Image by Naanouh Productions
Sanctity is your goal, and perfection in love is your ultimate end. Do not stop at the means of sanctification and worship them. Do not make the means an end, or the end a means.
Do not make the means of sanctification your goal and end, and do not let sanctity be your means to other ends. Prayer is there to sanctify you; do not sanctify prayer.
Fasting is there to strengthen you; do not deify fasting. Mortification is there to purify you, do not worship mortification. Your hymns are there to glorify God; do not glorify your hymns. Do not replace Christ with talking about Him, for then you would be worshiping your words, and do not replace the Truth with expressions that express it, for then these expressions of yours will become the truth. A word is never more important than the idea it expresses, and the idea is never more important than the truth it thinks. A safe is never more important than the treasure it holds, and a chalice is never more important than the wine. The tabernacle is never more important than the bread, and the monstrance is never more important than the host.
Christianity is neither a religion nor a temple; it is not a book or a place of worship. Christianity is the person of Jesus Christ himself. The mirror that reflects light is not the light. Distinguish between the light and the mirrors that reflect it.
Do not focus your attention on the mirror, but keep your heart in the light. Do not escape from yourselves to go to God, and do not go to God so you may escape from yourselves. God wants you to present yourselves to Him as you are so that He might elevate and sanctify you. Do not let the world push you toward God, rather let God pull you toward him. Do not stain through your writings the white pages that your holy fathers had written. The truth is always the same. In order for you to speak about God, you must be in the heart of God; you cannot speak about God if you are outside of Him. “And the Word was made flesh” is not a sound flying through the air. Carve in your mind every word you want to say, sculpt it in your spirit, and smooth it in your heart, bring it down from your mouth just as you set a stone in its proper place in the course. And do without the word that does not build. Do not speak except when your words are deeper and more eloquent than your silence.
Do not let your words about what is beyond the seas distract you from sailing. Go towards the essence and distinguish between the essential and the superficial in your life, between the fundamental and the marginal, between the core and the shell. In this world, you do not fill a basket with water, a pitcher with grapes or a jar with figs: Just as you use the things of this earth for your service, learn how to use the things of heaven with wisdom from God for your salvation, and for the glory of God.
Every land has its unique soil and climate. There are proper tools which you use to plow and plant it that particular land. There are plants particular to this land that blossom there and yield fruit. You can neither crush rocks with a garden fork, nor plow the earth with a sledgehammer, nor chop wood with a pickaxe. Neither do cedar and oak grow in the sand of the coast, nor do bananas and oranges grow in the rocks of the mountains. Do your work with the tools you have in hand, and where the Lord has planted you, blossom and bring forth fruits. If you do not take root you cannot ascend on high.
Accommodate your mind to existence; do not seek to accommodate existence to your mind; existence precedes you and will remain after you. The Spirit alone is enough for you and brings you into harmony with God. You will understand the depth of the mystery of existence through the light of the eternal Spirit that is in you. Do not seek to comprehend the truth through your senses, for then you will be limited by the limits of these senses.
Know that your senses exist so that you may love through them, and not so that you may love them. When you love your sight, you start worshiping the creatures you see and forget the Creator, who is beyond the limits of your eyes. When you love your hearing, you start loving the melodies and sounds of the world and forget to hear the voice of God in the silence that does not reach your ears. And when you love your nose, you start to give yourself over to the perfumes of the world and forget the flowers of the prairies that God has formed for man with his compassion. And when you love your taste, you become enslaved to food and drink, and forget nourishment. And when you love your sense of touch, you become enslaved to the outer and forget the inner. Transcend your senses and do not drown in them; reach through them to the truth as the ray of light reaches through crystal.
If you harden your senses they will thicken; the rays will bounce back from them like a mirror and they will reflect images of the world. Do not sink into your senses, for then their joy will start deceiving you. True joy is not the joy of the senses, true joy transcends your senses, and goes past them to the heart of the light where you would drown in the heart of God, see His light and melt in His love. Go beyond your senses and go past them, go beyond yourself, and then you will touch the edge of the light. Whenever you want to look to the outside, close your eyes and look to the inside, then start seeing the outside more clearly. Whenever you want to hear, cover your ears and listen to the inner voice; then you will start hearing better. Guide your senses to glorify God, and do not let your senses lead you to glorify His creatures. Love to the point of self-sacrifice: blood is the only ink with which love is written, and everything else is only ink on paper. In Christ, every man is a word in the mouth of God so that all humanity becomes a song of love; and glory be always to God.