As the soul becomes more pure and bare and poor, and possesses less of created things, and is emptied of all things that are not God, it receives God more purely, and is more completely in God; and it truly becomes one with God, and it looks into God and God into it, face to face as it were; two images transformed into one.
*Meister Eckhart. Meister Eckhart, A Modern Translation. Ed. Raymond B. Blackney.
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A seeker after the gift of spiritual enlightenment visited a Sage. The seeker, questioning the Sage, asked, “Sir, please tell me of your visions.” The Sage replied, “I have had none.” Stunned, the seeker asked, “Then, tell me of your trances.” “I have had no trance,” came the reply. The seeker, dumbfounded, asked, “Then, tell me of the voices you have heard.” The Sage, again befuddling the seeker, spoke, “I have never heard even one voice inside.” The seeker asked, “And what of your raptures?” “I,” said the Sage, “have not had a single moment of rapture?” The seeker, disappointed, spoke, “Sir, I came a long way thinking you had the gift of enlightenment, but it is clear to me that you are not what I was told.” “I agree,” replied the Sage, “I must not be what you were told.”
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At the heart of Thomas Merton’s works is Contemplation. Merton, possibly the eminent Christian spiritual teacher of the last century, wrote, in New Seeds of Contemplation, that Contemplation, or Silent Prayerfulness, is “the union of the simple light of God with the simple light of our spirit, in love.”
In 1940 Merton had an experience formative for his teaching and experience of this Contemplation and which he wrote of in Seven Storey Mountain. During a visit to Cuba, one Sunday attending Mass in Havana, he heard children at the front of the sanctuary cry out the creed in joyful unison. Merton was struck with a sudden awareness of Sacred Presence. He wrote, “It was a light that was so bright that it had no relation to any visible light and so profound and so intimate that it seemed like a neutralization of every lesser experience.” His first clear thought was, “Heaven is right here in front of me: Heaven, Heaven!” Still, Merton was clear that this light was ordinary and available to everyone. In Contemplation we discover this apparent contradiction, that the most extraordinary reality we can experience is, at the same time, the most ordinary gift we can receive. Likely, this is a reason Merton, who wrote much about Contemplation, including a book Contemplative Prayer, never penned directions on how to do Contemplative Prayer.
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I am, at times, stunned at the relief and quiet joy that arises from seeing how ordinary and simple God-appearing is.
♥ ♥ ♥
Grace and Peace to All
The Sacred in Me bows to the Sacred in You
*Lotus of the Heart is an interspiritual work of Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Florida USA. Brian is a practicing spiritual contemplative, interspiritual Chaplain, and writer of nonfiction and poetry.
*Move cursor over photos for photographer and photo name.
*These presentations, at times, include adaptation to gender-inclusive language in quotes from other writers.