Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ibn Ajiba on the Spiritual Virtues (2)

Penitence, Fear and Hope

2 – Penitence

Penitence goes deeper than repentance, because it means renouncement accompanied by a feeling of humble regret and a firm resolve to return to the straight path. It has three levels: To turn from sin to repentance, and from heedlessness to attentiveness, and from being divided from God to being united with Him.

3 – Fear

Fear is the heart’s worry of encountering something it dislikes or losing out on something it desires. Its fruit is that it makes one resolve to be righteous and flee from sin. And to act as though one is fearful whilst being remiss in piety is a false claim. Ordinary people fear punishment and the loss of reward; the elite fear rebuke and the loss of nearness; and the elite of the elite fear to be veiled from God because of poor etiquette on their part.

4 – Hope

Hope is the heart’s gladness in anticipation of something it loves, on condition that one does what one can to attain it – otherwise it is but a wish and a fancy. Ordinary people hope to attain unto reward in the hereafter; the elite hope to attain unto God’s goodly pleasure and His nearness; and the elite of the elite hope to be firmly rooted in the Beatific vision, and to continue to learn more and more of the mysteries of the Loving Sovereign.

Fear and hope are like the wings of the heart, without which it cannot fly; and perhaps the gnostics have more hope, whilst the righteous have more fear.

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