Sunday, November 19, 2006

Practical Words from a Master Mystic

Sometimes it's hard to find the right balance between being with others whom we love while also craving the solitude which we know helps us come closer to God. It's a real balancing act.

Especially for this tail end of the Church year, here is some advice from Meister Eckhart (around 1260-1327), Dominican theologian, from his Spiritual Conversations.

“We must pray always and not lose heart”

Someone asked me the following: Many people would like to withdraw completely from the world and to live in solitude so as to find peace there, or to remain in church. Could it be that this is the best one can do? I say: No!

And this is why. The person with an upright attitude is at ease everywhere and with everybody; but the person who is lacking in integrity is uncomfortable everywhere and with everybody. The person who possesses God alone has in mind only God, and all things become God alone for him.
Such a person carries God in all he does and in every place, and that person’s every activity takes on a divine character…Certainly, for this, zeal and love are necessary as well as attentive watchfulness over one’s conscience, vigilant, true and effective intelligence, which directs our entire spiritual attitude where things and people are concerned.

One cannot acquire that intelligence through an evasive attitude by fleeing from things in order to find refuge in solitude, far away from the external world. On the contrary, one has to learn an interior solitude wherever and with whomever one might be.
One has to learn to penetrate to the bottom of things so as to take hold of God there… That is how we must be filled with the presence of God, remodeled after the form of the God of love, and we must be entirely one with him, so that God’s presence might illuminate us without our least effort.

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