Evelyn Underhill quotes

  • If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshipped.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Religion #Enough #Bigs

  • For lack of attention a thousand forms of loveliness elude us every day.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Beauty #Attention #Elude

  • The determined fixing of our will upon God, and pressing toward him steadily and without deflection; this is the very center and the art of prayer.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Art #Prayer #Fixing

  • The spiritual life is not a special career, involving abstraction from the world of things. It is a part of every man's life; and until he has realized it, he is not a complete human being, has not entered into possession of all his powers.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Men #Careers

  • Do not entertain the notion that you ought to advance in your prayer. If you do, you will only find you have put on the brake instead of the acceleration. All real progress in spiritual things comes gently, imperceptibly, and is the work of God. Our crude efforts spoil it. Know yourself for the childish, limited and dependent soul you are. Remember that the only growth which matters happens without our knowledge and that trying to stretch ourselves is both dangerous and silly. Think of the Infinite Goodness, never of your own state.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Prayer #Real

  • After all it is those who have a deep and real inner life who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Happiness #Real #Personality

  • On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Prayer #Effort #Done

  • Mysticism is the art of union with Reality.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Art #Reality #Unions

  • In mysticism that love of truth which we saw as the beginning of all philosophy leaves the merely intellectual sphere, and takes on the assured aspect of a personal passion. Where the philosopher guesses and argues, the mystic lives and looks; and speaks, consequently, the disconcerting language of first-hand experience, not the neat dialectic of the schools. Hence whilst the Absolute of the metaphysicians remains a diagram —impersonal and unattainable—the Absolute of the mystics is lovable, attainable, alive.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Philosophy #Passion #School

  • Try to arrange things so that you can have a reasonable bit of quiet every day.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Trying #Quiet

  • We mostly spend [our] lives conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have, and to Do... forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in , the fundamental verb, to Be.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Three #Verbs #Fundamentals

  • This is the secret of joy. We shall no longer strive for our own way; but commit ourselves, easily and simply, to God's way, acquiesce in His will, and in so doing find our peace.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Joy #Secret #Way

  • Every minute you are thinking of evil, you might have been thinking of good instead. Refuse to pander to a morbid interest in your own misdeeds. Pick yourself up, be sorry, shake yourself, and go on again.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Inspirational #Sorry #Apology

  • We have descended into the garden and caught three hundred slugs. How I love the mixture of the beautiful and the squalid in gardening. It makes it so lifelike.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Beauty #Beautiful #Garden

  • God is acting on your soul all the time, whether you have spiritual sensations or not.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Soul #Acting

  • All things are perceived in the light of charity, and hence under the aspect of beauty; for beauty is simply reality seen with the eyes of love.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Beauty #Eye #Reality

  • It seems so much easier in these days to live morally than to live beautifully. Lots of us manage to exist for years without ever sinning against society, but we sin against loveliness every hour of the day.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Years #Sin #Hours

  • Faith is not a refuge from reality. It is a demand that we face reality ... The true subject matter of religion is not our own little souls, but the Eternal God and His whole mysterious purpose, and our solemn responsibility to Him.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Christian #Prayer #Responsibility

  • God is always coming to you in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. Meet and receive Him there with gratitude in that sacrament.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Gratitude #Moments #Present Moment

  • Mysticism, according to its historical and psychological definitions, is the direct intuition or experience of God; and a mystic is a person who has, to a greater or less degree, such a direct experience -- one whose religion and life are centered, not merely on an accepted belief or practice, but on that which the person regards as first hand personal knowledge.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Hands #Practice #Historical

  • As the genuine religious impulse becomes dominant, adoration more and more takes charge. 'I come to seek God because I need Him', may be an adequate formula for prayer. 'I come to adore His splendour, and fling myself and all that I have at His feet', is the only possible formula for worship.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Religious #Prayer #Feet

  • We spend most of our lives conjugating three verbs: to want, to have, and to do.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Live Life #Three #Verbs

