Surprised By The Power Of The Spirit Downloads Torrent [NEW]
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Surprised by the Power of the Spirit downloads torrent
I contemplated her, sad, surprised, amazed by the power of love! This rich girl had followed this man, this peasant. She had herself become a peasant. She had lived her life without charms, without luxuries, without delicacies of any sort, she had bent herself to his simple habits. And she loved him still. She had become a rustic, in a bonnet and canvas skirt. She ate on an earthenware plate on a crude wooden table, sitting on a cane seat, a gruel of cabbage and potatoes with lard. She lay on a straw mattress by his side.
167. Education and upbringing, concern for others, a well-integrated view of life and spiritual growth: all these are essential for quality human relationships and for enabling society itself to react against injustices, aberrations and abuses of economic, technological, political and media power. Some liberal approaches ignore this factor of human weakness; they envisage a world that follows a determined order and is capable by itself of ensuring a bright future and providing solutions for every problem.
But if such persons were strong enough to livean even life, and not to seek to do more in seasonsof abundance than in times of barrenness,they would satisfy every one. As it is, they aretroublesome to those around them, to whom theycannot condescend, making it a favour to laythemselves out for the satisfaction of others: theypreserve an austere silence when it is unnecessary,and at other times talk incessantly of the things ofGod. A wife has scruples about pleasing her husband,entertaining him, walking with him, or seeking toamuse him, but has none about speaking uselessly fortwo hours with religious devotees. This is a horribleabuse. We ought to be diligent in the discharge[p 131] of all duties, whatever their nature may be; andeven if they do cause us inconvenience, we shallyet find great profit in doing this, not perhaps inthe way we imagine, but in hastening the crucifixionof self. It even seems as though our Lordshows that such sacrifice is pleasing to Him bythe grace which He sheds upon it. I knew a ladywho, when playing at cards with her husband inorder to please him, experienced such deep andintimate communion with God as she never felt inprayer, and it was the same with everything shedid at her husband's desire; but if she neglectedthese things for others which she thought better,she was conscious that she was not walking in thewill of God. This did not prevent her often committingfaults, because the attractions of meditationand the happiness of devotion, which arepreferred to these apparent losses of time, insensiblydraw the soul away, and lead it to changeits course, and this by most people is looked uponas sanctity. However, those who are to be taughtthe way of faith are not suffered long to remainin these errors, because, as God designs to lead[p 132] them on to better things, He makes them consciousof their deficiency. It often happens, too,that persons by means of this death to self, andacting contrary to their natural inclinations, feelthemselves more strongly drawn to their inward rest;for it is natural to man to desire most stronglywhat it is most difficult for him to obtain, and todesire most intensely those things which he mostearnestly resolves to avoid. This difficulty of beingable to enjoy only a partial rest increases the rest,and causes them even in activity to feel themselvesacted upon so powerfully that they seem to havetwo souls within them, the inner one being infinitelystronger than the outer. But if they leavetheir duties in order to give the time to devotion,they will find it an empty form, and all its joywill be lost. By devotion I do not mean compulsoryprayer, which is gone through as a dutythat must not be avoided; neither do I understandby activity the labours of their own choice, butthose which come within the range of positiveduty. If they have spare time at their disposal, byall means let them spend it in prayer; nor must[p 133] they lay upon themselves unnecessary burdens, andcall them obligations. When the taste for meditationis very great, the soul does not usually fallinto these last-named errors, but rather into theformer one, that of courting retirement. I knew aperson who spent more time in prayer when it waspainful to her than when she felt it a delight,struggling with the disinclination; but this is injuriousto the health, because of the violence whichit does to the senses and the understanding, whichbeing unable to concentrate themselves upon anyone object, and being deprived of the sweet communionwhich formerly held them in subjection toGod, endure such torment, that the subject of itwould rather suffer the greatest trial than theviolence which is necessary to enable it to fix itsthoughts on God. The person to whom I alludedsometimes passed two or three hours successivelyin this painful devotion, and she has assured methat the strangest austerities would have been delightfulto her in comparison with the time thusspent. But as a violence so strong as this in subjectsso weak is calculated to ruin both body and[p 134] mind, I think it is better not in any way to regulatethe time spent in prayer by our varyingemotions. This painful dryness of which I havespoken belongs only to the first degree of faith,and is often the effect of exhaustion; and yetthose who have passed through it imagine themselvesdead, and write and speak of it as the mostsorrowful part of the spiritual life. It is true theyhave not known the contrary experience, and oftenthey have not the courage to pass through this,for in this sorrow the soul is deserted by God,who withdraws from it His sensible helps, but it isnevertheless caused by the senses, because, beingaccustomed to see and to feel, and never havingexperienced a similar privation, they are in despair,which however is not of long duration, for theforces of the soul are not then in a state to bearfor long such a pressure; it will either go backto seek for spiritual food, or else it will giveall up. This is why the Lord does not fail toreturn: sometimes He does not even suffer theprayer to cease before He reappears; and ifHe does not return during the hour of prayer,[p 135] He comes in a more manifest way during theday.
