Give Me Pause

If I find my position, my consciousness, that of one from home, nay, that of one is some sort of prison; if I find that I can neither rule the world in which I live nor my own thoughts or desires; that I cannot quiet my passions, order my likings, determine my ends, will my growth, forget when I would, or hate where I would; that I am no king over myself; that I cannot supply my own needs, do not even always know which of my seeming needs are to be supplied, and which treated as impostors; if, in a a word, my own being is every way too much for me; if I can neither understand it, be satisfied with it, nor better it—may it not well give me pause—the pause that ends in prayer?

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons

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Flowing and Free

Her society did much to keep my heart open, and to prevent it from becoming selfishly absorbed in its cares for husband and children. For love which is only concentrating its force, that is, which is not at the same time widening its circle, is itself doomed, and for its objects ruinous, be those objects ever so sacred. God Himself could never be content that His children should love Him only; nor has He allowed the few to succeed who have tried after it: perhaps their divinest success has been their most mortifying failure. Indeed, for exclusive love sharp suffering is often sent as the needful cure, — needful to break the stony crust, which, in the name of love for one’s own, gathers about the divinely glowing core; a crust which, promising to cherish by keeping in the heat, would yet gradually thicken until all was crust; for truly, in things of the heart and spirit, as the warmth ceases to spread, the molten mass within ceases to glow, until at length, but for the divine care and discipline, there would be no love left for even spouse or child, only for self, — which is eternal death.

~George MacDonald, The Vicar’s Daughter

You, You Only Exist

You, you only, exist.

We pass away, till at last,

our passing is so immense

that you arise: beautiful moment,

in all your suddenness,

arising in love, or enchanted

in the contraction of work.

To you I belong, however time may

wear me away. From you to you

I go commanded. In between

the garland is hanging in chance; but if you

take it up and up and up: look:

all becomes festival!

by Rainer Maria Rilke

In tiefen Nachten grab ich dich, du Schatz

In deep nights I dig for you like treasure.

For all I have seen

that clutters the surface of my world

is poor and paltry substitute

for the beauty of you

that has not happened yet.

My hands are bloody from digging.

I lift them, hold them open in the wind,

so they can branch like a tree.

Reaching, these hands would pull you out of the sky

as if you had shattered there,

dashed yourself to pieces in some wild impatience.

What is this I feel falling now,

falling on this parched earth,

softly,

like a spring rain?

~ , From The Book of Hours II, 3

The Desire of Their Soul

“To what end do men gather riches, but to multiply more? Do they not like Pyrrhus, the King of Epire, add house to house and lands to lands; that they may get it all? It is storied of that prince, that having conceived a purpose to invade Italy, he sent for Cineas, a philosopher and the King’s friend: to whom he communicated his design, and desired his counsel. Cineas asked him to what purpose he invaded Italy? He said, to conquer it. And what will you do when you, have conquered it? Go into France, said the King, and conquer that. And what will you do when you have conquered France? Conquer Germany. And what then? said the philosopher. Conquer Spain. I perceive, said Cineas, you mean to conquer all the World. What will you do when you have conquered all? Why then said the King we will return, and enjoy ourselves at quiet in our own land. So you may now, said the philosopher, without all this ado. Yet could he not divert him till he was ruined by the Romans. Thus men get one hundred pound a year that they may get another; and having two covet eight, and there is no end of all their labour; because the desire of their Soul is insatiable. Like Alexander the Great they must have all: and when they have got it all, be quiet. And may they not do all this before they begin? Nay it would be well, if they could be quiet. But if after all, they shall be like the stars, that are seated on high, but have no rest, what gain they more, but labour for their trouble? It was wittily feigned that that young man sat down and cried for more worlds to conquer. So insatiable is man, that millions will not please him. They are no more than so many tennis-balls, in comparison of the Greatness and Highness of his Soul.”

Excerpt From

Centuries of Meditations

Thomas Traherne

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/centuries-of-meditations/id1113136323?mt=11

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