On Teaching of Truth
Persons who are taught by truth and not by symbols or deceitful words are really blessed and happy,for they learn truth in itself.Our own opinions and lack of knowledge often leads us astray,because we do not know the truth as it is.
What good will it do us to learn many things,the knowledge of which will not help us on judgement day,nor hurt us if we do not know them?It is foolish not to learn those things which are necessary for us and to waste our time on those that merely satisfy our curiosity and hurt us in the end.For if we do so,we have eyes but cannot see.
What need have we to be concerned with unessentials?He to whom the Eternal Word (Who is Jesus) speaks is freed of useless opinions.From the Word all things proceed and all creation cries out that He is God the same Who is the Beginning Who speaks to us.No one can understand the truth nor make right judgements without Him.Only those to whom all things are One,may be strong in heart and rest peacefully in God.
O my God,you are Truth;unite me to Yourself in perfect Love.I am so weary of all I read and see,for only in you is all that I will or can desire.Let all the learned be silent in Your presence and let all creatures be still and do You,Lord,alone speak to my soul.
The more we are united within ourselves and are joined to you in the simplicity of our hearts,the more effortlessly we understand the deep things,for the light of understanding comes to us from above.A pure,simple and stable heart is not bogged down by a multitude of tasks because it does all for the honor of God,and since it is not self seeking,it is not eager to follow its own will.
An unmortified spirit is your greatest hindrance.Good and devout people first plan inwardly the works they are to do outwardly;in this way they are not led to evil inclinations,but bend their wills to the rule of right reason,Who has a greater struggle than those who labor to overcome themselves?This should be our daily labor:self conquest,so as to make steady progress in the spiritual life.
There is no absolute perfection in this life,for there is always some imperfection attached to it;likewise there is no knowledge in this world that is not mixed with some ignorance.Therefore,a humble self-knowledge is a surer way to God than a search after deep learning.
It is not wrong to pursue learning,for since it comes from God it is good as far as it goes;but it is far better to have a clean conscience and lead a virtuous life.Because some prefer to be learned than to be virtuous,they make many mistakes and produce little to no fruit.
If only people would use as much energy in avoiding sin and cultivating virtues as they do in disputing questions,there would not be so much evil in the world,nor bad example given,nor would there be so much laxity in religion!
On the day of judgement we will not be asked what we have read,but what we have done;neither will we be asked how well we have spoken,but how devoutly we have lived.Where are all the Doctors and learned people who were famous in their day?They are now supplanted by others.In their lifetime they enjoyed fame,but now they scarcely remembered.
How quickly the glory of this world passes,with its deceptive pleasures!If only their life had been on a par with their learning,then all their study and reading would have been to a good end.Many there are who care little for a good life in the service of God,because they give themselves to useless pursuits.They prefer to be great in this world than to be humble,and therefore their illusions go up in smoke.
Those who abound in charity are truly great;and those are also great who are little in their own estimation and regard all worldly honors as nothing.How wise are those who look upon worldly pleasures as dung in order to gain Christ.They are truly learned who forsake their own will to follow the will of God.
~The Imitation of Christ~