August 21 Readings

From Laurence Freeman OSB, “Patterns and Identities,” THE SELFLESS SELF (Norwich: Canterbury), pp. 47-48.

Faith does not make sense, it does not make reality, unless it is repeated, unless it perseveres.  What do we persevere in? And how is it that simple perseverance brings about an expansion in depth of life, consciousness and being?

  Faith is perseverance in the real identity that is ours, in the enduring identity that only commitment can reveal.  Unless we are committed we have no constant identity.  T  he ego is the self before it has found commitment in something beyond itself. . . .

The level at which we commit ourselves is the degree to which our identity is realized. If we are committed only to things at the level of egoism, our identity will not be realized beyond the level of the ego’s shifting moods and masks.  If we are committed to the values, and so the challenges, of what is deeper than the ego, then an identity begins to emerge at the level of the true self. The form of our identity changes the more deeply we are committed, the more faithful we are. Even our nature changes as we meditate, daily, over the years.

We become increasingly less self-conscious about the change that occurs with us because our very self-consciousness is disappearing.  We know that we are changing, and we know it through the other, because we find ourselves more in love.  We find ourselves acting less out of the fixed patterns of the ego and more out of the every-expanding, and therefore indefinable, form of the true self.  As we develop the unique and infinitely lovable identity that we have been given to find and realize, we discover ourselves becoming the person God chose before the world began.

It is like a waterfall.  Someone says to you, “Come and see this beautiful waterfall,” You go and see it and you see incredible power, an immeasurable quantity of water, cascading down the mountainside.  It is the waterfall they wanted to see but it can never be the same waterfall. From moment to moment it changes.  It is always changing, always new, always falling away from itself and yet rooted in its own identity.  In faith, human consciousness is aware of this because faith brings us to the vision of what we truly are even as we become it. Without faith, we see only fixed patterns that are, in fact, decaying.  By faith, we see expanding patterns that are evolving. We see the soul and we see each person is a flowing stream of light.  The identity of each infinitely lovable person is energy in a constant state of transformation. . . .

In meditation we find this power at our own source. We drink from our own wells. But we drink directly from the stream that feeds the well. We drink in the light of being from the Source from which light flows, the divine Spirit, the eternal spring of living water.  The more deeply we drink, the more faithful we are, the more we become light.

After Meditation, from Olivier Clemont, The Roots of Christian Mysticism (London: New City, 1995), p. 236.

To catch a glimpse of the divine light as if through a narrow [space] is none the less to broaden the soul prodigiously. A gleam is enough for everything to be transformed.