How to remember and think of God – The Spiritual Elder


My brother, concerning the thought of God which you asked me to write you about, I do not understand your request. If it concerns the constant remembrance of Him, I know that the thought of Him always arises in your heart for your delight and for the destruction of passions and thoughts. And if you are seeking instruction about gazing on Him, I am sure that your understanding has been enlightened by the vision of His glory and has gone beyond all need of indications.

But since we are in the world of variations, and now and then because of happenings, temptations, and acts of Providence to reprimand us, sometimes the remembrance of God is cut off from our heart, and our souls are deprived of His vision, and we forget to think about Him. So we have need of indications to bring us back to remembering God and gazing on Him. According to my weakness, I am setting down notes for persons weak like me, that by them they might grow strong in the glory of God mighty forevermore:

That heaven and earth and all that is in them are full of God; that He passes through all and that his Nature is stretched out through all the natures, like the sun in the air; many know this by hearing of it. Fewer know it from snatches in books, but only rarely is it known from the vision of purity: this purity which takes delight in blessings and not in senseless words.

Let a person look on the immensity of God which covers all and passes over all. This constant remembrance of Him is certainly a great thing: it destroys the passions, defeats the demons, enlightens the intellect, and purifies the heart. But better than this is that a person seek his Life within himself. All the worlds may be full of Life, but if he is empty of it, what profit from what is outside? And if he is full of Life, what harm can death do to him from the outside?

So then look at God within yourself, how God is light (1 Jn 1:5). For his Nature is a glorious, many-splendored light. He manifests the light of his Nature to those who love Him in all the worlds – that is, his glory, not his Nature. And he changes the image of those who see it, to the likeness of his glory. Look within and see Him in your being, united to you as fire to iron within the furnace, and as moisture in your body.

[John of Dalyatha, Letter 50]

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