(1881 – 1944)

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It daily becomes more apparent that God's respect for the freedom of our affections, thoughts, and purposes is complete.  It is part of that respect for our freedom that he never forces upon us his own gifts.  He offers them, but unless we actively accept them, they remain ineffective as far as we are concerned.  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” – that is always the relation of God our Redeemer to our souls.  God has paid the whole price; he has suffered the atoning death; yet still he waits till we open the door of our hearts to let in his love which will call our love out.  He never breaks down that door.  He stands and knocks.  And this is true not only of his first demand for admission to the mansion of the soul; it is true also of every room within that mansion. There are many of us who have opened the front door to him, but have only let him into the corridors and staircases; all the rooms where we work or amuse ourselves are still closed against him.  There are still greater multitudes who have welcomed him to some rooms, and hope that he will not ask what goes on behind the doors of others.  But sooner or later he asks; and if we do not at once take him to see, he leaves the room where we were so comfortable with him, and stands knocking at the closed door.  And then we can never again have the joy of his presence in the first room until we open the door at which he is now knocking.  We can only have him with us in the room that we choose for him, if we really make him free of all the house.

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In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.