Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger
crookedfingers

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a hindrance to union of the will with God

"24.5. I should like to offer a norm for discerning when this gratification
of the senses is beneficial and when not. Whenever spiritual persons, on
hearing music or other things, seeing agreeable objects, smelling sweet
fragrance, or feeling the delight of certain tastes and delicate touches,
immediately at the first movement direct their thought and the affection of
their will to God, receiving more satisfaction in the thought of God than
in the sensible object that caused it, and find no delight in the senses
save for this motive, it is a sign that they are profiting by the senses
and the sensory part is a help to the spirit. The senses can then be used
because the sensorial objects serve the purpose for which God created them:
that he be more known and loved through them.

24.5.(2). It should be understood here that those in whom these sensible
objects cause this pure spiritual effect do not on that account have an
appetite for them. They care for them hardly at all, even though these
objects, by reason of the delight in God they cause, do provide great
satisfaction when presented to them. Thus they are not solicitous about
these sensible goods; and when, as I say, these goods are offered to them,
the will immediately leaves them aside, passing on to God.

24.6. The reason the soul pays no attention to these sensible motives even
though they help it go to God is that the spirit, which has this readiness
to go to God in and through all things, is so provided for, nourished, and
satisfied by God's spirit that it doesn't miss or want anything else. And
if it wants something in order to turn to God, it immediately passes beyond
this object, forgetting and paying no attention to it.

24.6.(2). Yet anyone who does not feel this freedom of spirit in these
objects and sensible delights, but finds that the will pauses in and feeds
on them, suffers harm from them and ought to turn from their use. Though
according to reason one may want help from them in order to go to God,
nonetheless they assuredly prove more a hindrance than a help. They are a
harm rather than a benefit in the measure that the appetite delights in
them according to the senses; and the effect is always in conformity to the
delight. When individuals see that the appetite for these recreations
reigns within themselves, they should mortify it, because the stronger
their appetite the weaker and more imperfect they are.

24.7. Spiritual persons, then, in whatever sensory gratification comes
their way, whether by chance or through their own intention, ought to
benefit from it only for the sake of going to God. They do this by raising
their joy of soul to him so that this joy may be useful, profitable, and
perfect. They should be aware that every joy unaccompanied by this negation
and annihilation of all other joys -- even when these concern something
apparently very elevated -- is vain, without profit, and a hindrance to
union of the will with God." st John of the Cross 'Ascent of Mount Carmel' Book III. Chapter 24
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