From The Inside of Life

Six hundred years ago Saint Francis, praying alone when he thought himself unobserved, found nothing to say but this: “My God and All!  What art Thou?  And what am I?”  And in spite of the modern knowledge we are so proud of, the human soul is saying that still.

As a matter of fact, those remarkable changes that strike us so much when we observe the modern scene are mostly on life’s surface.  There are very few changes at life’s heart.  That is why great literature, however ancient, always moves us and is always understood.  It has to do with the unchanging heart of life.  And it is in the heart, not on the surface, that the world of religion makes itself known.  “With Thee is the well of life, and in Thy light we see light.”  Does the theory of relativity really make any difference to that?  I do not think so.  We do not, after all, reconstruct our married life every time we move into a new and larger flat.  The old, sacred intimacies remain.  So too, the move-out of the human mind into a new and larger physical world, which is, I suppose, the great fact of our time, does not make any real difference to the soul’s relation to God; even though it may make some difference to the language in which we describe Him.  And the reason in both cases is surely the same.

The reason is that the deepest and most sacred relationships between human creatures – man and wife, parent and child, teacher and disciple, friend and friend – and the yet deeper relationship between the human creature and its keeper and creator, God: these are real facts, which go on, and will go on, quite independently of what we think of them, or the degree in which we understand or feel them.  If we treat these deep things with contempt, we merely cheapen our own lives.  We do not make any difference to truth.  If we leave them out, then we get a very incomplete picture of reality; the picture of a world which has an outside but no inside.  But we do not alter reality.  Clever as we are, we cannot manage that.  Just as, if we choose to shut all our windows, the room certainly gets stuffy; but we do not alter the quality of the fresh air outside.  So the reality of God, the living atmosphere of Spirit, maintains its unalterable pressure; whether we acknowledge it or not.

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