Susan's Thursday morning note November 6, 2014 Madam Guyon Quotes & Poetry (1648-1717)
Good morning! Glue sticks. Paints. Spiderman busy beside me as I type for you. Coffee. Didn’t forget that! The angel of dawn has made her gift of appearance again this morning. Again, handing the gift of life today. I have been reading an autobiography this week by Madam Guyon who lived from 1648-1717. She was put into the famous Bastille tower prison for four years (among other prison sentences in her life) for her religious beliefs. She is most famous for a poem written when imprisoned, Freedom of Heart and Mind, on a little bird singing regardless of circumstances. Below are favorite quotes from her writings and a few of her poems for you to put into your minds along with me today. Once again helping us see the eternal beautiful perspective of our souls.
“My earnest wish is to paint in true colors the goodness of God to me, and the depth of my own ingratitude.”
“Rest. Rest. Rest in God’s love. The only work you are required now to do is to give your most intense attention to His still, small voice within.”
“In your occupations, try to possess your soul in peace. It is not a good plan to be in haste to perform any action that it may be the sooner over. On the contrary, you should accustom yourself to do whatever you have to do with tranquility, in order that you may retain the possession of yourself and of settled peace.”
“Some persons, when they hear of the prayer of silence, falsely imagine that the soul remains stupid, dead, and inactive. But unquestionably, it acteth therein more nobly and more extensively than it had ever done before; for God himself is the mover, and the soul now acteth by the agency of His spirit.”
“He who has a pure heart will never cease to pray; and he who will be constant in prayer, shall know what it is to have a pure heart.
Self-seeking is the gate by which a soul departs from peace; and total abandonment to the will of God, that by which it returns
“He who has learned to seek nothing but the will of God, shall find what he seeks.”
Freedom of Heart and Mind written while imprisoned in the convent of St. Marie. (One condition for her release was a handwritten statement that she would never reveal what she endured during imprisonment). This poem was found upon her death in 1717. A little bird I am, Shut from the fields of air, And in my cage I sit and sing To Him who placed me there; Well pleased a prisoner to be, Because, my God, it pleaseth Thee. Nought have I else to do, I sing the whole day long; And He whom most I love to please Doth listen to my song; He caught and bound my wandering wing; But still He bends to hear me sing. Thou hast an ear to hear A heart to love and bless; And though my notes were e’er so rude, Thou wouldst not hear the less; Because Thou knowest as they fall, That love, sweet love, inspires them all. My cage confines me round; Abroad I cannot fly; But though my wing is closely bound, My heart’s at liberty; For prison walls cannot control The flight, the freedom of the soul. O it is good to soar These bolts and bars above! To Him whose purpose I adore, Whose providence I love; And in Thy mighty will to find The joy, the freedom of the mind.
“The more wants we have, the further we are from God, and the nearer we approach him, the better can we dispense with everything that is not Himself”
“There are three kinds of silence. Silence from words is good, because inordinate speaking tends to evil. Silence, or rest from desires and passions is still better, because it promotes quietness of spirit. But the best of all is silence from unnecessary and wandering thoughts, because that is essential to internal recollection, and because it lays a foundation for a proper reputation and for silence in other respects.”
“Which of the two would the perfect soul choose, if the choice were presented, to love God, or to be loved by Him?”
“How rare is it to behold a soul in an absolute abandonment of selfish interests, that it may devote itself to the interests of God!”
Her writing is beautiful. Easy to read, but so much to think about that only a few moments can be absorbed in one sitting. Her bird continuing to sing out regardless of circumstances. Her moments of life. Her grains of sand passing one at a time through her sand timer. Moments of her thoughts she captured in poetry and writings for us to learn from and gain perspective from 300 years later. Will we absorb her writing on silence. Will we take the time to let her thoughts infiltrate our minds, to give us clarity and wisdom for our own personal songs? Tonight. Tonight we have the chance to chisel into stone on our own epitaphs. Chisel words worthy of inscription on the moments that we will never be given back today. Will we have words worthy of inscription? Will we laugh when we are trying to type a Thursday note and glance up at Spiderman who has just rolled an entire new paper towel roll across the entire house? Will we smile when because of our distraction a painting was done for us on the front of Spiderman’s pj’s? Decisions. Trying to get more than one grain to pass at a time. Realizing the impossibleness (is that a word?!?) of that and having wisdom on using our moments. Back to Spiderman for me. Back to your worlds for you. Today. Our gift. Beautiful details regardless of what moment we are playing in our songs. Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday again and for coming into our store for your books and gifts. How much your friendship matters. Susan
Latin for this week – musical terms: cantus – song, a singing bird-song cantare – to sing con brio – with spirit, brilliantly con amore – with tenderness dolce – sweetly giocoso – joyfully Works Cited: Guyon, Jeanne. The Autobiography of Madame Guyon. South Dakota. NuVision Publications. 2007