holy quotations for purification of the soul
for reflection and meditation
'If you purify your soul of attachment to and desire for things, you will understand them spiritually. If you deny your appetite for them, you will enjoy their truth, understanding what is certain in them.'
St. John of the Cross
'God loves all those who love him: I love them that love Me. [Prov. 8:17]
Many, however, gives themselves to God, but preserve still in their hearts some attachment to creatures, which prevents them from belonging entirely to God.
How, then, shall God give himself entirely to that one who, besides his God, loves creatures still?
It is just that he should act with reserve towards those who act with reserve towards him. On the contrary, he gives himself entirely to those souls, who, driving from their hearts everything that is not God, and does not lead them to his love, and giving themselves to him without reserve, truly say to him: My God and my all.'
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
'The soul calls Him “my Beloved,” the more to move Him to listen to its cry, for God, when loved, most readily listens to the prayer of him who loves Him. Thus He speaks Himself: “If you abide in Me . . . you shall ask whatever thing you will, and it shall be done to you.” [John 15:7] The soul may then with truth call Him Beloved, when it is wholly His, when the heart has no attachments but Him, and when all the thoughts are continually directed to Him. It was the absence of this that made Delilah say to Samson, “How do you say you love me when your mind is not with me?” [Judg. 16:15] The mind comprises the thoughts and the feelings. Some there are who call the Bridegroom their Beloved, but He is not really beloved, because their heart is not wholly with Him. Their prayers are, therefore, not so effectual before God, and they shall not obtain their petitions until, persevering in prayer, they fix their minds more constantly upon God and their hearts more wholly in loving affection upon Him, for nothing can be obtained from God but by love.'
St. John of the Cross
'Whatever a man loves he inevitably clings to, and in order not to lose it he rejects everything that keeps him from it. So he who loves God cultivates pure prayer, driving out every passion that keeps him from it. He who drives out self-love, the mother of the passions, will with God's help easily rid himself of the rest, such as anger, irritation, rancor and so on. But he who is dominated by self-love is overpowered by the other passions, even against his will. Self-love is the passion of attachment to the body.'
St. Maximos the Confessor
'How are you to meet the swarm of foolish attachments, triflings, and undesirable inclinations which beset you? By turning sharply away, and thoroughly renouncing such vanities, flying to the Saviour's Cross, and clasping His Crown of thorns to your heart, so that these little foxes may not spoil your vines. Beware of entering into any manner of treaty with the Enemy; do not delude yourself by listening to him while intending to reject him.'
St. Francis de Sales
'Since then the only-begotten Son of God has been sent from the Father as propitiation for the world, may we, the blind, see again, we captives be freed, we oppressed be forgiven. Who is blind? One short-sighted through attachment to the passions. Who is captive? One led away by unseemly thoughts. Who is oppressed? One broken by sins. The Lord heals them; for he is a physician of souls as well as bodies. . . Let no one then remain unenlightened and unhealed, but let them draw near with faith and they will receive blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God their Saviour [Ps. 23:5].'
St. Theodore the Studite
'Example makes it clear that man is destroyed by his own free choice: for out of love for some worldly thing he throws himself into fire, is drowned in the sea and gives himself into captivity.
Let us suppose that someone's house or field has caught fire. The person who wanted to save himself fled without anything as soon as he noticed the fire, leaving everything in it and concerned only with his own life. But someone else thought he would take some of the goods with him, so he stayed behind to collect them; and as he was taking them the fire, which had already overwhelmed the house, caught him as well and burnt him. In this way, through his attachment to some transient thing, he was destroyed in the fire by his own free choice.
Again, two men were shipwrecked. One of them, wanting to save himself, stripped off his clothes and threw himself into the water; and in this way he was able to save his life. The other, wanting to save his clothes as well, was drowned, destroying himself for the sake of a slight gain. Or again, let us suppose that news of an attack by an enemy was announced. One man, as soon as he heard the news, fled as fast as his feet would carry him, without a thought for his possessions. Another, either because he distrusted the news, or because he wanted to take with him some of his goods, waited until later, and when the enemy arrived he was caught. Thus, through his lack of alertness and his attachment to worldly things, he lost body and soul by his own free choice.'
