LOTUS OF THE HEART
Living in Love beyond Beliefs
According to social rules in Turkey in the time of the satirical Sufi Mulla Nasruddin, who died in the 13th Century, brides did not show themselves to their future husbands before the marriage.
On Mulla's wedding day, as the tale goes, his bride took off her veil. She asked him, "Tell me, Mulla, which of your relatives can I see without covering my face?" Mulla replied, "Show your face to anyone you want; just make sure you keep it covered in my presence!"
The crazy wisdom tale tells us, in a humorous way, life is full of surprises. Some surprises please us, some displease us. Some among us may opine we have had our share and plus of displeasing surprises.
Our one sane choice in such an uncertain existence is to ground our lives in Something certain. We can call that God ~ many things ~ but let us not trivialize that Mystery, please, like the man who told me his God could be a light bulb if he chose. I would not want to trust a light bulb, especially seeing it can blow-out at any moment.
Contemplative Prayer, as well as some other other meditation means, teaches us this trust in Something larger than ourselves ~ in this writing, I will henceforth refer to this Something as "the Beloved" or "Grace."
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Through passive, loving openness to Grace, a purposeful turning of the will in intimate inwardness, we are acting faithfully. This faith act, notes the French contemplative theologian Francois de Fénelon (1651-1715), is a slow martyrdom to the false self that refuses to see the Beloved as fully in the travails Grace allows as the consolations It sends:
This momentary dependence,~ this darkness and this peace of soul, under the utter uncertainty of the future,~ is a true martyrdom, which takes place silently and without stir. It is death by slow fire. And the end comes so imperceptibly and internally, that it is often almost as much hidden from the sufferer, as from those who are unacquainted with that person's state.