Believe In Order To Understand

From “Proslogion” by Anselm of Canterbury.

Come now, insignificant man! Flee, for a little while, your occupations; hide, for a time, from your disturbing thoughts. Cast aside, now, your burdensome cares and put away your toilsome business. Yield room for some little time to God and rest for a little time in him. Enter the inner chamber of your mind; shut out all thoughts save that of God and such as can aid you in seeking him; close your door and seek him. Speak now, my whole heart! Speak now to God, saying, “I seek your face; your face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalms xxvii. 8). And come now, O Lord my God, teach my heart where and how it may seek you, where and how it may find you.

Lord, if you are not here, where shall I seek you? But if you are everywhere, why do I not see you present? Truly you dwell in unapproachable light. But where is unapproachable light, or how shall I come to it? Or who shall lead me to that light and into it, that I may see you in it? Again, by what marks, under what form, shall I seek you? I have never seen you, O Lord, my God; I do not know your form. What, O most high Lord, shall this man do, an exile far from you? What shall your servant do, anxious in his love of you, and cast out afar from your face? He pants to see you, and your face is too far from him. He longs to come to you, and your dwelling-place is inaccessible. He is eager to find you and knows not your place. He desires to seek you and does not know your face. Lord, you are my God and you are my Lord, and never have I seen you. It is you that has made me, and has made me anew, and has bestowed upon me all the blessing I enjoy, and not yet do I know you. Finally, I was created to see you, and not yet have I done that for which I was made.

Be it mine to look up to your light, even from afar, even from the depths. Teach me to seek you and reveal yourself to me, when I seek you, for I cannot seek you, except you teach me, nor find you, except you reveal yourself. Let me seek you in longing, let me long for you in seeking; let me find you in love, and love you in finding. Lord, I acknowledge and I thank you that you have created me in this your image, in order that I may be mindful of you, may conceive of you and love you; but that image has been so consumed and wasted away by vices and obscured by the smoke of wrong-doing, that it cannot achieve that for which it was made, except you renew it, and create it anew. I do not endeavour, O Lord, to penetrate your sublimity, for in no wise do I compare my understanding with that; but I long to understand in some degree your truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, that unless I believed, I should not understand.

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