St. Symeon Metaphrastis
'When a sinful soul does not accept the afflictions that come to it, the angels say: "We would have healed Babylon, but she was not healed". (Jer. 51:9)'
St. Mark the Ascetic
'If you truly love God and long to reach the kingdom that is to come, if you are truly pained by your failings and are mindful of punishment and of the eternal judgment, if you are truly afraid to die, then it will not be possible to have an attachment, or anxiety, or concern for money, for possessions, for family relationships, for worldly glory, for love and brotherhood, indeed for anything of earth. All worry about one's condition, even for one's body, will be pushed aside as hateful. Stripped of all thought of these, caring nothing about them, one will return freely to Christ. One will look to heaven and to the help coming from there, as in the scriptural sayings: "I will cling close to you" (Psalm 62:9) and "I have not grown tired of following you nor have I longed for the day or the rest that man gives." (Jeremiah 17:16)'
St. John Climacus
'They will relinquish all amity with the world, so that they may keep that longing continually in their hearts, preferring nothing to it. But few indeed there are who add to a good beginning an equivalent end and who endure without stumbling until they reach it. Many are moved to repentance and many become partakers of heavenly grace and are wounded by divine love; but, unable to bear the ensuing tribulations and the wily and versatile assaults of the devil, they submit to the world and are submerged in its depths through the flabbiness and debility of their will, or are taken captive by some attachment to worldly things. Those who wish to pursue the way with assurance to the end will not permit any other longing or love to intermingle with their divine love.'
St. Symeon Metaphrastis
'For true devotion must issue from the heart, and consist in the truth and substances alone of what is represented by spiritual things; all the rest is affection and attachment proceeding from imperfection; and in order that one may pass to any kind of perfection it is necessary for such desires to be killed.'
St. John of the Cross
'This therefore should be the aim, this the concern and goal of a spiritual man - to be worthy to possess the image of future bliss in this corruptible body, and in a certain measure experience in advance how the foretaste of that heavenly bliss, eternal life and glory begins in this world. This, as I say, is the goal of all perfection, that his purified mind should be daily raised up from all bodily objects to spiritual things until all his mental activity and all his heart’s desire become one unbroken prayer. So the mind must abandon the dregs of earth and press on towards to God, on whom alone should be fixed the desire of a spiritual man, for whom the least separation from that summum bonum is to be considered a living death and dreadful loss. Then, when the requisite peace has been established in his mind, when it is free from attachment to any carnal passion, and clings firmly in intention to that one supreme good, the Apostle’s sayings are fulfilled, Pray without ceasing, (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and, Pray in every place lifting up pure hands without anger or dispute. (1 Timothy 2:8) For when the power of the mind is absorbed in this purity, so to speak, and is transformed from an earthly nature into the spiritual or angelic likeness, whatever it receives into itself, whatever it is occupied with, whatever it is doing, it will be pure and sincere prayer.
In this way, if you continue all the time in the way we have described from the beginning, it will become as easy and clear for you to remain in contemplation in your inward and recollected state, as to live in the natural state.'
St. Albert the Great
'Offer your heart to the Mother of God and to all the saints that you may know and live their sentiments towards the things of the world. Beg them to destroy within your own soul by the power God has given them, any attachment you may have for the world and its pleasures.'
St. Jean Eudes
'When a thought lingers within a man, this indicates his attachment to it; but when it is quickly destroyed, this signifies his opposition and hostility to it. The intellect changes from one to another of three different noetic states: that according to nature, above nature, and contrary to nature.
When it enters the state according to nature, it finds that it is itself the cause of evil thoughts, and confesses its sins to God, clearly understanding the causes of the passions.
When it is in the state contrary to nature, it forgets God's justice and fights with men, believing itself unjustly treated.
But when it is raised to the state above nature, it finds the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace and the other fruits of which the Apostle speaks (cf. Ga 5:22); and it knows that if it gives priority to bodily cares it cannot remain in this state. An intellect that departs from this state falls into sin and all the terrible consequences of sin -- if not immediately, then in due time, as God's justice shall decide.'
St. Mark the Ascetic