Saturday, July 12, 2014

Goodness again, from sermon 91

Bread is a great comfort to a man when he is hungry: but if he is thirsty, bread gives him no more comfort than a stone. It is the same with clothes when he is cold: but when he is too hot he has no comfort from clothes. It is the same with all creatures, and so it is true that all creatures have bitterness within them. 

It is true that all creatures bear in themselves some consolation, as the comb produces honey. But the honeycomb, meaning whatever goodness there may be collectively in all creatures, that is altogether in God... But the consolation of creatures is not complete, because it is not unmixed. 

But God's comfort is pure and unmixed: it is perfect and complete, and He is so eager to give it to you that He cannot wait to give you Himself first of all. God is so besotted in His love for us, it is just as if He had forgotten heaven and earth and all His blessedness and all His Godhead and had no business except with me alone, to give me everything for my comforting. And He gives it to me complete, He gives it to me perfectly, He gives it to me most purely, He gives it all the time, and He gives it to all creatures.

 I am generally accustomed to commenting in my posts; yet this particular excerpt is so succinct and exactly right that it barely needs my commentary.

 Nonetheless, having set myself the task, I will proceed.

 Coming back to it the day after I set it up, this quote has a richness in it that consists of its flavor, the way it tastes: take note that comfort and the lack of it is associated with taste, that is, in us, it is bitter. Yet consolation is sweet like honey; and I have to note both tastes to know the difference between them.

Bitterness is a strange thing, because it has good in it. How can this be? The fact that it is like this tells me how there is good in all things. When I come to sorrow and find the goodness in it; when I come to bitterness and, in the taste alone (not in some vindictive spirit I invent) discover goodness, then I begin to understand something more real. Goodness is in the beginning of things; individually and collectively, they may acquire other aspects, but everything begins in the good. This is a mystery I can't explain, as I have mentioned before; and yet even in the worst events, I encounter its truth.

Exactly what is God's comfort here? It is in Being; Being contains inherent comfort, but I can only know this within it as it manifests. In its absence, there is nothing more than guesswork.

Is there any difference between Being and God? There is not. At least I don't find it so; because in all of Being, God is always present, hallelujah.


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