(Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon)
(1648 - 1717)

  By giving instructions on how to love the Essential Love by rule and method, people have in a great measure estranged themselves from Him. O how unnecessary is it to teach an art of loving! The language of Love, though natural to the lover, is nonsense and barbarism to one who does not love. The best way to learn to love God is to love Him. The uneducated and the simple, because they proceed with more heart and with simplicity, often advance further in it. The Spirit of God needs none of our arrangements and methods; when it pleases Him, He turns shepherds into prophets: and, so far from excluding any from the Temple of Prayer, He throws wide the gates, that all may enter; while Wisdom cries aloud in the highways, "Whoever is simple let him turn in here" (Proverbs 9:4); and to the Fools she says, "Come eat my bread and drink the wine that I have mixed" (Proverbs 9:5). And does not Jesus Christ Himself thank His Father for having hidden the secrets of his kingdom from the wise and prudent and revealed them to little children? (Matthew 11:25)….

The self-righteous, relying on the many good works they imagine they have performed, seem to hold salvation in their own hands, and consider Heaven as the just reward for their merits.  In their bitter zeal they denounce sinners, claiming that the gates of mercy as barred against them and that they have no claim on Heaven. What need have such self-righteous people of a Saviour?  They are already burdened with the load of their own merits. Oh, how long they bear the flattering load, while sinners, divested of everything, fly rapidly on the wings of faith and love into their Saviour's arms, who freely bestows on them that which he has so freely promised!


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.