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Gerald Vann

To learn to be fully human is hard, because it implies all the hardship of asceticism, the constant day by day struggle with what is weakly self-indulgent and disintegrating.  But it is harder, perhaps, to learn to be re-born from God instead of trying to make it for yourself, and so to be able to say, “I live now, not I but Christ lives in me.”  Yet that is the essential.  Christian virtue is a question not so much of doing as of being.  When you hear it said of someone “He’s a different man since he fell in love,” you have a clue to what must happen to the Christian.  As you are, so you will act; love affects one’s being, and therefore, in consequence, one’s behaviour – even though you do the same things you will do them entirely differently – and it is when you can say “I live now, not I” that you can go on to say “I can do all things,” and you can say the latter because you add, with the docility of the child, “in Him who strengthens me.” 

The Divine Pity: A study in the social implications of the Beatitudes
(London, 1945)

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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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