François Fénelon

(1651 – 1715)

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They know you not, my God, who regard you as an all-powerful Being, separate from themselves, giving laws to all nature, and creator of everything that we see; they know you only in part!  They do not know that which is most marvellous and which concerns your rational creatures most closely! To know that you are the God of my heart, that you do there what pleases you: this it is that elevates and affects me!  When I am good, it is because you make me so; not only do you turn my heart as you please, but you give me a heart like your own!  It is yourself that you love in me; you are the life of my soul as my soul is the life of my body; you are more intimately present to me than I am to myself; this I, to which I am so attached and which I have so ardently loved, ought to be strange to me in comparison with you; you are the bestower of it; without you it never would have been; and so it is that you desire I should love you better than it. 

O incomprehensible power of my Creator! O rights of the Creator over the creature which the creature will never sufficiently comprehend! O prodigy of love which God alone could perform! God interposes himself as it were, between me and myself; he separates me from myself; he desires to be nearer to me by his pure love than I am to myself. He would have me look upon this "me" as a stranger; he would have me escape from its walls, sacrifice it whole to him, returning it absolutely and unconditionally to him from whom I received it. What I am ought certainly to be less precious to me than he by whom I am.


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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. 
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