(14th century)

left Quote

Now you put a question to me asking, "How shall I think about God, and what is God?" and to this I can only answer you, "I do not know."  With your question you have brought me into that same darkness and into that same cloud of unknowing into which I would wish you to come yourself. Through grace one can have great knowledge of all other creatures and their works, and even of the works of God; and one can think about all of them; but of God no one can think. I would therefore leave all those things of which I can think and choose for my love that thing of which I cannot think.

And why is this so?  God may be well loved, but cannot be thought of.  God may be reached and held close by means of love; but by means of thought never. And therefore, even though it is good occasionally to think of the kindness and the great worth of God in particular aspects, and even though it is a joy that is a proper part of contemplation, nevertheless in this work it should be cast down and covered with a cloud of forgetting.

You are to step above it with great courage and with determination, and with a devout and pleasant stirring of love; and you are to try to pierce that darkness which is above you. You are to strike that thick cloud of un-knowing with a sharp dart of longing love; and you are not to retreat no matter what comes to pass.

right quotation


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.