Some people find her prose a little stiff, but I always find myself fed by Evelyn Underhill's wisdom and realism about the spiritual life. Here are some words to ponder -- yesterday's entry in a little book called Lent with Evelyn Underhill that I am returning to this year.
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. Till we accept this truth, religion is full of puzzles for us, and its practices often unmeaning: for we do not know what it is all about. . . . We pray first because we believe something; perhaps at that stage a very crude or vague something. And with the deepening of prayer, its patient cultivation, there comes -- perhaps slowly, perhaps suddenly -- the enrichment and enlargement of belief, as we enter into a first-hand communion with the Reality who is the object of our faith.