left Quote

Johann Tauler

The Holy Spirit accomplishes great things in us, even though we may know nothing about it.  Just as the soul mysteriously performs its vital operations in the body, unfelt and unrecognised, so the Holy Spirit works unperceived in the soul, in the centre of our being…. We must abandon everything, and even abandon our abandonment, and go out from ourselves utterly and completely.  Henceforth we must hold everything as nothing, and lose ourselves in our own pure nothingness.  Otherwise we shall certainly drive away the Holy Spirit….

The Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples with tremendous richness, abundance, and generosity, pouring out into their hearts. Imagine the Rhine in flood, with all the dams and barriers cleared away, how it would come rushing down in full stream, overflowing its banks as if to drown and submerge everything, filling all the valleys and meadows in its way! That is just how the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. And so the Spirit still does, unceasingly at every moment….

The prophet Jeremiah said: “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and have dug to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water” [11:12-13].  Now what goes into a cistern comes from outside, or runs in from above, as happens with rain or other waters, which become putrid and foul-smelling…. There are folk in whom nothing springs or wells up spontaneously from the depths.  Everything in them has come from external sources, and flows away as quickly as it came in.  But there is a source of water….

The more the depths of your soul are emptied of all that is yourself, the truer and more essential will be your union with God. This selflessness was never more truly and purely seen than in the soul of our Lord Jesus Christ. We might say of him, if this were possible for anyone, that he had no self, so perfect was his union with the Father.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.