You will remember I remarked before of thissoul, that as soon as God imparted to it the gift ofpassive faith, He gave it at the same time aninstinct to seek after Him as its centre; but in itsunfaithfulness it stifles by its repose this instinct toseek God, and would remain stationary, if God didnot revive this instinct by bringing it to the edgeof the mountain, whence it is compelled to precipitateitself. At first it is sensible that it has lostthat calmness which it expected to retain for ever.Its waters, formerly so tranquil, begin to be noisy.A tumult is seen in its waves; they run and dashover. But where do they run? Alas! as theyimagine, it is to their own destruction. If it werein their power to desire anything, they would wishto restrain themselves, and return to their formercalm. But this is impossible. The declivity isfound; they must be precipitated from slope toslope. It is no longer a question of abyss or ofloss. The water, that is the soul, always reappears,[p 141] and is never lost in this degree. It is embroiledand precipitated; one wave follows another, and theother takes it up and crashes it by its precipitation.Yet this water finds on the slope of the mountaincertain flat places where it takes a little relaxation.It delights in the clearness of its waters; and itsees that its falls, its course, this breaking of itswaves upon the rocks, have served to render itmore pure. It finds itself delivered from its noiseand storms, and thinks it has now found its resting-place;and it believes this the more readily becauseit cannot doubt that the state through which it hasjust passed has greatly purified it, for it sees thatits waters are clearer, and it no longer perceivesthe disagreeable odour which certain stagnant partshad given to it on the top of the mountain; it haseven acquired a certain insight into its own condition;it has seen by the troubled state of itspassions (the waves) that they were not lost, butonly asleep. As when it was descending the mountain,on its way to this level, it thought it waslosing its way, and had no hope of recovering itslost peace, so now that it no longer hears the dash[p 142] of its waves, that it finds itself flowing calmly andpleasantly along the sand, it forgets its formertrouble, and never imagines there will be a returnof it: it sees that it has acquired fresh purity, anddoes not fear that it will again become soiled; forhere it is not stagnant, but flows as gently andbrightly as possible. Ah, poor torrent! You thinkyou have found your resting-place, and are firmlyestablished in it! You begin to delight in yourwaters. The swans glide upon them, and rejoicein their beauty. But what is your surprise while,as you are flowing along so happily, you suddenlyencounter a steeper slope, longer and more dangerousthan the first! Then the torrent recommences itstumult. Formerly it was only a moderate noise;now it is insupportable. It descends with a crashand a roar greater than ever. It can hardly besaid to have a bed, for it falls from rock to rock,and dashes down without order or reason; it alarmsevery one by its noise; all fear to approach it. Ah,poor torrent! what will you do? You drag awayin your fury all that comes in your way; you feelnothing but the declivity down which you are[p 143] hurried, and you think you are lost. Nay, do notfear; you are not lost, but the time of your happinessis not yet come. There must be many moredisturbances and losses before then; you have butjust commenced your course. 350c69d7ab