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Saturday, November 27, 2010

How To Be Vigilant

     It is sad to see many disturb their soul when it desires to abide in this calm and repose of interior quietude, where it is filled with the peace and refreshment of God. Desirous of making it retrace its steps and revert from the goal in which it now reposes, they draw it out to more exterior, to considerations which are the means. This they do, not without strong repugnance and reluctance in the soul. The soul would want to remain in that unintelligible peace as in its right place. A man is deeply pained if, after intense effort to reach his place of rest, he is forced to return to his labor.

    Since these individuals do not understand the mystery of that new experience, they imagine themselves to be idle and doing nothing. Thus, in their struggle with considerations and discursive meditations they disturb their quietude. They become filled with aridity and trial because of efforts to get satisfaction by means no longer apt. We can say that the more intense their efforts, the less will be their gain. The more they persist at meditation, the worse their state becomes, because they drag the soul further away from spiritual peace. They resemble one who abandons the greater for the lesser, turns back on a road already covered, and wants to redo what is already done.

     The advice proper for these individuals is that they must learn to abide in the quietude with a loving attentiveness to God and pay no heed to the imagination and its work. At this stage, as we said, the faculties are at rest, and do not work actively but passively, by receiving what God is effecting in them. If at times they put the faculties to work, they should not make use of excessive efforts or studied reasonings, but do so with gentleness of love, moved more by God than by their own abilities.

St. John Of The Cross
(t 1591) is called the Mystical Doctor.


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