March 9th, 2011

Sacred Prose?

“You are freed from your own desires when God frees you. This is not effected by your own exertion, but by the grace of God. First he brings forth in you the desire to attain this goal. Then he opens to you the gate of repentance. Then he throws you into self-mortification, so that you can strive and, for a while, to pride yourself upon your efforts, thinking that you are advancing, or achieving something; but afterword you fall into despair and feel no joy.”   Then you know that your work is not pure, but tainted, you repent of the acts of devotion which you thought were your own, and perceive that they were done by God's grace and that you were guilty of polytheism in attributing them to your own exertion.   When this becomes manifest, a feeling of joy enters your heart...Collapse )

--Abu Said ibn Abi'l Kahyr  (967?-1049)