The love of God leads us somewhere – we just do not know where. We have no choice but to follow God into the unknown. Give your heart eyes, alert eyes, eyes wide open to the presence of God. The unhealthy habits of our hearts hinder our ability to embrace God. The biggest obstacle to prayer is the way we pray, trying to verbalize everything. Effective prayer goes beyond words and images; it requires a complete awareness of the present moment.
Prayer stimulates a mindfulness of God, which in turn stimulates acts of love and mercy. Love is service. It is the emptying of self. It is losing in order to find. Acknowledging my own weakness increases my ability to be more merciful towards others. The Christian life can be reduced to this: live the beatitudes.
Am I willing to give up all—or even much—of what I cherish? Or more basically, can I relegate all the things and people whom I consider important in my life to second place, so that God alone occupies the throne of my heart. Before any progress is made along the spiritual path, it seems essential that we consider exactly where our affections lie.
You can’t be converted without becoming naked and seeing clearly all your faults and weaknesses. Self-absorption makes me forget the reality of God. Humility frees me from absorption in myself. Cling to yourself and you will lose yourself. Communion with God is life; separation from God is death.
God hides in a piece of broken bread and in the broken life of a slum-dweller. The life of Christ makes it clear that God choose humility over majesty, that infinity dwells in the finite. Jesus embraced simplicity, poverty and humility. What do we embrace?
While God’s love embraces all people, God has clearly demonstrated deep concern for the poor and the needy, the helpless and the oppressed. God demands that we side with the poor, the powerless and victims of injustice. To walk with the poor is to be in harmony with the will of God. Justice requires that all people have a place to sleep, enough food to eat, and work that makes them feel worthwhile.
The crucified and transfigured Christ’s message of love compels us to judge no one, to exclude no one; moreover, it requires us to help others to carry their cross, fully sharing in their pain and suffering. The incarnation of Christ epitomizes God’s passion for the poor and the disinherited.
Being selfish is exhausting. Being selfless is refreshing. The ego is the source of pain. God is the source of life. God and ego cannot occupy the same thrown in your life.
No matter how grave or slight, all sin is in the will. It is a deliberate choice not to give God everything. Seeing my own weaknesses clearly enables me to acknowledge my own poverty and need for God.
When you forget yourself God remembers you. In emptiness we shall find fullness. The detached heart knows the fullness of peace, joy and freedom, and sees the face of God illuminated in all of creation. To be holy is to be whole.
Without solitude and silence, I easily lose my self. And God. Silence gives me space for receptivity; it allows me to hear the speechless language of God and to respond with our hearts. Silence produces an inner restfulness that helps the soul to soar. The greatest malady of our time is the absence of stillness and silence. To become more and more silent, to enter deeply into creative silence, takes courage. The wordless is foreign to us. Yet God transcends language and intellect. Listen…don’t think. Deep silence is profoundly liberating.
Prayerful silence is more than a lack of words; it is a state of alert stillness. The point is not to rest, but to concentrate and focus the heart and mind on God. Beneath the appearance of passivity is an active state of attentiveness. In deep silence, we are fully awake, fully open and one with God.
To enter the silence of meditation is to enter our own poverty as we renounce words and images, as we renounce thoughts and imagination, as we renounce our concepts and intellect and we sit alert, waiting to hear from God…even if we must wait a lifetime.
The great mystic Meister Eckhart [1260 - 1327] claimed God doesn’t require long vigils, fasting, prayer and mortification from us. But he does demand tranquility. Eckhart urges us to flee and hide from the storm of inner thoughts. Today, he would tell us to also flee the inferno of noise that engulfs modern life. We need unruffled calmness to encounter God.
Here are two random suppositions which I think are somehow connected:
1) It has been calculated that the average American spends 15 years of his or her life in front of a television.
2) Consumerism has killed the spirit of mysticism. The rise in an interest in Tao and Zen demonstrates people are hungry for the fruit of mysticism.
Our lives are a pilgrimage to God. The key to being a pilgrim is to remain still interiorly as you journey…otherwise you are just a wanderer. Each day needs to be a pilgrimage into my own heart.