Thursday of the First Week in Lent: God and Prayer – Evelyn Underhill



“In faith,” says Kierkegaard, “the self bases itself transparently on the power which created it.”  The whole life of prayer is indeed a committal of our separate lives into God’s hand, a perpetual replacing of the objective attitude by the personal and abandoned attitude; and though a certain tension, suffering and bewilderment are inevitable to our situation, yet there is with this a deep security.  The pawn does not know what will be required of it or what may be before it; but its relation with the Player is always direct and stable, and the object of the Player is always the good of the pawn.  “Our souls are God’s delight, not because of anything they do for Him, but because of what He does for them.  All He asks of them is to accept with joy His indulgence, His generosity, His fatherly love.  Consider all your devotion to God in this way, and do not worry any more about what you are or are not.  Be content to be the object of His mercy and look at nothing else . . .”

Christ seems to have been deeply aware of the fragility of human nature; the folly of heroics, the danger of demanding or attempting too much.  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.  The spirit may be willing; but do not forget your lowly origin, the flesh is weak.  Therefore, even in your abandonment, remain spiritually alert.  Watch steadily.  Gaze at God: keep your minds attuned to His reality and His call, and so elude the distractions that surround you.  Pray.  Seek His face.  Lift up to Him your heart and speak to Him as one friend to another.  Reach out towards Him in confident love.  “By two wings,” says Thomas a Kempis, “is man borne up from earthly things, which is to say with plainness and cleanness: plainness is in the intent and cleanness is in the love.  The good, true, and plain intent looketh toward God, but the clean love maketh assay and tasteth His sweetness.”  So doing, you are drawn more and more deeply into His life, and have less and less to fear from competing attractions, longings, and demands.

  • Abba

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