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 Evelyn Underhill Quotes
34 Famous Quotes by Evelyn Underhill
12/6/1875 - 6/15/1941
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About Evelyn Underhill

Feast of Philip & James, Apostles If we do not at least try to manifest something of Creative Charity in our dealings with life, whether by action, thought, or prayer, and do it at our own cost -- if we roll up the talent of love in the nice white napkin of piety and put it safely out of the way, sorry that the world is so hungry and thirsty, so sick and so fettered, and leave it at that: then, even that little talent may be taken from us. We may discover at the crucial moment that we are spiritually bankrupt.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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All things are perceived in the light of charity, and hence under the aspect of beauty: for beauty is simply Reality seen with the eyes of love.

Charity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Feast of James the Apostle The spiritual life is a stern choice. It is not a consoling retreat from the difficulties of existence, but an invitation to enter fully into that difficult existence, and there apply the Charity of God, and bear the cost.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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As the genuine religious impulse becomes dominant, adoration more and more takes charge. "I come to seek God because I need Him", may be an adequate formula for prayer. "I come to adore His splendour, and fling myself and all that I have at His feet", is the only possible formula for worship.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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As to deliberate mortifications -- I take it you do feel satisfied that you accept fully those God sends. That being so, you might perhaps do one or two little things, as acts of love, and also as discipline. I suggest by preference the mortification of the tongue -- as being very tiresome and quite harmless to the health. Careful guard on all amusing criticisms of others, on all complaints however casual or trivial.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Feast of Philip & James, Apostles I come in the little things, Saith the Lord: Not borne on morning wings Of majesty, but I have set My Feet Amidst the delicate and bladed wheat That springs triumphant in the furrowed sod. There do I dwell, in weakness and in power; Not broken or divided, saith our God! In your strait garden plot I come to flowers About your porch My Vine, Meek, fruitful, doth entwine; Waits, at the threshold, Love's appointed hour. I come in the little things, Saith the Lord: Yea! on the glancing wings Of eager birds, the softly pattering feet Of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet Your hear and wayward heart. In brown bright eyes That peep from out the brake, I stand confest. On every nest Where feathery Patience is content to brood And leaves her pleasure for the high emprize Of motherhood -- There doth My Godhead rest. I come in the little things, Saith the Lord: My starry wings I do forsake, Love's highway of humility to take: Meekly I fit my stature to your need. In beggar's part About your gates I shall not cease to plead -- As man, to speak with man -- Till by such art I shall achieve My Immemorial Plan, Pass the low lintel of the human heart.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Feast of Evelyn Underhill, Mystical Writer, 1941 Anyone can lead a "prayer-life" -- that is, the sort of reasonable devotional life to which each is called by God. This only involves making a suitable rule and making up your mind to keep it however boring this may be.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Commemoration of Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, Apostle of the Franks, 533 Commemoration of Thérèse of Lisieux, Carmelite Nun, Spiritual Writer, 1897 Most of our conflicts and difficulties come from trying to deal with the spiritual and practical aspects of our life separately instead of realizing them as parts of one whole. If our practical life is centered on our own interests, cluttered up by possessions, distracted by ambitions, passions, wants and worries, beset by a sense of our own rights and importance, or anxieties for our own future, or longings for our own success, we need not expect that our spiritual life will be a contrast to all this. The soul's house is not built on such a convenient plan; there are few soundproof partitions in it. Only when the conviction -- not merely the idea -- that the demand of the Spirit, however inconvenient, rules the whole of it, will those objectionable noises die down which have a way of penetrating into the nicely furnished little oratory and drowning all the quieter voices by their din.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Commemoration of Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking, 675 This, of course, is what religion is about: this adherence to God, this confident dependence on that which is unchanging. This is the more abundant life which, in its own particular language and own particular way, it calls us to live. Because it is our part in the one life in the whole universe of spirits, our share in the great drive towards Reality, the tendency of all life to seek God Who made it for Himself and now incites and guides it, we are already adapted to it. Just as a fish is adapted to life in the sea. This view of our situation fills us with a certain awed and humble gladness. It delivers us from all niggling fuss about ourselves, prevents us from feeling self-important about our own little spiritual adventures; and yet makes them worth while as part of one great spiritual adventure.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Those who complain that they make no progress in the life of prayer because they "cannot meditate" should examine, not their capacity for meditation, but their capacity for suffering and love. For there is a hard and costly element, a deep seriousness, a crucial choice, in all genuine religion.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Feast of Evelyn Underhill, Mystical Writer, 1941 Those who complain that they make no progress in the life of prayer because they "cannot meditate" should examine, not their capacity for meditation, but their capacity for suffering and love. For there is a hard and costly element, a deep seriousness, a crucial choice, in all genuine religion.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373 Faith is not a refuge from reality. It is a demand that we face reality, with all its difficulties, opportunities, and implications. The true subject matter of religion is not our own little souls, but the Eternal God and His whole mysterious purpose, and our solemn responsibility to Him.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660 Words are merely carriers of the secret, supernatural communications, the light and call of God. That is why spiritual books bear such different meanings for different types and qualities of soul, why each time we read them they give us something fresh, as we can bear it.