The way I see it, a mystic takes a peek at God and then does her best to show the rest of us what she saw. She’ll use image-language, not discourse. Giving an image is the giving of gold, the biggest thing she’s got… Hurling and wielding the best stuff she can imagine, insisting on an unmediated Way of Wakefulness,…she agrees to the quiet morning hour in front of God in exchange for a bit of revelation. She doesn’t ditch tradition as much as take it for its word and peer inside its cavernous shell. There must still be something worth saying. There must still be something worth pointing to.
-Jessie Harriman in God Laughs and Plays by David James Duncan
I greet you with my pockets turned inside out, holding out a few crumbs I picked from the seam.
Most every time I write this blog, I write from such a place of intellectual and spiritual poverty, that I feel like I am scraping gum off the sidewalk to offer you.
Oh, I have plenty of previously written material. Some of it you might like or find useful. I also seem to have an endless supply of ideas, opinions, and questions we could take up together here. However the longer I sit in that quiet morning hour waiting for a bit of revelation, the more stale and the less true all my previous thinking and posturing appear to be.
Something in me insists on peering into the Mystery anew each time I write. This is both an irresistible delight and a harrowing encounter with my own empty pockets.
I haul myself and the collected wear and tear of personal and world events before the throne of Great Stillness. There I reach out beyond my limits and press my palm in the face of Mystery and say, “Here. Here. Put it here.”
Then I wait.
In that waiting there is only the ache of love – nameless, infinite, ever beyond my control.
“Trust” was the word I found in my palm this week. Trust? That old thing? How many times does this word turn up in scripture and in the words we say to each other? How about something new, fresh, maybe a little edgier?
Thousands of children with stick legs and arms are dying in the horn of Africa. A young man just nineteen years old came home to the little town up the road, where he was buried with military honors. Global markets, drunk on anxiety, dip and sway, fall and crawl up again. Politicians argue. A self-styled prophet of God goes to prison for doing unspeakable things to little girls.
Holy One, the world is going to hell in a hand basket and all you can offer is trust?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.
Proverbs 3:5-8, New King James Version
So – help yourself these crumbs:
Trust in what you cannot fully know or name or understand, or write about.
Trust in the enduring love in your heart that weeps with compassion and yearns for justice and struggles
to know what to do in these challenging times.
Trust in your conviction that God will not be defeated by the evil and sin of humans.
Trust that Someone is afoot, knitting together the broken bones of Christ’s body.
And most amazing of all:
Trust that our trust and faith are the salve,
which heals all wounds.
And he could do no miracle there except he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them.
And he wondered at their unbelief. Mark 6:5-6
Posted in Contemplation, prayer, Prayer, spirituality
Tagged christ, Christianity, David James Duncan, emptiness, God, Jesus, Mystery, Prayer, Religion & Spirituality, trust, writing
my cup is
my mouth absent
Here – receive the fullness of this emptiness:
the bottom of a pail
the obscurity of a veil
carrying you rapidly
down an endless river to nowhere.
This is the best I will ever have to offer.
Take a drink.
This is what it means to seek God perfectly: to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display; to keep my mind free from confusion in order that my liberty may be always at the disposal of his will; to entertain silence in my heart and listen for the voice of God.
And then to wait in peace and emptiness and oblivion of all things.
- Love and the Wind (theprayinglife.wordpress.com)
- Christmas and the Recollected Soul (theprayinglife.wordpress.com)
- The Amaryllis and the Evangelist (theprayinglife.wordpress.com)
- Embarrassing Prayers (theprayinglife.wordpress.com)
Posted in apophatic spirituality, Christianity, contemplation, Prayer, Spiritual Formation, spirituality
Tagged emptiness, fullness, kenosis, letting go, seeking God perfectly, Thomas Merton