EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: The Root Of The Interior Life by Evelyn Underhill

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: The Root Of The Interior Life by Evelyn Underhill

From The House of the Soul

It is true that God creates souls in a marvelous liberty and variety.  The ideals of the building-estate tell us nothing about the Kingdom of Heaven.  It is true also, that the furnishing of our rooms and cultivation of our garden is largely left to our personal industry and good taste.  Still, in a general way, we must fall in with the city’s plan; and consider, when we hang some new and startling curtains, how they will look from the street.  However intense the personal life of each soul may be, that personal life has got out of proportion, if it makes us forget our municipal obligations and advantages; for our true significance is more than personal, it is bound up with the fact of our status as members of a supernatural society.  So into all the affairs of the little house there should enter a certain sense of the city, and beyond this of the infinite world in which the city stands: some awe-struck memory of our double situation, at once so homely and so mysterious.  We must each maintain unimpaired our unique relation with God; yet without forgetting our intimate contact with the rest of the city, or the mesh of invisible life which binds all the inhabitants in one.

For it is on the unchanging Life of God, as on a rock, that the whole city is founded.  That august and cherishing Spirit is the atmosphere which bathes it, and fills each room of every little house – quickening, feeding, and sustaining.  He is the one Reality which makes us real; and, equally, the other houses too.  “If I am not in Thee,” said Saint Augustine, “then I am not at all.”  We are often urged to think of the spiritual life as a personal adventure, a ceaseless hustle forward; with all its meaning condensed in the “perfection” of the last stage.  But though progress, or rather growth, is truly in it, such growth, in so far as it is real, can only arise from, and be conditioned by, a far more fundamental relation – the growing soul’s abidingness in God.

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