God, through the wounds of his humanity into the inmost reality of his divinity.

Here he can commit himself and all that he has, individually and as a whole, promptly, securely and without discussion, to God’s unwearying providence, in accordance with the words of Peter, cast all your care upon him (1 Peter 5.7), who can do everything.

And again, In nothing be anxious (Philippians 4.6), or what is more, Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you (Psalm 55.22).

[…]  The bride too in the Song of Songs says, I have found him whom my soul loves, (Canticle 3.4) and again, All good things came to me along with her (Wisdom 7.11).

This, after all, is the hidden heavenly treasure, none other than the pearl of great price, which must be sought with resolution, esteeming it in humble faithfulness, eager diligence, and calm silence before all things, and preferring it even above physical comfort, or honour and renown.

For what good does it do a religious if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul? Or what is the benefit of his state of life, the holiness of his profession, the virtue of his habit and tonsure, or the outer circumstances of his way of life if he is without a life of spiritual humility and truth in which Christ abides through a faith created by love.

This is what Luke means by, the Kingdom of God (that is, Jesus Christ) is within you (Luke 17.21).

Albert the Great (1193/1206–1280) [attributed]: On Cleaving to God, 1 & 2.

Albert the Great: Plunged, enlarged, set on fire and dissolved into God Saturday, Feb 22 2014 

Albertus_Magnus_Painting_by_Joos_van_GentI have had the idea of writing something for myself on and about the state of complete and full abstraction from everything and of cleaving freely, confidently, nakedly and firmly to God alone, so as to describe it fully (in so far as it is possible in this abode of exile and pilgrimage), especially since the goal of Christian perfection is the love by which we cleave to God.

In fact everyone is obligated, to this loving cleaving to God as necessary for salvation, in the form of observing the commandments and conforming to the divine will, and the observation of the commandments excludes everything that is contrary to the nature and habit of love, including mortal sin.

Members of religious orders have committed themselves in addition to evangelical perfection, and to the things that constitute a voluntary and counselled perfection by means of which one may arrive more quickly to the supreme goal which is God.

The observation of these additional commitments excludes as well the things that hinder the working and fervour of love, and without which one can come to God, and these include the renunciation of all things, of both body and mind, exactly as one’s vow of profession entails.

Since indeed the Lord God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth, in other words, by knowledge and love, that is, understanding and desire, stripped of all images.

This is what is referred to in Matthew 6.6, ‘When you pray, enter into your inner chamber,’ that is, your inner heart, ‘and having closed the door,’ that is of your senses, and there with a pure heart and a clear conscience, and with faith unfeigned, ‘pray to your Father,’ in spirit and in truth, ‘in secret.’

This can be done best when a man is disengaged and removed from everything else, and completely recollected within himself. There, in the presence of Jesus Christ, with everything, in general and individually, excluded and wiped out, the mind alone turns in security confidently to the Lord its God with its desire.

In this way it pours itself forth into him in full sincerity with its whole heart and the yearning of its love, in the most inward part of all its faculties, and is plunged, enlarged, set on fire and dissolved into him.

Albert the Great (1193/1206–1280) [attributed]: On Cleaving to God, 1.

A Greek Writer of the Fourth Century: Filled through the Holy Spirit to the Complete Fullness of Christ Monday, Feb 10 2014 

Fathers_of_the_ChurchThose who have been found worthy to become children of God and also to be born again through the Holy Spirit, those who carry Christ within them, shining within them and renewing them – these people are guided by the Spirit in various ways and led forward by grace working invisibly in the inner peace of their hearts.

Sometimes they are, as it were, in mourning and lamentation for the whole human race.

They utter prayers for all mankind and fall back in tears and lamentation. They are on fire with spiritual love for all humanity.

Sometimes they burn, through the Spirit, with such love and exultation that they would embrace all mankind if they could, without discrimination, good and bad alike.

Sometimes they are cast down by humility, down below the least of men, as they consider themselves to be in the lowest, the most abject of conditions.

Sometimes the Spirit keeps them in a state of inextinguishable and unspeakable gladness.

Sometimes they are like some champion who puts on a full suit of royal armour and plunges into battle, combats his enemies fiercely and at length vanquishes them.

