MAY JOY BE WITH YOU, friends, as we move from the dark days of winter toward the spring-light! Even in joy, we know that:
Deeply spiritual persons experience the suffering in the world as their own suffering. Their skin is like a dividing membrane through which events flow into each other. But they do not let it overtake them and destroy their spirit, their ability to choose life. To live deeply in the spirit is to be able to see beyond the immediate evidence of brokenness. It is to seek the not yet, but possible future. To live deeply in the spirit is to find the courage to create in the midst of darkness.
Prayer is naught else but a yearning of the soul... When it is practiced with the whole heart, it has great power. It makes a sour heart sweet, a sad heart merry, a poor heart rich, a foolish heart wise, a timid heart courageous, a sick heart well, a blind heart full of vision, a cold heart ardent. For it draws down the great God into the little heart; it drives the hungry soul up to the plentitude of God; it brings together these two lovers, God and the soul, in a wondrous place where they speak much of love.
An inner city priest went to the home of a poor old lady in the parish. She was dying. When the priest came to her side, she said, "Don't talk and don't run." She seemed to want to die fully appreciative of her life in God, which was too deep for any consoling words at that point. And she wanted to die appreciative of the human community that incarnates God's presence on this plane of existence, which was too deep for words but not for silent, prayerful human presence. That is contemplative dying.
...We can approach all of the myriad little ego deaths, all the ways we don't get what we want (as opposed to what we need) in our lives, in the same way as that woman faced physical death... We need to leave room for the silence that can free the wonder, as well as for words.
So long as we do not die to ourselves, and so long as we are identified with someone or something, we shall never be free. The spiritual way is not for those wrapped up in exterior life.
Letting go is never easy. The desire to have, to hold, to possess and to control is part of our nature. But the more powerful part yearns to learn the lesson of growth and openness; to enter the mystery of secret loving without desiring, to live in emptiness and stillness and therefore in a state of receptivity and readiness so that the quality of our being and "our being present to" are all that matter.
I come from God,
I belong to God,
I return to God.
God's grace cannot be found in the sense that lost property is found ... It can only be found in seeking God and surrendering ourselves in self-abandoning love, unconditionally and forever. We should continue to ask ourselves as we go through life whether we feel that we are being granted this favor of living by dying to ourselves.
Surrender is not an abandonment of ourselves in the face of difficulty, nor is surrender synonymous with submission, we yield ourselves to God freely, not under coercion. Surrender is not resignation. It is an invitation to be ourselves more fully... Surrender is not so much a giving up as it is an OPENING up. It is a dynamic living and striving in the face of the unknown. When we surrender in faith, we enter into the power of God, into the realm of all possibility. We open ourselves to new perspectives, thoughts and dimensions of life yet to be explored. We do not give ourselves in the sense of extinguishing ourselves. Instead, the little lick of light we are joins with the holy flaming that is God. We are brought more fully into ourselves and at the same time brought into that fullness which is greater than all that is.
Direct experience suggests that contemplation and deep self-forgetfulness draw us into God, in whom we have our life and being. This magnetic, purifying silence has healing power: it fuses time -- brings past, present and future to a single still and perfect point. Here healing (what we call a miracle) is automatic. This stillpoint is love, and only love heals.
It is the nature of a word to reveal what is hidden. The word that is hidden still sparkles in the darkness and whispers in the silence. It entices us to pursue it, to yearn and sigh after it. For it wishes to reveal to us something about God.
There is an old story about a famous rabbi living in Europe who was visited one day by a man who had traveled by ship from New York to see him. The man came to the great rabbi's dwelling, a large house, and was directed to the rabbi's room, which was in the attic. He entered to find the master living in a room with a bed, a chair, and a few books. The man had expected more. After greetings, he asked, "Rabbi, where are your things?”
The rabbi asked in return, "Well, where are yours?"
The visitor replied, "But, Rabbi, I"m only passing through."
And the master answered, "So am I, so am I."