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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There is no need for peculiar conditions in order to grow in the spiritual life, for the pressure of God's Spirit is present everywhere and at all times. Our environment itself -- our home and our job -- is the medium through which we experience His moulding action and His besetting love. It is not Christian to try to get out of our frame, or to separate our outward life from our life of prayer, since both are the creation of one Charity. The third-rate little town in the hills, with its limited social contacts and monotonous manual work, reproves us when we begin to fuss about our opportunities and our score. And this quality of quietness, ordinariness, simplicity, with which the saving action of God enters history, endures from the beginning to the end.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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The purifying worth of prayer consists in the increasing contrast which it sets up between the holy God and the creature; subordinating that creature's fugitive activities and desires to the standard set by this solemn apprehension of Reality.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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This wide and generous spirit of love, not the religious egotist's longing to get away from the world to God, is the fruit of true self-oblation; for a soul totally possessed by God is a soul totally possessed by Charity. By the path of self-offering, the Church and the soul have come up to the frontiers of the Holy. There we are required, not to cast the world from us, but to do our best for all others as well as ourselves.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Feast of Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605 You can also offer your prayers, obedience, and endurance of dryness to Our Lord, for the good of other souls, and then you have practiced intercession. Never mind if it all seems for the time very second-hand. The less you get out of it, the nearer it approaches to being something worth offering; and the humiliation of not being able to feel as devout as we want to be, is excellent for most of us. Use vocal prayer... very slowly, trying to realize the meaning with which it is charged and remember that... you are only a unit in the Chorus of the Church, so that the others will make good the shortcomings you cannot help.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Feast of Evelyn Underhill, Mystical Writer, 1941 Christianity is a religion which concerns us as we are here and now, creatures of body and soul. We do not "follow the footsteps of his most holy life" by the exercise of a trained religious imagination, but by treading the firm, rough earth, up hill and down dale.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Feast of Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550 Christian history looks glorious in retrospect; but it is made up of constant hard choices and unattractive tasks, accepted under the pressure of the Will of God.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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The offertory is the first essential action of the Liturgy, because in it we make the costly and solemn oblation, under tokens, of our very selves and all our substance; that they may be transformed, quickened, and devoted to the interests of God.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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"Books," said St. Augustine after his conversion, "could not teach me charity." We still keep on thinking they can. We do not realize ... the utter distinctness of God and the things of God. Psychology of religion can not teach us prayer, and ethics cannot teach us love. Only Christ can do that, and He teaches by the direct method, in and among the circumstances of life. He does not mind about our being comfortable. He wants us to be strong, able to tackle life and be Christians, be apostles in life, so we must be trained by the ups and downs, the rough-and-tumble of life. Team games are compulsory in the school of Divine Love -- there is no getting into a corner with a nice, spiritual book.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Commemoration of Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon, Founder of the Little Gidding Community, 1637 Many a congregation when it assembles in church must look to the angels like a muddy, puddly shore at low tide; littered with every kind of rubbish and odds and ends --a distressing sort of spectacle. And then the tide of worship comes in, and it's all gone: the dead sea-urchins and jelly-fish, the paper and the empty cans and the nameless bits of rubbish. The cleansing sea flows over the whole lot. So we are released from a narrow, selfish outlook on the universe by a common act of worship. Our little human affairs are reduced to their proper proportion when seen over against the spaceless Majesty and Beauty of God.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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Commemoration of Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China, 1970 Two movements merge in the real act of communion. First, the creature's profound sense of need, of incompleteness: its steadfast desire... Next, a humble and loving acceptance of God's answer to that prayer of desire, however startling, disappointing, and unappetizing it may be.

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If the Christian penitent dares to ask that his many departures from the Christian norm, his impatience, gloom, self-occupation, unloving prejudices, reckless tongue, feverish desires, with all the damage they have caused to Christ's Body, be set aside, because -- because, in spite of all, he longs for God and Eternal Life: then he must set aside and forgive all that the impatience, selfishness, bitter and foolish speech, and sudden yieldings to base impulse by others have caused him to endure. Hardness is the one impossible thing. Harshness to others in those who ask and need the mercy of God sets up a conflict at the very heart of personality and shuts the door upon grace.

Christianity Quotes, by Evelyn Underhill

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When we look out towards this love that moves the stars and stirs in the child's heart and claims our total allegiance, and remember that this alone is Reality and we are only real so far as we conform to its demands, we see our human situation from a fresh angle; and we perceive that it is both more humble and dependent, and more splendid, than we had dreamed. We are surrounded and penetrated by great spiritual forces of which we hardly know anything. Yet the outward events of our life cannot be understood, except in their relation to that unseen and intensely living world, the Infinite Charity which penetrates and supports us, the God whom we resist and yet for whom we thirst; who is ever at work, transforming the self-centred desire of the natural creature into the wide spreading, outpouring love of the citizen of Heaven.

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