  • When you let intution have its way with you, you open up new levels of the world. Such opening-up is the most practical of all activities.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Opening Up #World #Levels

  • Deliberately seek opportunities for kindness, sympathy, and patience.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Patience #Kindness #Opportunity

  • Sometimes I think the resurrection of the body, unless much improved in construction, a mistake!
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Mistake #Thinking #Afterlife

  • Mysticism is the passionate longing of the soul for God ...
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Soul #Passionate #Longing

  • In prayer the soul comes nearest the experience of absolute love: in belief it ascends by means of symbols towards absolute truth.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Prayer #Mean #Soul

  • It is immediately apparent, however, that this sense-world, this seemingly real external universe - though it may be useful and valid in other respects - cannot be the external world, but only the Self's projected picture of it ... The evidence of the senses, then, cannot be accepted as evidence of the nature of ultimate reality; useful servants, they are dangerous guides.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Real #Self #World

  • meditation is a half-way house between thinking and contemplating ...
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Thinking #House #Meditation

  • The world of religion is no longer a concrete fact proposed for our acceptance and adoration. It is an unfathomable universe which engulfs us, and which lives its own majestic uncomprehended life: and we discover that our careful maps and cherished definitions bear little relation to its unmeasured reality.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Acceptance #Reality #Religion

  • Your dreamer may do without a creed, but he always wants a ritual ...
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Dreamer #May #Want

  • A saint is simply a human being whose soul has ... grown up to its full stature, by full and generous response to its environment, God. He has achieved a deeper, bigger life than the rest of us, a more wonderful contact with the mysteries of the Universe; a life of infinite possibility, the term of which he never feels that he has reached.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Soul #Saint #Mystery

  • As the social self can only be developed by contact with society, so the spiritual self can only be developed by contact with the spiritual world.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Self #World

  • The life of prayer is so great and various there is something in it for everyone. It is like a garden which grows everything, from alpines to potatoes.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Prayer #Garden #Potatoes

  • I do not think reading the mystics would hurt you myself: you say you must avoid books which deal with 'feelings' - but the mystics don't deal with feelings but with love which is a very different thing. You have too many 'feelings,' but not nearly enough love.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Hurt #Reading #Book

  • The heart outstrips the clumsy senses, and sees - perhaps for an instant, perhaps for long periods of bliss - an undistorted and more veritable world.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Heart #Long #World

  • If we ask of the saints how they achieved spiritual effectiveness, they are only able to reply that, insofar as they did it themselves, they did it by love and prayer.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Prayer #Effectiveness

  • though humility and acknowledgement of one's real failings is good, the gratuitous eating of worms not put before us by God does not nourish our souls a bit - merely in fact upsets the spiritual tummy.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Real #Humility

  • The London streets are paths of loveliness; the very omnibuses look like colored archangels, their laps filled full of little trustful souls.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Soul #London #Path

  • Saints are the great teachers of the loving-kindness and fascination with God.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Teacher #Kindness #Fascination

  • Spiritual achievement costs much, though never as much as it is worth.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Achievement #Cost

  • religion, like beauty, cannot be experienced in cold blood.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Blood #Religion #Cold

  • The spiritual life of individuals has to be extended both vertically to God and horizontally to other souls; and the more it grows in both directions, the less merely individual and therefore more truly personal it will become.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Soul #Individual

  • But so many Christians are like deaf people at a concert. They study the programme carefully, believe every statement make in it, speak respectfully of the quality of the music, but only really hear a phrase now and again. So they have no notion at all of the mighty symphony which fills the universe, to which our lives are destined to make their tiny contribution, and which is the self-expression of the Eternal God.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Christian #Believe #Self

  • The life, beauty and meaning of the whole created order, from the tomtit to the Milky Way, refers back to the Absolute Life and Beauty of its Creator: and so lived, every bit has spiritual significance.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Order #Environmental

  • In the created world around us we see the Eternal Artist, Eternal Love at work.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Artist #Environmental #Eternal Love

