Blaise Paschal
(1623 – 1662)

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The God of Christians is not a God who is simply the author of mathematical truths, or of the order of the elements, as is the God of the pagans and of Epicureans.  Nor is he merely a God who providentially disposes the life and fortunes of people, to crown his worshippers with length of happy years…. The God of Christians is a God of love and consolation, a God who fills the souls and hearts of his own, a God who makes them feel their inward wretchedness and his infinite mercy, who unites himself to their inmost spirit, filling it with humility and joy, with confidence and love, rendering them incapable of any end other than himself….

The God of Christians is a God who makes the soul perceive that he is her only good, that her only rest is in him, her only joy in loving him; who makes her at the same time abhor the obstacles which withhold her from loving him with all her strength.  Her two hindrances, self-love and lust, are insupportable to her.  This God makes her perceive that the root of self-love destroys her, and that he alone can heal. 

The knowledge of God without that of our wretchedness creates pride.  The knowledge of our wretchedness without that of God creates despair.  The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the middle way, because in him we find both God and our wretchedness.  

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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. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.