For in the same way the spiritual champion, wearing the heavenly armour of the Spirit, attacks his enemies and, winning the battle, treads them underfoot.

Sometimes their soul is in the deepest silence, stillness and peace, experiencing nothing but spiritual delight and ineffable power: the best of all possible states.

Sometimes their soul is in a state of understanding and boundless wisdom and attention to the inscrutable Spirit, taught by grace things that neither tongue nor lips can describe.

And sometimes their soul is in a state just like anyone else’s.  Thus grace is poured into them in different ways, and by different paths it leads the soul, renewing it according to God’s will.

It guides it by various paths until it is made whole, sinless and stainless before the heavenly Father.

Therefore let us pray to God, pray with great love and hope, that he may give us the heavenly grace of the Spirit.

Let us pray that the Spirit may guide us and lead us, following God’s will in every way, and may re-make us in stillness and in quiet.

Thanks to his guidance and spiritual strengthening, may we be found worthy to attain the perfection and fullness of Christ.

As St Paul says: that you may be filled to the complete fullness of Christ.

Anonymous Greek Writer (4th Century): Homily 18, 7-11 (PG 34, 639-642), from the Office of Readings for Friday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time @ Universalis.

John Mason Neale: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, Tuesday, Dec 17 2013 

John_Mason_NealeO come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. 

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times once gave the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
an ensign of thy people be;
before thee rulers silent fall;
all peoples on thy mercy call.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Anonymous Latin Author (12th Century[?]): translated from the Latin Veni, Veni, Emmanuel by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) in Mediaeval Hymns (1851).

A Monk of the Abbey of Bèze: Glorious Things are Said of Thee, City of God! Wednesday, Nov 7 2012 

Continued from here….

What do we have still in common with perishable things, we to whom so much is promised in Heaven?

What could we enjoy on earth in the company of sinners, we who are called to the court of the heavenly host?

What are the pleasures of the flesh to us who ought to bear the image of the celestial?

What do we have to do with the concupiscence of the eyes, we who long to gaze upon the spectacle which is pleasing to the angels?

With worldly ambition, we to whom is promised the possession of Heaven ?

Thus, while like all our fathers, we are guests and strangers, while our days pass by like a shadow over the earth and there is no respite, while the avenging angel, the blinding cloud, the wind of the tempest, and the enveloping fire pass over the earth, let us flee from the darkness of Egypt to the shadow of the wings of God, and stay there until iniquity has passed away, until the day breathes and the shadows bow low, in order to merit being placed in Abraham’s bosom.

There are the true riches, there are the treasures of wisdom, length and joy of life.

There is full force where nothing is weakness, where nothing courageous is lacking.

There is full wisdom where there is no ignorance, where no true understanding is lacking.

There is utmost felicity where there is no adversity, where no goodness is lacking.

There is full health because there is full charity, there is full beatitude because there is full vision of God.

Vision, I say, is in knowledge, knowledge is found in love, love is with praise, and praise finds security and ail this is without end.

Who will give us wings like the dove, and we shall fly across all the kingdoms of this world, and we shall penetrate the depths of the eastern sky?

Who then will conduct us to the city of the great King in order that what we now read in these pages and see only as in a glass, darkly, we may then look upon the face of God present before us, and so rejoice?

City of God! What glorious things have they not said of thee!

In thee is the home of those who are joyous, in thee is the light, and the life of all.

Thy foundation is a single stone, a living cornerstone, uniquely precious.

Thy gates will shine with splendid diamonds. They will be opened wide.

Thy walls will be of precious stones, thy towers gleaming with jewels.

Anonymous Monk of the Benedictine Abbey of Bèze (early 12th century?): Elevations on the Glories of Jerusalem (quoted in Jean Leclercq OSB, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God; A Study of Monastic Culture, ch 45).

A Monk of the Abbey of Bèze: There the Saints Feast and Leap with Joy in the Presence of God Thursday, Nov 1 2012 

Continued from here….

When shall we see the first-born of the dead, the joy of the Resurrection, the man of the right hand of God, He whom the Father has established?

He is the Son of God, chosen from among thousands.

Let us hear Him, run to Him, thirst for Him; may our eyes stream with tears of desire, until we be taken away from this valley of tears and rest in the bosom of Abraham.

