Evelyn Underhill Through Lent

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: The Incarnation by Evelyn Underhill

March 1, 2015

From Worship It is plain that such a religion as Christianity, which has for its object the worship of the Divine self-revealed in history, the Logos incarnate in time and space – which seeks and finds God self-given, in and through the littleness of the manger, and the shamefulness of the Cross – is closely bound up with a sacramental interpretation of life.  Christ, as Bérulle said so deeply and so boldly, is “Himself the major sacrament”; the visible sign of the nature of the Eternal God, and the medium of that Eternal God’s self-giving to men.  And the church, as His mystical body, the organ of His continued presence, lives with a sacramental life from which the reality and power of the specific Christian [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: God And Commitment by Evelyn Underhill

February 27, 2015

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 [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: God And Prayer by Evelyn Underhill

February 26, 2015

From Abba “In faith,” says Kierkegaard, “the self bases itself transparently on the power which created it.”  The whole life of prayer is indeed a committal of our separate lives into God’s hand, a perpetual replacing of the objective attitude by the personal and abandoned attitude; and though a certain tension, suffering, and bewilderment are inevitable to our situation, yet there is with this a deep security.  The pawn does not know what will be required of it or what may be before it; but its relation with the Player is always direct and stable, and the object of the Player is always the good of the pawn.  “Our souls are God’s delight, not because of anything they do for Him, but because of [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: God And Self-Offering by Evelyn Underhill

February 25, 2015

From The School of Charity “O support me,” says Newman, “as I proceed in this great, awful, happy change, with the grace of Thy unchangeableness.  My unchangeableness, here below, is perseverance in changing.”  The inner life consists in an enduring of this deep transforming for our own soul’s sake, but for a reason which lifts the devotional life above all pettiness – because this is part of the great creative action which is lifting up humanity to the supernatural order, turning the flour and water of our common nature into the living Bread of Eternal Life.  So, the first movement of our prayer must surely be a self-giving to this total purpose, whatever discipline and suffering it may involve for us. [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: God Makes, Loves, Keeps by Evelyn Underhill

February 23, 2015

From The School of Charity If the Reality of God were small enough to be grasped, it would not be great enough to be adored; and so our holiest privilege would go. “I count not myself to have grasped; but as one that has been grasped, I press on,” says Saint Paul.  But if all real knowledge here is a humbly delighted knowledge of our own ignorance – if, as the dying artist said, “The word we shall use most when we get to Heaven will be ‘Oh!'” – still we can realize something of what it means, to consider our world from this point-of-view.  It means that everything we are given to deal with – including ourselves and our psychological material, however intractable – is the result of the creative [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: God And Self-Love by Evelyn Underhill

February 22, 2015

From The School of Charity For God, not man, is the first term of religion: and our first step in religion is the acknowledgement that He Is.  All else is the unfolding of those truths about His life and our life, which this fact of facts involves.  I believe in One God.  We begin there; not with our own needs, desires, feelings, or obligations.  Were all these abolished, His independent splendor would remain, as the truth which gives its meaning to the world.  So we begin by stating with humble delight our belief and trust in the most concrete, most rich of all realities – God.  Yet even the power to do this reflects back again to Him, and witnesses to His self-giving to the soul.  For Christianity is not a pious reverie, a [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: The Three Counsels Considered by Evelyn Underhill

February 21, 2015

From The Fruits of the Spirit First, think of Poverty.  Even outward Poverty, a hard and simple life, the dropping for love’s sake of the many things we feel we “must have” is a great help in the way of the Spirit.  Far more precious is that inward Poverty of which it is the sacrament; which frees us from possessions and possessiveness and does away with the clutch of “the I, the Me, and the Mine” upon our souls.  We can all strive for this internal grace, this attitude of soul, and it is a very important part of the life of prayer.  The Holy Spirit is called the Giver of Gifts and the Father of the Poor; but His cherishing action is only really felt by those who acknowledge their own deep poverty – [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: The Three Counsels by Evelyn Underhill

February 20, 2015

From The Fruits of the Spirit Each person’s discipline, of course, will be different because what God wants from each of us is different.  Some are called to an active and some to a passive life, some to very homely and some to hard and sacrificial careers, some to quiet suffering.  Only the broad lines will be alike.  But no discipline will be any use to us unless we keep in mind the reason why we are doing this – for the glory of God, and not just for the sake of our own self-improvement or other self-regarding purpose.  Our object is to be what God wants of us, not what we want of Him.  So all that we do must be grounded in worship.  First lift up our eyes to the hills, then turn to our own potato field and lightly fork [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: The Spiritual Life – Belief And Prayer by Evelyn Underhill

February 19, 2015

From The School of Charity The spiritual life is a stern choice.  It is not a consoling retreat from the difficulties of existence; but an invitation to enter fully into that difficult existence, and there apply the Charity of God and bear the cost.  Till we accept this truth, religion is full of puzzles for us, and its practices often unmeaning: for we do not know what it is all about.  So there are few things more bracing and enlightening than a deliberate resort to these superb statements about God, the world and the soul; testing by them our attitude to those realities, and the quality and vigor of our interior life with God.  For every one of them has a direct bearing on that interior life.  Our prayer and belief should fit like [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: Ash Wednesday — A Time For Self-Examination by Evelyn Underhill

February 18, 2015

From The School of Charity Everyone who is engaged on a great undertaking, depending on many factors for its success, knows how important it is to have a periodical stocktaking.  Whether we are responsible for a business, an institution, a voyage, or an exploration – even for the well-being of a household – it is sometimes essential to call a halt; examine our stores and our equipment, be sure that all necessaries are there and in good order, and that we understand the way in which they should be used.  It is no good to have tins without tin openers, bottles of which the contents have evaporated, labels written in an unknown language, or mysterious packages of which we do not know the use.  Now the living-out of the spiritual [...]