Friendship with God

Daily Reading for September 27 • Vincent de Paul, Religious, and Prophetic Witness, 1660, and Thomas Traherne, Priest, 1674

Knowing the greatness and sweetness of Love, I can never be poor in any estate. How sweet a thing is it as we go or ride, or eat or drink, or converse abroad to remember that one is the heir of the whole world, and the friend of God! That one has so great a friend as God is: and that one is exalted infinitely by all His Laws! That all the riches and honours in the world are ours in the Divine Image to be enjoyed! That a man is tenderly beloved of God and always walking in His Father’s Kingdom, under His wing, and as the apple of His eye! Verily that God hath done so much for one in His works and laws, and expressed so much love in His word and ways, being as He is Divine and infinite, it should make a man to walk above the stars, and seat him in the bosom of Men and Angels. It should always fill him with joy, and triumph, and lift him up above crowns and empires.

That a man is beloved of God, should melt him all into esteem and holy veneration. It should make him so courageous as an angel of God. It should make him delight in calamities and distresses for God’s sake. By giving me all things else, He hath made even afflictions themselves my treasures. The sharpest trials, are the finest furbishing. The most tempestuous weather is the best seed-time. A Christian is an oak flourishing in winter. God hath so magnified and glorified His servant, and exalted him so highly in His eternal bosom, that no other joy should be able to move us but that alone. All sorrows should appear but shadows, beside that of His absence, and all the greatness of riches and estates swallowed up in the light of His favour. Incredible Goodness lies in His Love. And it should be joy enough to us to contemplate and possess it. He is poor whom God hates : ‘tis a true proverb. And besides that, we should so love Him, that the joy alone of approving ourselves to Him, and making ourselves amiable and beautiful before Him should be a continual feast, were we starving. A beloved cannot feel hunger in the presence of his beloved. Where martyrdom is pleasant, what can be distasteful. To fight, to famish, to die for one’s beloved, especially with one’s beloved, and in his excellent company, unless it be for his trouble, is truly delightful. God is always present, and always seeth us. . . .

Our friendship with God ought to be so pure and so clear, that nakedly and simply for His Divine Love, for His glorious works, and blessed laws, the wisdom of His counsels, His ancient ways and attributes towards us, we should ever in public endeavour to honour Him. Always taking care to glorify Him before men: to speak of His goodness, to sanctify His name, to do those things that will stir up others, and occasion others to glorify Him. . . . So piecing this life with the life of Heaven, and seeing it as one with all Eternity, a part of it, a life within it: Strangely and stupendously blessed in its place and season.

From “The Fourth Century” in Centuries of Meditations by Thomas Traherne, edited by Bertram Dobell (London, 1908).

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