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"Build a cell inside your mind, from which you can never flee."

As the soul comes to know herself she also knows God better, for she sees how good he has been to her.  In the gentle mirror of God she sees her own dignity: that through no merit of hers but by his creation she is the image of God.  And in the mirror of God's goodness she sees as well her own unworthiness, the work of her own sin.  For just as you can better see the blemish on your face when you look at yourself in a mirror, so that soul who in true self-knowledge rises up with desire to look at herself in the gentle mirror of God with the eye of understanding sees all the more clearly her own defects because of the purity she sees in God.  (Dialogue, 13)

You ask for the will to know and love me, supreme Truth.  Here is the way, if you would come to perfect knowledge and enjoyment of me, eternal Life: Never leave the knowledge of yourself.  Then, put down as you are in the valley of humility you will know me in yourself, and from this knowledge you will draw all that you need.     (Dialogue, 4)

You cannot arrive at virtue except through knowing yourself and knowing me.  And this knowledge is more perfectly gained in time of temptation, because then you know that you are nothing, since you have no power to relieve yourself of the sufferings and troubles you would like to escape.  And you know me in your will, when I strengthen it in my goodness so that it does not consent to these thoughts.  You realise that my love has granted them, for the devil is weak and can do nothing of himself, but only as I permit him.   And I give him leave not through hatred but through love, not so that you may be conquered but that you may conquer and come to perfect knowledge of yourself and of me, and to prove your virtue – for virtue can only be tested by its opposite.  (Dialogue, 43)

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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.