  • For the most part, of course, the presence of the great spiritual universe surrounding us is no more noticed by us than the pressure of air on our bodies, or the action of light. Our field of attention is not wide enough for that; our spiritual senses are not sufficiently alert. Most people work so hard at developing their correspondence with the visible world, that their power of correspondence with the invisible is left in a rudimentary state.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Light #Air

  • The practical life of a vast number of people is not, as a matter of fact, worth while at all. It is like an impressive fur coat with no one inside it. One sees many of these coats occupying positions of great responsibility. Hans Andersen's story of the king with no clothes told one bitter and common truth about human nature; but the story of the clothes with no king describes a situation just as common and even more pitiable.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Kings #Responsibility #Clothes

  • As to the most prudent logicians might venture to deduce from a skein of wool the probable existence of a sheep; so you, from the raw stuff of perception, may venture to deduce a universe which transcends the reproductive powers of your loom.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Sheep #Perception #Stuff

  • There is no place in my soul, no corner of my character, where God is not.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Character #Soul

  • Many people feel unaware of any guidance, unable to discern or understand the signals of God; not because the signals are not given, but because the mind is too troubled, clouded, and hurried to receive them.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #People #Mind #Guidance

  • The direction and constancy of the will is what really matters, and intellect and feeling are only important insofar as they contribute to that.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Feelings #Important #Matter

  • I do hope your Christmas has had a little touch of Eternity in among the rush and pitter patter and all. It always seems such a mixing of this world and the next - but that after all is the idea!
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Christmas #Ideas #Next

  • No metaphysician has yet shaken the ordinary individual's belief in his own existence. The uncertainties only begin for most of us when we ask what else is.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Ordinary #Belief #Individual

  • Love makes the whole difference between an execution and a martyrdom.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Differences #Execution #Martyrdom

  • Have you ever noticed that Jesus is never recorded as taking a holiday? He retired for the purposes of his mission, not from it. He was never destroyed by his work; he was always on top of it. He moved among people as the master of every situation. He was busier than anyone; the multitudes were always at him, yet he had time, for everything and everyone. He was never hurried, or harassed, or too busy. He had complete supremacy over time; he never let it dictate to him. He talked of my time; my hour. He knew exactly when the moment had come for doing something and when it had not.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Jesus #Holiday #People

  • The primary declaration of Christianity is not "This do!" but "This happened!
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Christianity #Declaration

  • It looks impossible until you do it, and then you find it is possible.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Looks #Impossible

  • The mystic cannot wholly do without symbol and image, inadequate to his vision though they must always be: for his experience must be expressed if it is to be communicated, and its actuality is inexpressible except in some hint or parallel which will stimulate the dormant intuition of the reader.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Intuition #Vision #Hints

  • The spiritual life is a stern choice. It is not a consoling retreat from the difficulties of existence; but an invitation to enter fully into that difficult existence, and there apply the Charity of God and bear the cost.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Spiritual #Choices #Cost

  • Grace is God himself, his loving energy at work within his church and within our souls.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Grace #Soul #Church

  • Man's will and God's grace rise and fall together
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Fall #Men #Grace

  • Never let yourself think that because God has given you many things to do for Himpressing routine jobs, a life full up with duties and demands of a very practical sort---that all these need separate you from communion with Him. God is always coming to you in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. Meet and receive Him there with gratitude in that sacrament; however unexpected its outward form may be receive Him in every sight and sound, joy, pain, opportunity and sacrifice.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Gratitude #Jobs #Pain

  • Never forget that the key to the situation lies in the will and not in the imagination.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Lying #Keys #Imagination

  • The will is what matters---as long as you have that, you are safe.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #What Matters #Long #Safe

  • If by losing the spirit of prayer, you mean losing the heavenly sensations of deep devotion, I am afraid that does not matter a scrap.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Prayer #Mean #Doe

  • You don't have to be peculiar to find God,
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Peculiar

  • All artist are of necessity in some measure contemplatives.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Artist

