Quotes by Evelyn Underhill

Evelyn Underhill (6 December 1875 – 15 June 1941) was an English Anglo-Catholic writer and pacifist known for her numerous works on religion and spiritual practice, in particular Christian mysticism. (Wikipedia)

Personal and Social

Still less does the spiritual life mean a mere cultivation of one’s own soul; poking about our interior premises with an electric torch. Even though in its earlier stages it may, and generally does, involve dealing with ourselves, and that in a drastic way, and therefore requires personal effort and personal choice, it is also intensely social; for it is a life that is shared with all other spirits.

Preoccupied With Imperfection

All this preoccupation with your own imperfection is not humility, but an insidious form of spiritual pride. What do you expect to be? A saint? There are desperately few of them. And even they found that faults, which are the raw material of sanctity remember, take a desperate lot of working up. You know best when and how you fall into these various pitfalls. Try and control yourself when you see the temptation coming. Never allow yourself to be pessimistic about your own state. Look outwards instead of inwards: and when you are inclined to be depressed and think you are getting on badly, make an act of thanksgiving instead because others are getting on well. The object of your salvation is God’s glory, not your happiness.

Parts of a Whole

Most of our conflicts and difficulties come from trying to deal with the spiritual and practical aspects of our life separately instead of realizing them as parts of one whole.

Our Purpose

The birth of Christ in our souls is for a purpose beyond ourselves: it is because his manifestation in the world must be through us. Every Christian is, as it were, part of the dust-laden air which shall radiate the glowing epiphany of God, catch and reflect his golden Light.

God Speaks

We are being shown here something profoundly significant about human life. God speaks … in our language and shows us [God’s] secret beauty on our scale. We begin not by an arrogant other-worldliness, but by a humble recognition that human things can be holy, very full of God, and that high-minded speculations about [God’s] nature need not be holy at all; that all life is engulfed in [God] and [God] can reach out to us anywhere at any level.