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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Golden Fountain, part I



The Soul's Love for God

Being some Thoughts and Confessions of One of His Lovers


Lilian Staveley

John M. Watkins
21 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road, W.C.2

How many of us inwardly feel a secret longing to find God; and this usually accompanied by the perception that we are confronted by an impenetrable barrier—we cannot find Him—we can neither go through this barrier nor climb over it! We have faith. We are able to admit that He exists, for we cannot help but perceive a Will dominating the laws of the Universe; but something deep within us that we cannot put a name to, something subtle, secret, and strange, cries aloud, "But I need more than this, it is not enough; I need to personally find and know Him. Why does He not permit me to do so?"

We might easily answer ourselves by remembering that if, in everyday life, we greatly desire to see a friend, our best way of doing so is by going in the direction in which he is to be found: we should consider this as obvious. Then let us apply this, which we say is so obvious, to God. We waste too much time looking for Him in impossible directions and by impossible means. He is not to be found by merely studying lengthy arguments, brilliant explanations of theological statements, or controversies upon the meanings of obscure dogmas. He is not even to be found through organising charity concerts and social reforms however useful. We shall find Him through a self stripped bare of all other interests and pretensions—stripped bare of everything but a humble and passionately seeking heart.

He says to the soul, "Long for Me, and I will show Myself. Desire Me with a great desire, and I will be found."

* * *

Scattered all through history are innumerable persons, both great and insignificant, who looked for the Pearl of Great Price: and not too many would seem to have found it. Some sought by study, by intelligence; some by strict and pious attention to outward ceremonial service; some by a "religious" life; some even by penance and fasting. Those who found sought with the heart. Those who sought with careful piety, or with intelligence, found perhaps faith and submission, but no joy. The Pearl is that which cannot be described in words. It is the touch of God Himself upon the soul, the Joy of Love.

* * *

The entrance to the land of happiness and peace is through union of the will to Christ, by love. How can this sense of love be reached? By centring the wheel of the mind, with its daily spinning thoughts, upon the Man Jesus, and learning to inwardly see and hold on to the perfect simplicity and love of Jesus Christ. We can form the habit of taking Jesus as our heart and mind companion. We are all aware of the unceasing necessity of the mind to fill itself: we cannot have no thoughts until we have advanced in the spiritual life to a long distance. We may well see, in this, one of the provisions made by God for His own habitation in the mind of man—a habitation too often hideously usurped by every kind of unworthy substitute. Petty social interests and occupations, personal animosities, ambitions, worries, a revolving endless chaos of futilities, known and praised by too many of us as "a busy life"!—the mind being given opportunity only at long intervals, and usually at stated and set times, to dwell upon the thought of God, and the marvellous future of the human spirit. We are like travellers who, about to start out upon a great journey, pack their portmanteaus with everything that will be perfectly useless to them!

Now, it is possible to put out and obliterate this chaotic and useless state of mind, which would appear to be the "natural mind," and to open ourselves to receive the might and force and the joys and delights of Christ's Mind. These joys are the Heart of Christ speaking to the heart of His lover. They are incomparable: beyond all imagination until we know them; and we receive them and perceive them and enjoy them as we have largeness and capacity to contain them. For there is no end. He has ever more to give if we will be but large enough to receive.

We are too absorbed in the puerile interests and occupations of daily life. We make of these endless occupations a virtue. They are no virtue, but a deadly hindrance, for they keep us too busy to look for the one thing needful—the Kingdom of God. What is this world? It is a schoolhouse for lovers, and we are lovers in the making.

Is baptism of itself sufficient to get us into this Kingdom? No. Is the leading of an orderly social life sufficient to find it? No. Is the hope, even the earnest expectation, that we shall, by some means or other (we do not know by what!), be brought to it, sufficient to find it? No; not without the personal laying hold can we ever achieve it. Shall we find it in much outward study? No; and our aim is, not to be the student but the possessor; and the key to this possession is not in books, but, for us, in Jesus. He it is who must be invited and admitted into the heart with great tenderness—with all those virtues for which He stands—and made the centre point of thought. Out of constant thought grows tenderness; out of tenderness, affection; out of affection, love. Love once firmly fixed in the heart for Jesus, we get a perception (by contrast) of our own faults—very painful, and known as repentance. This should be succeeded at once by change of mind, i.e. we try to push out the old way of thinking and acting and take on a new way. We try, in fact, strenuously to please the Beloved, to be in harmony with Him; and now we have established a personal relationship between ourselves and Christ.

With the perception of our own failings comes the necessary humility and the drastic elimination of all prides. We remember, too, that although Jesus is so near to us, and our own Beloved, He is also the mighty Son of God.

He is also the mystical Christ, who, when we are ready, leads us to the Father: which is to say, that we are suddenly stricken with the consciousness of and the love for God; and here we enter that most wonderful of all earthly experiences—the Soul's great Garden of Happiness.

To be a student of theories, dogmas, laws, and writings of men is to be involved in endless controversy; and we may study books till we are sick, and embrace nothing but vapour for all our pains. To be a pupil and possessor we must first establish the personal relationship between ourselves and Jesus. To do this we must realise more fully than we now do that He still lives. The mind is inclined to dwell on Him mostly as having lived. When we have taught ourselves to realise that Jesus is as intensely alive to everything that we do as He was when He visibly walked with men—that Jesus is as easily aware of our inmost thoughts and endeavours now as He was of the secret thoughts of His disciples,—then we shall have brought Him much closer into our own life.

As the possessor of life is not the student of schools, but is the pupil of Christ, let us prepare ourselves to be pupils; and this again we do solely by the help of the Man-Jesus, who is in Christ, and Christ in Jesus. For the Christ-God is at first too strong a meat for us: we cannot with fullness understand that He is God, but He Himself will teach us this when we are ready to know it. To know this truth in its fullness is already to possess eternal life.

As no man is able to give us eternal life, so no man is able to give us the knowledge that Christ is God, as He willed to reveal Himself to man. If we have doubts which hurt, let us drop them out, changing the thought quickly to the sweetness, simplicity, and gentleness of the Man-Jesus. If we have questionings, let us cease to question, and say with the man of old, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."
We do well to avoid these questionings, pryings, and curiosities, for when we indulge in such things we are like that common servant who does not disdain to peep through the keyhole of his master's chamber! Let us put such spiritual vulgarities upon one side, and, opening our heart to lovely Love, take Him as our only guide. Love draws us very rapidly to His own abiding-place, for we are made of love, and because of love, and for love, and to Love we must return, for He awaits us with longing.

Source:  Project Gutenberg

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