Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28th

Another lovely quote:
"Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny...

To work out our own identity in a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears...We do not know clearly beforehand what the result of this work will be.

The way of doing it is a secret I can learn from no one else but God. There is no way of attaining to the secret without faith. But contemplation is the greater and more precious gift, for it enables me to see and understand the work that God wants done."

-Thomas Merton
I think that's why I love writing so much. For me, writing is a way to watch this in action, although I know that this is a process that is being worked through in every part of my life.

Merton doesn't mention it, but I do think the labor also produces joy, despite or alongside the risk and occasional anguish.

There's the joy of self-expression and the joy of knowing oneself as a part of this extraordinary life. And there is joy in watching the people around us as they grow into themselves and into God.

I've been reading this book called The Awakened Heart, by Gerald G. May. My father ordered it while he was here, hoping it would arrive in time for him to take home, but alas for him! It did not, so I have been reading it.

When I send it on to him, it will be much battered, with pages folded down at the corners...

It's very good.

Here's a quote:

"We are meant to give ourselves, live ourselves into love's mystery.

"It is the same for all important things in life; there is a mystery within them that our definitions and understandings cannot grasp. Definitions and understandings are images and concepts created by our brains to symbolize what is real. Our thoughts about something are never the thing itself... The best our thoughts can do is try and keep a little running commentary in rapid, breathless sequence.

"For example, if we try to conform ourselves to our self-concepts, we become neurotic, living according to our images. Similarly, if we cling to solid images of God, we wind up worshiping our thoughts about God instead of God. This is a spiritual neurosis, an idolatry of the mind."
-The Awakened Heart

That is just what I meant when I talked about how I did not wish to make a religion of my personal experiences of God. I was starting to, and thank goodness, I was stopped.

It makes me think of Him saying, "Follow Me," which implies constant forward movement into new territory, changing scenery and new experiences. The one thing that is constant is that we are with Him.

In my experience, if one clings to the old understanding, the old images, even if they are beloved because we associate them with Him, we may lose sight of our living relationship with the Beloved Himself.

God is always to be found in the present moment, and He is always drawing us deeper into Himself.

Here is another quote:

"Watch two lovers at the beach. They walk closely and slowly, open to all the sights and sounds around them, enjoying the feeling of their togetherness. They play like children. There are many moments of just being in love. Then they separate a little, looking for shells, each trusting in the abiding presence of the other. Their freedom is great, but it is not boundless; there is a limit to how far they will go apart. At some point, one or another of them will relinquish his or her own path and return to join the other. Like the ocean by their side, their romance ebbs and flows with freedom and attachment. Yet it is all one experience of love."
-The Awakened Heart