24 November 2010

Nothing Should Cause You Joy Except God

Prepare yourself to live with the wicked, but with an uncorrupted mind: this is angelic. What glory is there in doing this with the saints? He who loves all will be saved without doubt. But he who is loved by all will not on that score be saved. Just as hatred for you keeps all men from life, so your hatred for them blocks your way. Therefore it is expedient for you to love all men; they too profit from loving you. Prosperity is a snare. The knife that cuts this snare is adversity. A prison for one's love of God is prosperity; the battering-ram for breaking down this prison is adversity. A single fever takes away all the things against which you are fighting, namely, the delights of the five senses. What remains, therefore, but to give thanks to God for the victories granted? (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:57). But you, on the contrary, are looking for something to which you may succumb, hating liberty.

What hope is there if you put yourself not recking into the snares and nets of the enemy, if you not only do not avoid them, but even freely embrace them and expose yourself to them? You flee from these to those; you think these a remedy, those a comfort; you desire them, and do not bear their absence.

Adversity teaches one to desire peace; but in your blindness you desire that which, as long as you love and desire it, is quite impossible, namely, to have peace. In joy receive the truth, as the Lord; bear with a lie peacefully, or else fix the charge. You are unaware that you are bound, and you do not resist your chains, like a dog.

Consider two experiences, filling and voiding. What makes you happier, what you experience by the latter or by the former? The former burdens you with useless things the latter unburdens. Look well at what each profits. To have experienced something, this is to have devoured it all. Nothing further remains to be hoped for. So it is in all sensual things. See, then, what happiness all such things, whether in actuality or in hope, have effected in you; and judge accordingly to future things. Reflect, I say, that pleasures belong to the past, and judge that future ones will too. What you hope for will all pass away. And what have you after them? Love and hope for such a thing as will not pass away.

Absolutely nothing in you or in another should cause you joy, except God. While the shapes and bodily forms, by whose clinging you are soiled, perish -- as do syllables at the appointed beats in God's song -- you are in great distress. For the rust which had accumulated is being, scraped off.

Adversity says to you: ‘You try to get me to go. This, should you strongly wish it, you most certainly cannot prevent; for I cannot stay when the Lord leads the song. I, you see, am a syllable’.

~ Meditations of Guigo, Prior of the Charterhouse ~