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Words of Wisdom, Life-Changing Insights & Inspiring Teachings for A Fuller Life

Life-changing insights, words of wisdom and inspiring teachings for a fuller life

17 July 2011

Meister Eckhart on How We Should Not Let Feelings of Worthlessness Trouble Us

From The Talks of Instruction, by Meister Eckhart

Many people are daunted and troubled by the toughness and severity of our Lord Jesus Christ's life and that of his saints, as they are by the fact that they lack the strength to emulate them and are not called upon to do so. Seeing themselves as unequal to the task, many thus regard themselves as being far from God, whom they are not strong enough to follow. But no one should think this!

We should in no way regard ourselves as being far from God, neither on account of our weakness or our failings or anything else. And if your great sins have ever driven you so far from him that you regard yourself as not being close to God, then you should still regard God as being close to you. It can be very destructive if we regard God as being distant from us since, whether we are far from or near to him, he is never far from us and is always close at hand. If he cannot remain within, then he goes no further than the door.

The same applies to the discipline of following God. Note the form which your discipleship takes. You should observe, and have observed, in which direction God urges you most of all to go, for, as St Paul says, not all people are called to follow the same path to God. If you find then that the shortest way for you does not lie in many outward works, great endurance and privation (which things are in any case of little importance unless we are particularly called to them by God or unless we have sufficient strength to perform them without disrupting our inner life), if you do not find these things right for you, then be at peace and have little to do with them.

But then you might say: if they are not important, why did our forebears, including many saints, do these things? Consider this: if our Lord gave them this particular kind of devotional practice, then he also gave them the strength to carry it through, and it was this which pleased him and which was their greatest achievement. For God has not linked our salvation with any particular kind of devotion. Any one devotional practice has things which others lack, but the effectiveness of all good practices comes from God alone and is denied to none of them, for one form of goodness cannot conflict with another.


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