They said to him, “Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you.”

He said to them, “You examine the face of heaven and earth, but you have not come to know the one who is in your presence, and you do not know how to examine the present moment.”

(Thomas Saying 91)

“The Psalms are the true garden of the solitary and the Scriptures are
his Paradise. They reveal their secrets to him because, in his extreme
poverty and humility, he has nothing else to live by except their
fruits. For the true solitary the reading of Scripture ceases to be an
‘exercise’ among other exercises, a means of ‘cultivating’ the intellect
or ‘the spiritual life’ or ‘appreciating the liturgy.’ To those who
read Scripture in an academic or aesthetic or merely devotional way the
Bible indeed offers pleasant refreshment and profitable thoughts. But
to learn the inner secrets of the Scriptures we must make them our true
daily bread, find God in them when we are in greatest need — and
usually when we can find Him nowhere else and have nowhere else to

thomas merton

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matt. 6:28-29)

God desires the smallest degree of purity of conscience in you more than all the works you can perform.

God desires the least degree of obedience and submissiveness more than all those services you think of rendering him.

God values in you the inclination to dryness and suffering for love of him more than all the consolations, spiritual visions, and meditations you could possibly have.

Deny your desires and you will find what your heart longs for. For how do you know if any desire of yours is according to God?

O sweetest love of God, so little known, whoever has found this rich mine is at rest!

Since a double measure of bitterness must follow the doing of your own will, do not do it even though you remain in single bitterness.

The soul that carries within itself the least appetite for worldly things bears more unseemliness and impurity in its journey to God than if it were troubled by all the hideous and annoying temptations and darknesses describable; for, so long as it does not consent to these temptations, a soul thus tried can approach God confidently, by doing the will of His Majesty, who proclaims: Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you [Mt. 11:28].

The soul that in aridity and trial submits to the dictates of reason is more pleasing to God than one that does everything with consolation, yet fails in this submission.

God is more pleased by one work, however small, done secretly, without desire that it be known, than a thousand done with the desire that people know of them. Those who work for God with purest love not only care nothing about whether others see their works, but do not even seek that God himself know of them. Such persons would not cease to render God the same services, with the same joy and purity of love, even if God were never to know of these.

The pure and whole work done for God in a pure heart merits a whole kingdom for its owner.

–John of the cross (Sayings of love and light)