(1st century)

The heavens, as they revolve beneath God's government, do so in quiet submission to him.  The day and the night run the course he has laid down for them, and neither of them interferes with the other.  Sun, moon, and stars roll on in harmony at his command, none swerving from its appointed orbit.  Season by season the teeming earth, obedient to his will, causes a wealth of nourishment to spring forth for humans and beasts and every living thing upon its surface, making no demur and no attempt to alter even the least of his decrees.  Laws of the same kind sustain the fathomless deeps of the abyss and the untold regions of the underworld…. The impassable Ocean and all the worlds that lie beyond it are themselves ruled by the like ordinances of the Lord.  Spring, summer, autumn and winter succeed one another peaceably; the winds fulfil their punctual duties, each from its own quarter, and give no offence; the ever-flowing streams, created for our well-being and enjoyment, offer their breasts unfailingly for the life of humanity; and even the minutest of living creatures mingle together in peaceful accord.  Upon all of these the great Architect and Lord of the universe has enjoined peace and harmony, for the good of all alike, but pre-eminently for the good of ourselves who have sought refuge in his mercies through our Lord Jesus Christ…. 

Think of the men who serve our own commanders in the field, and the prompt and orderly obedience with which they go about their duties.  Not all of them are marshals, generals, colonels, captains, or the like; nevertheless, each at his own level executes the orders of the emperor and the military chiefs.  For the great cannot exist without the small, nor the small without the great….

(1207 – 1273)

Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying,
‘God, where are you? I want to help you, to fix your shoes
and comb your hair.  I want to wash your clothes
and pick the lice off.  I want to bring you milk
to kiss your little hands and feet when it's time
for you to go to bed. 
I want to sweep your room and keep it neat. 
God, my sheep and goats are yours. 
All I can say, remembering you,
is ayyyy and ahhhhhhhhh.'

Moses could stand it no longer.
~  'Who are you talking to?'
~  ‘The one who made us, and made the earth and made the sky.'
~  ‘Don't talk about shoes and socks with God!
And what's this with ‘your little hands and feet’?
Such blasphemous familiarity sounds like you're chatting with your uncles.
Only something that grows needs milk. 
Only someone with feet needs shoes.
Not God!
Use appropriate terms….
Body-and-birth language are right for us on this side of the river,
but not for addressing the origin, not for God.'

The shepherd repented and tore his clothes and sighed
and wandered out into the desert.

A sudden revelation came then to Moses.
God's voice:
“You have separated me from one of my own.
Did you come as a Prophet to unite, or to sever?
I have given each being a separate and unique way
of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.”


right quotation

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.