An excerpt from Laurence Freeman OSB, “Anniversary of John Main, December 30th 1996,” WCCM International Newsletter, Winter, 1996.
Perhaps one of the perplexing dilemmas for traditional Christianity today is the meaning of communicating the gospel in a non-competitive way in the context of relationships with other faiths. . . .For the exclusivist Christian, this is nonsensical.
And yet it is what is happening all around all the time today. And perhaps. . . .the Spirit is trying to teach us something. Perhaps Christianity is learning that if it is truly universal it must find and recognize itself in all forms of human spiritual experience and in every kind of spiritual event. [. . . .]
We are today arriving in a new era of religious dialogue, of tolerance, mutual reverence and of leaning from each other which those before us cold never have imagined. Yet is rightness for Christians is attested by the fact that it is so compatible with the personality and example of Jesus. He rejected no-one, tolerated all and saw the mystery of God in all people and in nature. He ate with those he should have despised; he spoke with those he should have avoided. He was as open to others as he was to God. [. . . .]
In Jesus, time and eternity intersect, the Word becomes human words. But the intersection happens in human poverty of spirit. Poverty is the point “where infinite mystery meets concrete existence.’ Poverty is not only the absence of things by the awareness of our need for others, for God. Human neediness is universal. The riches and the most powerful, like the poorest and most marginalized, are all equally in need.
Need is simply the strong feeling that arises in response to the fact of interdependence. We are not separate from each other or from God. Wisdom is the recognition of our inter-relatedness. Compassion is the practice of our connectedness. In meditation we dive to a level of reality deeper than that of our surface, ego-driven minds which so often are caught in the net of illusion of our independence and isolation. Untangling from that net is the daily work of meditation and it is also the new pattern of the practice of the presence of God in ordinary life, which is created by daily meditation.
After meditation: Meister Eckhart, “The Essential Sermons,” cited by Willigis Jager, SEARCH FOR THE MEANING OF LIFE: Essays and Reflections on the Mystical Experiences (Liguori: Triumph Books, 1995).
Whoever really and truly has God. . . .has God everywhere, in the street and in company with everyone, just as much as in church or in solitary places. . . . Who has God essentially present. . . .grasps God divinely; and to him God shines in all things; for everything tastes. . .of God. A person cannot learn this by running away, by shunning things and shutting himself up in an external solitude; but he must practice a solitude of spirit, wherever or with whomever he is. He must learn to break through things and to grasp. . . God in them.
Carla Cooper - firstname.lastname@example.org