Friday, August 03, 2007

Spiritual Classics:

[Originally posted to a now defunct Yahoo! Group]

From Letter I "Hesitations Concerning Baptism"

This was an interesting passage from Weil:

"The third domain is that of the things, which, without being under
the empire of the will, without being released to natural duties, are yet not enitrely independent of us. In this domain we experience the compulsion of God's pressure, on the condition that we deserve to experience it and exactly to the extent that we deserve to do so. God rewards the soul that thinks of him with attention and love, and he rewards it by exercising a compulsion
upon it strictly and mathematically proportionate to this attention and this love. We have to abandon ourselves to the pressure, to run to the exact spot whither it impels us and
not go one step farther, even in the direction of what is good. At the same time we must go on thinking about God with ever increasing love and attentiveness, in this way gaining the favor of pressure that possesses itself of an ever growing proportion of the whole soul."

I find this an interesting passage in relation to the contemplative tradition--that thinking about God is spiritual work, or can be. I'm so conditioned by the J.I. Packer quote that knowing about
God is not the same as knowing God, that I tend to think that the contemplative has to be prayer or meditation. I hear Weil saying that if we think about God, he becomes more real to us and the desire to act in his will becomes a compunction rather than a discipline that we try to manufacture.

I'm also interested in her claim that we should not go beyond the compunction, even in the direction of the good. In one sense I see a truth in this. In another, I worry about how easy it becomes to never take ourselves in hand, so to speak, and do what we don't feel like doing. Plus, isn't thinking about GoI'd a movement beyond where we are at? That being said, it suggests
to me that one thing that might help me in the Spring is thinking about God rather than trying to think of something to DO. The latter, if it is selected arbitrarily, will drain rather than train
or energize.

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