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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

'The Scale of the Cloister', by Guigo II, Ninth prior of the Grande Chartreuse

"And so the soul sees that of herself she cannot attain to the sweetness of knowledge and experience for which she longs, and that the more high minded she is the more is God exalted beyond her reach.  The soul therefore humbles herself, and betakes herself to prayer, saying: O Lord.  Who art not seen save by the pure of heart, I have examined in reading and I have sought in meditation how I can obtain true purity of heart, so that by means of it I may know you at least a little.  I have sought your countenance, O Lord, I have sought your countenance.  Long have I pondered in my heart, and in my meditation the fire has burnt up, the fire of desire to know you better.

Thou break the bread of Scripture for me, and in this very breaking there is much knowledge.  But the more that I know you the more do I desire to know you, not any longer in the dry husk of the letter but in the discernment of experience.

I ask for this, trusting not in my own merits but in your mercy.  I acknowledge that I am unworthy, and a sinner; but even the little dogs do eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their lords.

Grant me, O Lord, a pledge of my future inheritance, just one little drop of heavenly dew wherewith to quench my thirst, for I burn with love."