  • Adoration is caring for God above all else.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #God #Caring #Adoration

  • As the beautiful does not exist for the artist and poet alone—though these can find in it more poignant depths of meaning than other men—so the world of Reality exists for all; and all may participate in it, unite with it, according to their measure and to the strength and purity of their desire.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Beautiful #Artist #Reality

  • The business and method of mysticism is love.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Method #Mysticism

  • A simple rule, to be followed whether one is in the light or not, gives backbone to one's spiritual life, as nothing else can.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Life #Spiritual #Simple

  • Much is now being said about evangelism; but before we get effective evangelism, we have to get effective evangelists. Evangelism is useless unless it is the work of one devoted to God, willing and glad to suffer all things for God, penetrated by the attractiveness of God. New machinery, adaptations and adjustments, are not the first need... but more devoted, adoring, sacrificial souls.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Soul #Suffering #Needs

  • Delicate humor is the crowning virtue of the saints.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Saint #Sense Of Humor #Virtue

  • Love is creative. It does not flow along the easy paths, spending itself in the attractive. It cuts new channels, goes where it is needed.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Cutting #Love Is #Creative

  • Spiritual reading is a regular, essential part of the life of prayer, and particularly is it the support of adoring prayer.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Inspirational #Spiritual #Prayer

  • It is important to increase our sense of God's richness and wonder by reading what his great lovers have said about him.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Inspirational #Reading #Great Love

  • Christian history looks glorious in retrospect; but it is made up of constant hard choices and unattractive tasks, accepted under the pressure of the Will of God.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Christian #Choices #Tasks

  • I have just been given a very engaging Persian kitten... and his opinion is that I have been given to him.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Cat #Opinion #Kitten

  • The Christian is the person who sees every time and every situation, however dreary and repetitive, as God sees it - a fresh creation from his hand, demanding its own response in perhaps a wholly new and creative way. Under God he is free over it. He has won through to a purchase over events; he has risen with Christ.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Christian #Hands #Creative

  • Nothing in all nature is so lovely and so vigorous, so perfectly at home in its environment, as a fish in the sea. Its surroundings give to it a beauty, quality, and power which are not its own. We take it out, and at once a poor, limp dull thing, fit for nothing, is gasping away its life. So the soul, sunk in God, living the life of prayer, is supported, filled, transformed in beauty, by a vitality and a power which are not its own.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #God #Prayer #Live Life

  • God is much in the difficult home problems as in the times of quiet and prayer.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Prayer #Home #Quiet

  • In my relations with my father, which are difficult and where I'm often met by coolness and indifference, I am constantly tempted to be cold and indifferent. Yet I know that this is a test if I could take it rightly.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Father #Tests #Cold

  • The first question here, then, is not "What is best for my soul?" nor is it even "What is most useful to humanity?" But-transcending both these limited aims-what function must this life fulfill in the great and secret economy of God?
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Soul #Humanity #Secret

  • Christianity is a religion which concerns us as we are here and now, creatures of body and soul. We do not "follow the footsteps of his most holy life" by the exercise of a trained religious imagination, but by treading the firm, rough earth, up hill and down dale.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Christian #Religious #Prayer

  • Idealism, though just in its premises, and often daring and honest in their application, is stultified by the exclusive intellectualism of its own methods: by its fatal trust in the squirrel-work of the industrious brain instead of the piercing vision of the desirous heart. It interests man, but does not involve him in its processes: does not catch him up to the new and more real life which it describes. Hence the thing that matters, the living thing, has somehow escaped it; and its observations bear the same relation to reality as the art of the anatomist does to the mystery of birth.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Art #Real #Men

  • I have an idea heaven will be both absolutely happy and absolutely dark, to protect us from the blaze of God.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Dark #Ideas #Heaven

  • The mystic lives and looks; and speaks the disconcerting language of first-hand experience.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Hands #Looks #Firsts

  • Worship is the one, total adoring response of man to the one Eternal God.
    -- Evelyn Underhill

    #Men #Worship #Response