March 1993 (Vol. VI, No. 3)

May BLESSINGS and NEW LIFE come to you as the light begins to penetrate the dark days of winter ... hints of spring can be seen, heard and felt throughout the land ... promise of renewal and rebirth are with us.

Darkness can be understood to represent emptiness

Darkness can be understood to represent emptiness, the complete overcoming of ignorance: the false perception of reality, the illusion of dualism, of anything existing separately. Emptiness, the womb of enlightenment, can be understood symbolically as darkness ... Emptiness is not nothing. Emptiness refers to the radical insight that there is no individually existing, independently arising, separate self. All that is, is in constant flux, rising and falling in relationship to and with something else. Emptiness is the black of starless midnight, imminence, that comes before the pre-dawn of enlightenment, the "clear light", a state of translucence or transparency that is beyond dark and light. This is a radiant black. This is wisdom.

~ from LONGING FOR DARKNESS by China Galland

In darkness, surrender

Quietly, help me to clear.
Hold me in your wings
that I may trust.
In darkness, surrender.
My own way tortured.

Better, a listening prayer.

~ from ON EARTH AND IN HEAVEN poems by Gretchen Shartle

The night of inner quiet

A hindrance to the fullness of Divine Presence is the lack of silence. The Word comes only in a deeper way when peaceful silence encompasses everything. I may refuse to enter into the night of inner quiet, of non-resistance to the Divine. Then my life is doomed to remain parched and lifeless -- a wasteland. Silence is a gentler rhythm of speaking out and keeping still. The cultivation of silence belongs to the gentle style of life.


If the heavens grew silent

If to anyone the tumult of the flesh grew silent,
silent the images of earth and sea and air;
and if the heavens grew silent,
and the very soul grew silent to herself;
if all dreams and images grew silent,
and every tongue and every symbol --
everything that passes away ...
and in their silence You spoke to us,
not by them, but You yourself;
so that we should hear Your Word,
not by any tongue of the flesh,
not in the voices of an angel,
not in the sound of thunder,
nor in the darkness of a parable --
but that we should hear You ...
should hear You and not them.

~ Augustine speaking with his mother, Monica

Until all old regrets have been dissolved in love and service

Until peace has become an integrated part of me, until all old regrets have been dissolved in love and service, until I have learned to rest completely in a new consciousness of the Spirit, I shall remain where I am. Time, as we reckoned it, does not exist here. Consciousness has taken its place. By the degree of consciousness of the Spirit can we measure the extent of, the habitation of, varying states in our onward progress. To those still in the concept of time, this could take years. For me now, the state of consciousness of living Spirit and the serenity such consciousness works in my soul, is my present and my future in this Life Everlasting.

~ from TESTIMONY OF LIGHT by Helen Greaves

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

When everything familiar has been sheared away -- either because we have physically separated ourselves from our "home", or because our inner exploration has taken us beyond our old self -- we are presented with a great opportunity for spiritual growth. At such time, we are likely to examine our lives more deeply than we ever have before and be asked to trust far beyond our understanding. T.S. Eliot knew this place very well and expressed it eloquently in his poem, "East Coker":

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing;
there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all
in the waiting.

~ from THE FEMININE FACE OF GOD by Sherry Anderson and Patricia Hopkins

I am ready for all, I accept all

Heart of my heart, Breath of my breath,
I abandon myself into your hands;
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank You:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Blessed One.

Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart;
For I love You, and so need to give myself,
To surrender myself into your Hands,
without reserve,
And with boundless confidence,
For You are the Heart of my heart.

~ Charles de Foucauld

It is dark but can illumine

The Way is infinitely high, unfathomably deep. Enclosing heaven and earth, receiving from the formless, it produces a stream running deep and wide without overflowing. Opaque, it uses gradual clarification by stillness. When it is applied, it is infinite and has no day or night. It is restrained but can expand, it is dark but can illumine; it is flexible but can be firm. It absorbs the negative and emits the positive, thus displaying the lights of the sun, moon and stars.

~ from WEN-TZU by Lao-Tzu

Listen to the still small voice of God

Keep an open mind, and listen to the still small voice of God that I am sure speaks to your inner self.
~ Hannah Whitall Smith

Listen rather less to your own thoughts

Listen rather less to your own thoughts, so as to be able to listen more to God.
~ Francois Fenelon

Doubting Castle

I have a key in the silence of my heart called Promise; that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle.

~ John Bunyan

Come light this tiny candle

Come light this tiny candle. Give me a flame of understanding according to Your Word.
~ Madeleine L'Engle