Naked understanding

The more you strip yourself of the products of the imagination and involvement in external, worldly things, and the objects of the senses, the more your soul will recover its strength and its inner senses so that it can appreciate the things which are above. So learn to withdraw from imaginations and the images of physical things, since what pleases God above everything is a mind bare of those sorts of forms and objects, for it is His delight to be with the sons of men, that is those who, at peace from such passions, seek Him with a pure and simple mind, empty themselves for Him, and cleave to Him. Otherwise, if your memory, imagination and thought are often involved with such things, you will be filled with the thought of new things or memories of old ones, or identify with other changing objects. As a result, the Holy Spirit withholds, itself from thoughts bereft of understanding. So the true lover of Jesus Christ should be so united through good will in his understanding with the Divine Will and goodness, and be so bare of all imaginations and passions that he does not even notice whether he is being mocked or loved, or something is being done to him. For a good will turns everything to good and is above everything. So if the will is good and is obedient and united to God with pure understanding, he is not hurt even if the flesh and the senses and the outer man is moved to evil, and is slow to good, or even if the inner man is slow to feel devotion, but should simply cleave to God with faith and good will in naked understanding. He is doing this if he is conscious of all his own imperfection and nothingness, recognizes his good to consist in his Creator alone, abandons himself with all his faculties… –St Albert the Great ‘On Cleaving to God’


Leave a reply