March 30, 2006

Holy Longing

Now you are going to ask me how to destroy this stark awareness of your self. You might be thinking that if you destroy this sense of your self you will destroy everything else too and you will be right. But I will answer this fear by telling you that without a very special grace from God and without a particular aptitude on your part, you will never be able to get rid of this naked sense of self. For your part, this aptitude consists of a robust and profound sorrow of spirit... ..Everybody has a special reason for grief, but the person who has a deep experience of himself existing apart from God feels the most acute sorrow. Once we have aquired this sorrow it not only purifies our souls, but it takes away all the pain merited by sin and thus makes the soul capable of receiving that joy which takes from a man all sense of his own being. If this sorrow is genuine, it is full of holy longing. Otherwise nobody could bear it.

from The Cloud of Unknowing

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...full of holy longing, otherwise nobody could bear it. In sorrow we are purified, and, with loss of a sense of our own (small) being, we are capable of receiving great joy.

3 comments:

Rick said...

I was just reading from The Cloud this morining. This is so beautiful... yes, yes! no one could bare it. How beautiful!!! Just like you... :)

Anonymous said...

I used to feel this deep sorrow. But now, with Paxil, I am fine. You should all try it.

Jon said...

I love the Cloud. The only thing that surpasses it is the author's short follow-up work, The Book of Privy Counsel (or Privy Counseling) is even better IMHO.

Meredith, I was curious if your edition of The Cloud includes it?