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Underhill, Evelyn: Fragments From An inner life

Underhill, Evelyn: Fragments From An inner life

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June 10, 1923: It came over me vividly at Communion today, that the whole of the life of Christ consists and always has in nothing at all but giving himself--to everyone who asks--pleasant or not--dingy beasts like me--anyone--making no demands back, cultivating no heavenly joy for Himself--an eternal Risen Life of self-outpouring. It may sound obvious but when you see it, it's pretty overwhelming. Evelyn Underhill kept notebooks during her crucial mid-life years, while she was a successful writer and scholar. These private documents comprise one soul's journey in the life of the Spirit, yet with a universal dimension. Underhill's reflections are the only known sustained records of her private life, her doubts and failings, obstacles to growth, and her gradual awakening to God's grace and presence. In his "Foreword" A. M. Allchin writes, "Evelyn Underhill's inner world, which was one of contrasts and conflicts, of darkness as well as light, can stand for the inner world of us all . . . these fragments from her inner story will continue to remind us of the price that was paid for the serenity and wisdom of her latter years." These notes and journal entries have the immediacy of spiritual autobiography and the detail that gives texture to her otherwise elusive life history. In order to be best understood, they need to be viewed within the context of her "public" writings. Her personal speculations and correspondence give depth and nuance to the mystic and theologian now commemorated in the church calendar and read by Christians of many communions.

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