IF WE ATTEMPT to comprehend God, the God we think we understand is not God. … God's presence and activity are beyond our ability to comprehend. We can accept them with faith. We can be deeply thankful for them. But there is no way we can grasp them, describe them, and explain them. … The closer we are to God, the less we know about God.

Pseudo-Macarius, Homilies

WHEN THE END comes and we are taken for judgment above, we will then clearly understand in God the mysteries that puzzle us now. Not one of us will think to say, "Lord, if it had been some other way, all would be well."

Julian of Norwich, Showings

IT IS POSSIBLE to learn all about the mysteries of the Bible and never be affected by it in one's soul. Great knowledge is not enough.

John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress

IT IS a serious waste to let a day go by without allowing God to change us.

Richard Rolle, The Fire of Love

GOD has granted you the morning, but he does not promise the evening. Spend each day as if it were your last.

Lawrence Scupoli, The Spiritual Combat

OUR BODIES have one fault: The more we cater to them, the more things they want. … This is not a trifling matter. God will help us to gain mastery of our bodies.

Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection

GOD ALLOWS himself to be seen in ordinary things, even when they are darkened by shadows.

Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence

IF YOU put up with yourself, why not put up with everyone else?

Guigo I, Meditations

FIRE TESTS IRON; temptation tests an honest person. Sometimes we don't know what we can do until temptation shows us what we are.

Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

THE BEST TEACHERS are trouble and affliction. These alone give us understanding.

John Foxe, Christ Jesus Triumphant

IT IS NOT POSSIBLE to love an unseen God while mistreating God's visible creation.

John Woolman, Journal

SPRINKLE a seasoning of short prayers on your daily living. If you see something beautiful, thank God for it. If you are aware of someone's need, ask God to help. … You can toss up many such prayers all day long. They will help you in your meditation and in your secular employment as well. Make a habit of it.

Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life

I HAVE SEEN a fraction of [God's] glory, and it is awesome.

Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs

Related Elsewhere:

Past Reflections columns include:

Proverbs (Aug. 15, 2006)
Summer (June 27, 2006)
Philosophers' Potpourri (June 9, 2006)
Ponder These Things (May 17, 2006)
Holy Week (April 4, 2006)
Evening Prayer (March 10, 2006)
Morning Prayers (Feb. 6, 2006)
Hope (Jan. 16, 2006)
Christmas (Dec. 19, 2005)
Poetry (Dec. 12, 2005)
Grace that Surprises (Oct. 3, 2005)
Friendship (August 31, 2005)
Wisdom That Sticks (August 8, 2005)
His Body, His Blood (June 08, 2005)
On Baptism (April 25, 2005)
Discovering God (April 07, 2005)
Welcoming the Stranger (Feb. 22, 2005)
The Church and Mission (Feb. 02, 2005)
The Church (Jan. 11, 2005)
Word Made Flesh (Dec. 20, 2004)

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