But what is Abraham’s bosom?

What do they possess, what do they do, those who rest in Abraham’s bosom?

Who will understand by his intelligence, who will explain in words, who will experience through love what strength and beauty, glory, honor, delight and peace there are in Abraham’s bosom?

Abraham’s bosom is the Father’s repose.

There are revealed openly the power of the Father, the splendor of the Son, the sweetness of the Spirit.

There the Saints feast and leap with joy in the presence of God, there are luminous dwellings, there the souls of the Saints rest and take their fill of the abundance of Divine praise.

In them is found joy and gladness, thanksgiving and words of praise.

There is magnificent solemnity, opulent repose, inaccessible light, interminable peace.

There are the great and the humble, and the slave set free from his master.

There dwells Lazarus, who once sat covered by ulcers by the door of the rich man, now forever happy in the glory of the Father.

There is enjoyment for the choirs of angels and saints.

O how broad and pleasing is Abraham’s bosom! O how calm and secret! How free and clear!

O Israel, how good is Abraham’s bosom, not for those who glory in themselves but for those whose hearts are good, principally for those it embraces and makes anew.

Without your help, O God, eye has not seen what has been prepared in the bosom of Abraham for those who await you.

Man does not know this secret, which does not appear upon earth to those who live in pleasure.

This secret is one which the eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man.

It is what is promised to the faithful fighting for Christ, and what is given to the victorious who reign with Christ in glory.

Anonymous Monk of the Benedictine Abbey of Bèze (early 12th century?): Elevations on the Glories of Jerusalem (quoted in Jean Leclercq OSB, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God; A Study of Monastic Culture, ch 45).

A Monk of the Abbey of Bèze: He Is the Golden Altar of the Holy of Holies Monday, May 21 2012 

Continued from here….

Then will be the month of months, and the most glorious of sabbaths.

Then will the light of the moon be like to the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will shine with seven-fold brilliance, and every saint’s face will shine like the sun in the kingdom of his Father.

This city will have no need of the sun’s light; but God the all-Powerful will illumine it.

His torch is the Lamb: the Lamb of God, the Lamb without spot whom the Father sent into the world as a saving victim.

Living without sin, dying for sinners, the Lamb took away the sin of the world, loosed the pains of hell and liberated the prisoners from the lake without water, triumphant before them, and reinstating them in His kingdom by His side.

He is most beautiful in countenance, very desirable to see, He upon whom the Angels desire to gaze.

He is the King of peace, He whose countenance is desired by all the world.

He is the propitiator of sinners, the friend of the poor, the consoler of the afflicted, the guardian of the little ones.

He is the teacher of the childlike, the guide of pilgrims, the redeemer of those who have died, the courageous helper of warriors, the generous rewarder of victors.

He is the golden altar of the Holy of Holies, the place of rest of sons, the spectacle pleasing to the angels.

He is the sublime throne of the supreme Trinity, raised above all, He who is blessed of the ages.

He is the crown of the Saints, the light of all, the light of angels.

O what will we give Him in return for all He has given us?

When shall we be delivered from the body of this death?

When shall we be filled with the abundance of the house of God, seeing the light in His light?

When then will the Christ appear, our life, and shall we be with Him in glory?

When shall we see the Lord God in the lamb of the living, the kindly rewards, the man of peace, the dweller in repose, the consoler of the afflicted?

When shall we see the first-born of the dead, the joy of the Resurrection, the man of the right hand of God, He whom the Father has established?

He is the Son of God, chosen from among thousands.

Anonymous Monk of the Benedictine Abbey of Bèze (early 12th century?): Elevations on the Glories of Jerusalem (quoted in Jean Leclercq OSB, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God; A Study of Monastic Culture, ch 45).

A Monk of the Abbey of Bèze: All Words will be Hushed and Only Hearts will Speak Friday, May 18 2012 

The frequent recollection of the city of Jerusalem and of its King is to us a sweet consolation, a pleasing occasion for meditation and a necessary lightening of our heavy burden.

I shall say something briefly – and, I hope, usefully! – on the city of Jerusalem for its edification; and for the glory of the reign of its King I shall speak and I shall listen to what the Lord within me tells me of Himself and of His city.

