A Word From Thomas Kelly

A  passage from Thomas Kelly’s A Testament of Devotion that I really love. Talking about the pain of failure, and the joy of redemption. The letting go of your own efforts and surrendering to God’s willingness to carry you through. The realization that we aren’t able to make things right, and the acceptance that we will fall, but the reassuring knowlege that He will help us through.

I love this quote: “This is what I am except Thou aid me.”


… in a deeply religious culture men know that a deep level of prayer and of divine attendance is the most important thing in the world. It is at this deep level  that the real business of life is determined. The secular mind is an abbreviated, fragmentary mind, building only upon a part of man’s nature and neglecting a part – the most glorious part – of man’s nature, his relations with time within their true ground and setting in the Eternal Lover. It keeps close to the fountains of divine creativity. In lowliness it knows joys and stabilities, peace and assurances, that are utterly incomprehensible to the secular mind […] the religious man is forever bringing all affairs of the first level down into the light, holding them there in the presence, reseeding them and the whole of the world of men and things in a new overturning way… Facts remain facts, when brought into the presence in the deeper level, but their value, their significance, is wholly realigned.

The first days and weeks and months are awkward and painful, but enormously rewarding. Awkward, because it takes constant vigilance and effort and reassertions of the will, at the first level. Painful because our lapses are so frequent, the intervals when we forget Him so long. Rewarding, because we have begun to live. But these weeks and months and perhaps even years must be passed through before He gives us greater and easier stayedness upon Himself.

Lapses and forgettings are so frequent. Our surroundings grow so exciting. Our occupations are so exacting. But when you catch yourself again, lose no time in self-recriminations, but breathe a silent prayer for forgiveness and begin again, just where you are. Offer this broken worship up to Him and say: “This is what I am except thou aid me.” Admit no discouragement, but ever return quietly to Him and wait in His presence…

The first signs of simultaneity are given when at the moment of recovery from a period of forgetting there is a certain sense that we have not completely forgotten Him. It is as though we are only coming back into a state of vividness which had endured in dim and tenuous form throughout. What takes place now is not reinstatement of a broken prayer but return to liveliness of that which had endured, but mildly. The currents of His love have been flowing, but whereas we had been drifting in him, now we swim…

Again it is like waking from sleep yet knowing, not by inference but immediate awareness, that we have lived even while we were asleep. For sole preoccupation with the world is sleep but immersion in Him is life.

A Testament Of Devotion (The Light Within) – Thomas Kelly


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