Let a man press onward with all his might to God through every one of his life's happenings; let him make no great matter of what occurs to him, whether sweet or bitter. Let it all flow away behind you; meddle with it no more, for it has ceased to concern you; follow God with all your best reason.
Thus may one attend to every external duty without externalizing himself; thus does God remain present to his mind amid a multiplicity of affairs, while he remains safe from the effects of that multiplicity. That happy state comes only from refusing to fasten one's spirit upon anything whatsoever except God alone. Go not forward or backward or sideways; take no account of pleasure or profit, men's favor or their disfavor, but simply and solely consider God.
If you should unwittingly fail in this, and some motive that is not God should for a moment control you, rise up again very quickly with an act of your reason; turn the good ship into the right course by the rudder of holy discretion. If God's servitor begins his work with an upright intention, and so continues it, then no matter what feeling of multiplicity he may experience, it will not essentially hurt him; it will not be enough to mislead him.
Father John Tauler, O.P. "Attentive to the Divine Influence." from The Sermons and Conferences of John Tauler.
This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in January, 2014.
Johannes Tauler OP was a German Dominican, one of the greatest mystics and preachers of the Middle Ages. He was born at Strasburg about 1300; died at the same place, 16 June, 1361. The centre of Tauler's mysticism is the doctrine of the visio essentice Dei, the blessed contemplation or knowledge of the Divine nature. He takes this doctrine from Thomas Aquinas, but goes further than the latter in believing that the Divine knowledge is attainable in this world also by a perfect man, and should be sought by every means. The way to God is through love; God replies to its highest development by His presence. Tauler gives advice of the most varied character for attaining that height of religion in which the Divine enters into the human subject. Johannes Tauler, Sermons is published by Paulist Press.
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