May my words be as a drop of oil on the fire which God has enkindled in your hearts, so that your souls, burning with both the fire of charity and the oil of this exhortation, may rise up stronger, burn with greater fervor and mount ever higher.

May your soul leave this world, traverse the heavens themselves and pass beyond the stars until you reach God. Seeing Him in spirit and loving Him, may you breathe a gentle sigh and come to rest in Him…

[…] The city of Jerusalem is built upon the heights. Its builder is God. There is but one foundation of this city: it is God.

There is but one founder: it is He, Himself, the All High, who has established it.

One is the life of all those who live in it, one is the light of those who see, one is the peace of those who rest, one is the bread which quenches the hunger of all; one is the spring whence all may drink, happy without end.

And all that is God Himself, Who is all in all: honor, glory, strength, abundance, peace and all good things. One alone is sufficient unto all.

This firm and stable city remains forever. Through the Father, it shines with a dazzling light;

through the Son, splendor of the Father, it rejoices, loves;

through the Holy Spirit, the Love of the Father and the Son, subsisting, it changes; contemplating, it is enlightened; uniting, it rejoices. It is, it sees, it loves.

It is, because its strength is the power of the Father; it sees; because it shines with the wisdom of God; it loves, because its joy is in the goodness of God.

Blessed is this land which fears no adversity and which knows nothing but the joys of the full knowledge of God.

Now, each has his own garment; but in the eighth age, the armies of the blessed will bear a double palm.

All will know. All words will be hushed and only hearts will speak.

Bodies will be spiritual and invisible, bright as the sun, quick and pliant as could be desired, with strength to carry out any command.

Anonymous Monk of the Benedictine Abbey of Bèze (early 12th century?): Elevations on the Glories of Jerusalem (quoted in Jean Leclercq OSB, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God; A Study of Monastic Culture, ch 45).

Hippolytus of Rome: The Long Dark Night Has Been Swallowed Up and the Dreary Shadows of Death Have Vanished Sunday, Apr 8 2012 

Now the holy rays of the light of Christ shine forth, the pure stars of the pure Spirit rise, the heavenly treasures of glory and divinity lie open.

In this splendour the long dark night has been swallowed up and the dreary shadows of death have vanished.

For us who believe in him a glorious day has dawned, a long unending day, the mystical Passover symbolically celebrated by the Law and effectually accomplished by Christ, a wonderful Passover, a miracle of divine virtue, a work of divine power.

This is the true festival and the everlasting memorial, the day upon which freedom from suffering comes from suffering, immortality from death, life from the tomb, healing from a wound, Resurrection from the fall, and Ascension into heaven from the descent into hell.

To show that he had power over death Christ had exercised his royal authority to loose death’s bonds even during his lifetime, as for example when he gave the commands, Lazarus, come out and Arise, my child.

For the same reason he surrendered himself completely to death, so that in him that gluttonous beast with his insatiable appetite would die completely.

Since death’s  power comes from sin, it searched everywhere in his sinless body for its accustomed food, for sensuality, pride, disobedience or, in a word, for that ancient sin which was its original sustenance.

In him, however, it found nothing to feed on and so, being entirely closed in upon itself and destroyed for lack of nourishment, death became its own death.

Many of the just, proclaiming the Good News and prophe­sying, were awaiting him who was to become by his Resurrection the firstborn from the dead.

And so, to save all members of the human race, whether they lived before the Law, under the Law, or after his own coming, Christ dwelt three days beneath the earth.

After his Resurrection it was the women who were the first to see him, for as a woman brought the first sin into the world, so a woman first announced the news of life to the world.

Thus they heard the holy words, Women, rejoice; for sadness was to be swallowed up by the joy of the Resurrection.

When Christ had clothed himself completely in the humanity created in God’s image and transformed into the heavenly man the old man he had put on, the image united to himself ascended with him into heaven.

At the sign of the great mystery of human nature now ascending with God the angelic powers cried out with joy, commanding the hosts of heaven: Lift up your gates, you princes, be lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the king of glory shall enter.

Hippolytus of Rome (c.170-c.236) [attrib.]: Paschal Homily (SC 27:116-118, 184-190); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Easter Monday, Year 2.

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