WARM GREETINGS to all Friends of Silence! Every once in a while it seems good to give thanks to all the friends -- living and dead -- who offer the gift of their guidance and insights by way of writing. Books like THE CLOUD UNKNOWING ... one can only marvel and be grateful for the simple, radical and profound guidance that unknown author offers for the life of solitude, silence and prayer appropriate to all times:
This is what you are to do: Love God. Go to a quiet place. Calm yourself. And with a gentle stirring of love lift your heart up to God, loving God not for any gifts, but instead, love God for God's sake alone. Sitting thus, do not think about the presence of feelings that God is near. Do not cling to any thought of God, regardless of how sublime the thought might be. Do not pray for anyone or for yourself, regardless of the immensity of the need. Let your love for God alone be your sole concern. Of course, you will make mistakes, for, after all, you do not know what you are doing. You do not know how to life up your heart "with a gentle stirring of love." The very simplicity and radicality of what you are led to do leads you into the obscurity of the contemplative way. But no matter, led by God's promptings you learn (without knowing how) to listen to God's gentle stirrings of love within you. As the gentle stirring is meek, so, too, is your lifting up of it to God. As it is unseen, beyond the reach of your power to comprehend it, so, too, is your lifting up of this stirring. As it is fiery and mighty, so, too, your humble self-offering to God, loving God for God's own sake.
Two medieval mystics, Hildegard and Hadewijch, are models in a distinctive way. Their willingness to become passionately involved with Christ made them alive with love. They are not boring. Their lives teem with intense participation in life. They said yes to being in love, to the dangers and tribulations of that state as well as to its joys and satisfactions ... Each of these women stand as reminders that we are not alone in our choice to live and love with passion. They knew intimately a passionate God who freely and generously invited them to share in that passion. They responded affirmatively and call us to do the same. The passion of God is guaranteed to call us out from the moral security of obedience to the law toward our own deepest humanity. Passion involves a transformation in which service to others, healing, relief, comfort, hope and forgiveness take on a radically new character. The person who has allowed passion to have its way returns to love and life and service with new verve and feeling. The experience of passion wounds with the fire of love and opens the door to the utter fullness of humanity in God.
My Beloved is the mountains,
And lonely wooded valleys,
And resounding rivers,
The whistling of love-stirring breezes,
The tranquil night
At the time of rising dawn,
The supper that refreshes and deepens love.
The saints speak of something they call the inextinguishable light. It is a light not of the eye but of the heart that never ceases to walk in purity and clearness. It swiftly leaves the darkness behind, and constantly strives towards the day's height. Its constant quality is to be continually purified. This is the light of eternity that can never go out, and that shines through the veil of time and matter. The saints never say that this light is given to them, but that it is given only to those who have purified their hearts in love for the Lord, on the narrow way which they have freely chosen.
Love is something which IS. Not having to be talked about, it expresses itself in your life as naturally as breathing. Reflecting itself in your being and attitude, it is the real you. Love is the Beloved within you. Love is absolutely free. It can never be boxed up, for that is not divine love; that is human possessive love which cannot withstand the stresses and strains in life. Divine love is limitless and able to withstand anything. The little self and its reactions are pushed out of the way when divine love flows freely in and through a soul. With pure love in your heart you can go anywhere, face anyone, for you have within you the strength of God's divine love.
Sometimes I seek another word to express the word 'love'; but in this land of exile the word which begins and ends is quite incapable of rendering the vibrations of the soul: we must then adhere to the simple and only word: To Love.