EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: God And Commitment by Evelyn Underhill

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: God And Commitment by Evelyn Underhill

From The Golden Sequence

“Unto Him who is everywhere,” says Saint Augustine, “we come by love and not by navigation.”  Talk of the “Mystic Way” and its stages, or the “degrees of Love,” may easily deceive us unless the divine immanence, priority, and freedom be ever kept in mind.  We may think of the soul’s essential being as ever lying within the thought of God; and, equally, of His creative love as dwelling and acting within that soul’s ground.  These are contrasting glimpses of that total truth “of which no man may think.”  And the true life of the spirit requires such a gradual self-abandonment to that prevenient and all-penetrating presence that we become at last its unresisting agents; are formed and shaped under its gradual pressure, and can receive from moment-to-moment the needed impulsions and lights.

Here we find a place for that mysterious attraction or compulsion which is perhaps the most striking of the ordinary evidences of the Holy Spirit’s action on souls.  The persistent inexplicable pressure towards one course – the curious attraction to one special kind of devotion or of service – the blocking of the obvious path, and the opening of another undesired path – all these witness to the compelling and molding power of the living Spirit; taking, and if we respond, receiving the gift of our liberty and our will.

This indeed is what the spiritual life has always seemed to the greatest, humblest, and most enlightened souls; whatever symbols they may use in their efforts to communicate it.  It is God, vividly and intimately present in all things and in us, ever setting the demand of His achieved perfection over against the seething energies of His creative love, who works in and through that world of things on us.  And He demands our entire subjection to His creative action, our endurance of His secret chemistry; that He may work through and in us on the world.

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