John Ruysbroeck quotes

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John Ruysbroeck

Birthdate: 1293
Date of death: 2. December 1381

The Blessed John van Ruysbroeck was one of the Flemish mystics. Some of his main literary works include The Kingdom of the Divine Lovers, The Twelve Beguines, The Spiritual Espousals, A Mirror of Eternal Blessedness, The Little Book of Enlightenment, and The Sparkling Stone. Some of his letters also survive, as well as several short sayings . He wrote in the Dutch vernacular, the language of the common people of the Low Countries, rather than in Latin, the language of the Church liturgy and official texts, in order to reach a wider audience. Wikipedia

„Our work is the love of God. Our satisfaction lies in submission to the Divine Embrace“

—  John Ruysbroeck

Quoted in Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man's Spiritual Consciousness (1912) by Evelyn Underhill, p. 353

„So the wise man will do like the bee, and he will fly forth with attention and with reason and with discretion, towards all those gifts and towards all that sweetness which he has ever experienced, and towards all the good which God has ever done to him. And in the light of love and with inward observation, he will taste of the multitude of consolations and good things; and will not rest upon any flower of the gifts of God, but, laden with gratitude and praise, will fly back into the unity, wherein he wishes to rest and to dwell eternally with God“

—  John Ruysbroeck

The Spiritual Espousals (c. 1340)
Context: You should watch the wise bee and do as it does. It dwells in unity, in the congregation of its fellows, and goes forth, not in the storm, but in calm and still weather, in the sunshine, towards all those flowers in which sweetness may be found. It does not rest on any flower, neither on any beauty nor on any sweetness; but it draws from them honey and wax, that is to say, sweetness and light-giving matter, and brings both to the unity of the hive, that therewith it may produce fruits, and be greatly profitable. Christ, the Eternal Sun, shining into the open heart, causes that heart to grow and to bloom, and it overflows with all the inward powers with joy and sweetness. So the wise man will do like the bee, and he will fly forth with attention and with reason and with discretion, towards all those gifts and towards all that sweetness which he has ever experienced, and towards all the good which God has ever done to him. And in the light of love and with inward observation, he will taste of the multitude of consolations and good things; and will not rest upon any flower of the gifts of God, but, laden with gratitude and praise, will fly back into the unity, wherein he wishes to rest and to dwell eternally with God.

„God is a flowing and ebbing sea which ceaselessly flows out into all his beloved“

—  John Ruysbroeck

The Spiritual Espousals (c. 1340)
Context: God is a flowing and ebbing sea which ceaselessly flows out into all his beloved according to their needs and merits and which flows back with all those upon whom he has bestowed his gifts in heaven and on earth, together with all they possess or are capable of.

„Thus God is a common light and a common splendour, enlightening heaven and earth, and every man, each according to his need and worth“

—  John Ruysbroeck

Quoted in The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage (1916) by C. A. Wynschenk Dom, p. 6
Context: God being a common good, and His boundless love being common to all, He gives His grace... to all men, Pagan and Jew, good or evil... Thus God is a common light and a common splendour, enlightening heaven and earth, and every man, each according to his need and worth.

„God is more interior to us than we are to ourselves.
His acting in us is nearer and more inward than our own actions.
God works in us from inside outwards;
creatures work on us from the outside.“

—  John Ruysbroeck

John of Ruysbroeck Spiritual Espousals, complete works, Mechelen 1934, vol. 1, p. 148. English version New York 1953.

„This is that Wayless Being which all fervent interior spirits have chosen above all things, that dark stillness in which all lovers lose their way.“

—  John Ruysbroeck

If we could prepare ourselves through virtue in the ways I have shown, we would at once strip ourselves of our bodies and flow into the wild waves of the Sea, from which no creature could ever draw us back.
The Spiritual Espousals (c. 1340)

„For all spirits thus raised up melt away and are annihilated by reason of enjoyment in God’s essence which is the superessence of all essence“

—  John Ruysbroeck

The Little Book of Enlightenment (c. 1364)
Context: See, here the beatitude is so simple And so without mode that therein all essential gazing, Inclination and distinction of creatures Pass away. For all spirits thus raised up melt away and are annihilated by reason of enjoyment in God’s essence which is the superessence of all essence. There they fall away from themselves and are lost in a bottomless unknowing. There all clarity is turned back to darkness, there where the three Persons give way to the essential unity and without distinction enjoy essential beatitude.

