Saturday, February 26, 2011

recognize your own poverty


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The opening of the spiritual eyes is a glowing darkness and rich nothingness... It may be called: Purity of soul and spiritual rest, inward stillness and peace of conscience, refinement of thought and integrity of soul, a lively consciousness of grace and solitude of heart, the wakeful sleep of the spouse and the tasting of heavenly joys, the ardor of love and brightness of light, the entry into contemplation and reformation of feeling...

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A real pilgrim going to Jerusalem leaves his house  and land, wife and children; he divests himself of all that he possesses in order to travel light and without encumbrances.  Similarly, if you which to be a spiritual pilgrim, you must divest yourself of all that you possess; that is, both of good deeds and bad, and leave them all behind you.  Recognize your own poverty, so that you will not place any confidence in your own work;  instead, alway be desiring the grace of deeper love, and seeking the spiritual presence.  It you do this, you will be setting your heart wholly on reaching Jerusalem, and on nothing else.

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~ Walter Hilton (1340-1396)
Hilton wrote the masterpiece The Ladder (or Scale) of Perfection, first published in 1494, written in English but also known under its Latin title, Scala Perfectionis.

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