The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Without Resistance in the Hands of God

The soul, that has reached the center of its Nothing, (that is, is absolutely and forever nothing relatively to self,)  remains without resistance in the hands of God, like clay in the hands of the potter. It has become perfectly pliable and impressible to the divine touch. Such a soul is peculiarly the subject of that ennobling form of prayer, which is called in certain writers the Receptive or Passive Prayer; that is to say, a prayer which is inspired rather than self-originated, which is given, rather than self-produced. Entirely divested of those habits of self-activity, which are so common, and which, in consequence of preceding or of perplexing the operations of the Holy Spirit, are so injurious, the soul remains quiet and childlike in the divine presence. Like the placid lake, that receives and reflects to the eye of the beholder the image of trees and flowers on its banks, returning image for image, without a stem disarranged, or a petal broken; so in all the hidden aspirations which it constantly sends forth, it passively and almost unconsciously receives and reflects the image of God; an image, which is not distorted by the mixture of self-originated acts, nor marred by the disturbing power of internal agitation. God loves to leave the impress of his blessed image on the self-annihilated soul. And the prayer which it breathes, as it is not self-moved, but moves as it is moved upon, may truly be regarded as the praying breath of the Holy Spirit, who always dwells in the soul that knows itself no more.

We may see, therefore, how strong must be the position of the Divine Mind, (the DEUS AGENS INTER, as it has been expressed in the Latin,) in the self-annihilated soul. A soul, in the language of Michael de Molinos, "desiring as if it did not desire; willing as if it did not will; understanding as if it did not understand; thinking as if it did not think, without inclining to any thing; [that is, independently of the will of God;] embracing equally contempts and honors, benefits and corrections. Oh, what a happy soul is this, which is thus dead and annihilated. It lives no longer in itself, because God lives in it. And now it may most truly be said of it, that it is a renewed Phœnix, because it is changed, spiritualized, and. transformed into the divine image."

And again, he says,

We seek ourselves every time we get out of our Nothing; and, therefore, we never get to quiet and perfect contemplation. Creep in, as far as ever thou canst, into the truth of thy Nothing; and then nothing will disquiet thee; nay, thou wilt be humble and ashamed, losing openly thy own reputation and esteem.
Oh, what a strong bulwark wilt thou find of that Nothing! Who can ever afflict thee, if thou dost once retire into that fortress! Because the soul, which is despised by itself, and in its own knowledge is nothing, is not capable of receiving grievance or injury from any body. The soul, which keeps within its Nothingness, is internally silent, lives resigned in any torment whatsoever, by thinking it less than it doth deserve; is free from abundance of imperfections, and becomes commander of great virtues. While the soul keeps still and quiet in its Nothingness,  THE LORD DRAWS HIS OWN  IMAGE AND LIKENESS  IN  IT, WITHOUT ANY THING TO HINDER IT.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 12.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Those who might be interested in further exploration of the teachings of Miguel de Molinos will find information and an online copy of the Spiritual Guide at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library here: Miguel de Molinos.

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