„His acting in us is nearer and more inward than our own actions“

—  John Ruysbroeck

John of Ruysbroeck Spiritual Espousals, complete works, Mechelen 1934, vol. 1, p. 148. English version New York 1953.
Context: God is more interior to us than we are to ourselves.
His acting in us is nearer and more inward than our own actions.
God works in us from inside outwards;
creatures work on us from the outside.

„You should watch the wise bee and do as it does. It dwells in unity, in the congregation of its fellows, and goes forth, not in the storm, but in calm and still weather, in the sunshine, towards all those flowers in which sweetness may be found.“

—  John Ruysbroeck

The Spiritual Espousals (c. 1340)
Context: You should watch the wise bee and do as it does. It dwells in unity, in the congregation of its fellows, and goes forth, not in the storm, but in calm and still weather, in the sunshine, towards all those flowers in which sweetness may be found. It does not rest on any flower, neither on any beauty nor on any sweetness; but it draws from them honey and wax, that is to say, sweetness and light-giving matter, and brings both to the unity of the hive, that therewith it may produce fruits, and be greatly profitable. Christ, the Eternal Sun, shining into the open heart, causes that heart to grow and to bloom, and it overflows with all the inward powers with joy and sweetness. So the wise man will do like the bee, and he will fly forth with attention and with reason and with discretion, towards all those gifts and towards all that sweetness which he has ever experienced, and towards all the good which God has ever done to him. And in the light of love and with inward observation, he will taste of the multitude of consolations and good things; and will not rest upon any flower of the gifts of God, but, laden with gratitude and praise, will fly back into the unity, wherein he wishes to rest and to dwell eternally with God.

„God in the depths of us receives God who comes to us: it is God contemplating God.“

—  John Ruysbroeck

Quoted in An Anthology of Mysticism and Mystical Philosophy' (1927) by William Kingsland, God is more interior to us than we are to ourselves. His acting in us is nearer and more inward than our own actions. God works in us from inside outwards; creatures work on us from the outside p. 94

„Christ, the Eternal Sun, shining into the open heart, causes that heart to grow and to bloom, and it overflows with all the inward powers with joy and sweetness“

—  John Ruysbroeck

The Spiritual Espousals (c. 1340)
Context: You should watch the wise bee and do as it does. It dwells in unity, in the congregation of its fellows, and goes forth, not in the storm, but in calm and still weather, in the sunshine, towards all those flowers in which sweetness may be found. It does not rest on any flower, neither on any beauty nor on any sweetness; but it draws from them honey and wax, that is to say, sweetness and light-giving matter, and brings both to the unity of the hive, that therewith it may produce fruits, and be greatly profitable. Christ, the Eternal Sun, shining into the open heart, causes that heart to grow and to bloom, and it overflows with all the inward powers with joy and sweetness. So the wise man will do like the bee, and he will fly forth with attention and with reason and with discretion, towards all those gifts and towards all that sweetness which he has ever experienced, and towards all the good which God has ever done to him. And in the light of love and with inward observation, he will taste of the multitude of consolations and good things; and will not rest upon any flower of the gifts of God, but, laden with gratitude and praise, will fly back into the unity, wherein he wishes to rest and to dwell eternally with God.

„God is more interior to us than we are to ourselves.“

—  John Ruysbroeck

John of Ruysbroeck Spiritual Espousals, complete works, Mechelen 1934, vol. 1, p. 148. English version New York 1953.
Context: God is more interior to us than we are to ourselves.
His acting in us is nearer and more inward than our own actions.
God works in us from inside outwards;
creatures work on us from the outside.

„Knowledge of ourselves teaches us whence we come, where we are, and whither we are going. We come from God, and we are in exile.“

—  John Ruysbroeck

Quoted in Ruysbroeck the Admirable (1925) by Alfred Wautier d'Aygalliers and Fred Rothwell, p. 175

„God loves without limit and this puts a loving person most securely at peace.“

—  John Ruysbroeck

The Spiritual Espousals (c. 1340)

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