13 December 2010

Temporal Things

Temporal goods say: ‘If God cures us of the malady of corruption, what will you do? Consider in what, when you actually use us, we make you better, or what you hope for from us in the future. You have tried us. What then? Do you wish to be changed into us, or to change us into you? What do we have in common? (cf. Saint Matthew 8:29). Why do you grieve at our going? We wished to perish at the Lord's good pleasure rather than to stay at your cupidity. No thanks give we to you for this love you bear us; rather we smile at you as at a fool. For whom above all should we obey, God or you? Say “you” if you dare. About the only role you have to play is, by devouring us, to turn us into bits of rottenness. This is your contribution, this is what you can do: to have by your offices your hunger for us hastily pass; for it is not in you to make it stay. This is your pursuit, this your happiness, that you lack not our vile selves to which you devotedly succumb, while the devil through them corrupts and debauches you, not without his own great delight and joy at your deception and ruin. O image of God, is it in this that you are like God? Is it thus that God makes? He is not subject to inducement, not to force’.

Again, temporal things say: ‘Is it we you use freely? Are you not drawn by us to will at all, or to nil? Do not I, cold, a passing and insensate thing, force you to wish warmth? So for the rest; see if you can not wish warmth when cold pinches. Therefore, you are our slave’.

If rottenness, loathsome and not to be named, when felt in the flesh, so delights and ravishes the soul, what will the greatest good do?

Experience excites affection by attraction or repulsion. Although your strength lie in temporal goods, and you are at peace, you are nevertheless exposed to harm from mice, lice, fleas and flies.

You desire peace for three years (cf. Saint Luke 13:7). Why not rather for years without end, and eternal? Your brother who has quit his reason offends you, and you are in a rage; mice do you ruin and you rage not, because they are without reason.

Towards him who does you an injury show yourself affable rather than aloof; to him whom you have injured, humble and ashamed.

~ Meditations of Guigo, Prior of the Charterhouse ~