Weekly Readings 6/1/2013

An excerpt from John Main OSB, “The Oceans of God” in MONASTERY WITHOUT WALLS (Norwich: Canterbury, 2006), pp. 222-223.

Our life is a unity because what is real in it is centered in the mystery of God. But to know its unity we have to see beyond ourselves with a perspective greater than when self-interest dominates.

 Only when we turn from self-interest and self-consciousness does this larger perspective begin to open.

Another way of saying that our vision expands is to say that we come to see beyond mere appearances, into the depth and interconnected meanings of things. Not just the depth and significance in relation to ourselves is involved, but depth in relation to the whole to which we belong. This is the way of self-knowledge and it is why true self-knowledge is identical with true humility. Meditation opens up for us this precious form of knowledge. It is what enables us to pass beyond mere objectivity—merely looking at the mystery of God as observers---and to enter the mystery of itself. Knowledge becomes wisdom when we enter the silence, the “cloud” of the mystery, and when we know, no longer by mental analysis and definition, but by direct participation in the heart in the spirit of Christ.

We learn by the path of meditation what cannot be learned otherwise and what is unknowable as long as we hesitate to become pilgrims of the spirit. 

After meditation: “New Year Resolve,” May Sarton, COLLECTED POEMS (New York: Norton, 1993), noted in THE WRITER’S ALMANAC FOR DECEMBER 30, 2012.


The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.

Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.

Let silence in.
She will rarely speak or mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.

For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.

Carla Cooper - cmcooper@gvtc.com