Commited to truth, commited to God.

From John Main, OSB, “Beyond All Images,” THE WAY OF UNKNOWING (New York: Crossroad, 1990), pp. 41-43.

From John Main, OSB, “Beyond All Images,” THE WAY OF UNKNOWING (New York: Crossroad, 1990), pp. 41-43.

[A]t various times in our lives, all of us have wanted to be committed to truth, to be committed to God. All of us have tried, all of us have wanted to pray, and all of us have failed. But at some time we come to the conclusion that the wisdom we receive from the contemplative tradition of prayer is the wisdom that turns the failure into triumph. The silence and poverty we experience in our meditation become self-authenticating. We know that we cannot analyze God. We know that we cannot, with finite minds, understand the infinitude of God. But we also know, or at least we soon begin dimly to suspect, that we can experience God’s love for us. . . .It is this experiential knowledge that teaches us, too, that the images manufactured by the ego, whether of hopelessness or of sanctity, must all give way. None of them can be taken seriously. . . .

Success and failure give way to what we come to know to be true through our own experience of meditation: death and resurrection. Every time we sit down to meditate we die to self and we rise beyond our own limitations to new life in Christ. . .. We come to understand that it is the daily discipline that unmasks the ego. Unmasked, it disappears. We must not be impatient or despondent. We must say our mantra, with faith, day after day. Success or failure will then have no significance. The only thing that is significant is the reality of God, the reality of the presence in our heart. 

After meditation: “I will try” by Mary Oliver in RED BIRD (Boston: Beacon Press, 2008), p. 75.

I will try.
I will step from the house to see what I see
and hear and I will praise it.
I did not come into this world
to be comforted.
I came, like red bird, to sing.
But I’m not red bird, with his head-mop of flame
and the red triangle of his mouth
full of tongue and whistles,
but a woman whose love has vanished,
who thinks now, too much, of roots
and the dark places
where everything is simply holding on.
But this too, I believe, is a place 
where God is keeping watch
until we rise, and step forth again and—
but wait. Be still. Listen!
Is it red bird? Or something
inside myself, singing?

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