The Contemplative Life

The Contemplative Life

The Contemplative Life

The Contemplative Life

Excerpt

For long have I stood firm against your wish, my Lord Julianus, most zealous of bishops. Not that I was obstinately stubborn, but I was conscious of my incompetence. For I thought, and perhaps the thought was justified, that even you could charge my presumption with improvident rashness, were I to undertake lightly and without any deliberation so great a work, one which ought surely to be treated painstakingly. Evidently, it behooved me first to assess the importance of the subject I was to discuss, and then, the Lord helping, if my talent upon examination held out the qualifications needed, to agree to undertake the task you imposed. Considering these and similar points with careful attention, I thought it necessary to hold myself a while from the presumption of writing. But because, as well as thinking of the difficulty of the work enjoined, I had to consider the authority of the one who enjoined it, neither did I wish to oppose you further, nor did I deem it right, being certain that your prayer, coming from the one who commissioned me, would give much greater aid to my abilities than the formidableness of the theme itself would burden them. The result was that my mind, diffident of its own capability, was encouraged to obey your command by this consideration: that it would not now be the part of humility to persist in silence, but rather of pride to refuse any longer the burden . . .

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