“For the incomprehensible brightness of God and His boundless love brood above the spirit, and touch the loving power; and the spirit goes forth once more into its works, but with a more sublime and inward striving than ever before. And the more noble and inward it is, the more quickly it is spent and brought to naught in love, and goes forth once more into fresh works. And this is heavenly love. For ever does the craving spirit yearn to eat and to swallow God; but itself is swallowed up in the touch of God, and fails in all its works. For the highest powers are made one in the unity of the spirit. Here are grace and love in their essence, above all works; for here is the source of charity and every virtue. Here there is an eternal outflow into charity and the virtues, and an eternal return with inward hunger for the taste of God, and an eternal dwelling within in pure love. … It is the most inward exercise which one can perform in the created light, in heaven and on earth; and above it there is nothing but the God seeing life in the Divine Light and in the Godlike way.” ~John of Ruysbroeck
Brightness of God
It is odd how many people don’t notice how many times words associated with light are used to reference God: brightness, brilliance, illumination, shining, glowing, blinding, etc. We hear these words being used, yet still don’t really associate light with God. If you ask people, they will say they do associate God with light. At least if they believe in God, they will say that. So why do I say that most people don’t associate light with God?
The primary source of light, heat, and other types of energy and radiation on earth is the sun. It should, therefore, be logical to think of the sun and God as being connected in some way if we associate God with light. Yet few people make that connection. And the ones who do are accused of being sun worshipers by those who don’t.
Those who see the brightness of God in the sun are not worshiping the sun. Nor are we saying that this brightness of God is God. There would be no point in saying brightness of God if just saying God meant the same thing. We see God’s presence in the sun. More specifically, we see the brightness of God in the spiritual sun. But that isn’t saying that the spiritual sun is God. God is so much more than just the spirit of the sun. But it is fair to say that God’s presence, God’s essence is in the spiritual sun. And it is that brightness of God in the spiritual sun that can awaken the human soul and nourish it. It also educates the human spirit and soul about their forgotten past. The light of the spiritual sun carries spiritual information and knowledge. And it is true knowledge, not opinion.
Noble and Inward
Ruysbroeck advises an “inward striving” to develop our spiritual Self. Those who promote the idea that all answers lie within ourselves will just on this as backing that point of view. But Ruysbroeck is not saying that we should develop our spirits and souls only by turning within. Turning within is necessary, but so is turning without. Especially turning without to the spiritual sun to receive the brightness of God.
Ruysbroeck says that the awakened soul feels heavenly love. Because of that, “he craving spirit yearn to eat and to swallow God.” That sounds to most like a strange, and possibly evil, thing to say. Why would the awakened spirit and soul want to eat God?
But it actually isn’t strange at all. God is not a physical being. Eating God would not be like eating an apple or a donut. God would not be diminished at all by doing so. The spirit would not be eating the body of God. It would be eating the brightness of God, the spiritual light that comes to us through the spiritual sun. This is not just what the soul wishes to feed on, it is what God wants the soul to feed on. And when we become sufficiently spiritual ourselves, on all levels of our being, it is what God wants us to eat also.
We here many in spiritual groups declaring that God doesn’t want us to kill and eat animals. They are correct. But He doesn’t want us to kill plants either. They are just as much living beings as animals are. God wants us to live on light. He knows we can’t do that while we have dense physical bodies, but he wants us to at least start by feeding our souls on the brightness of God. As we do that, our minds and physical bodies gradually change. A day will come when our bodies will be light also, and then the brightness of God will be all that we feed on. No more killing and eating other beings.