There is a false and momentary happiness in self-satisfaction, but it always leads to sorrow because it narrows and deadens our spirit.
— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
I think…there is…hope that, if not tomorrow or the next day, then some fine day, somehow, life will finally give us the present that, when we open it, will turn out to be the one we have waited for so long, the one that will fill the empty place, which is the peace that passeth all understanding, which is the truth, salvation, whatever we want to call it. But one by one, as we open the presents, no matter how rich and wondrous they are, we discover that not one of them by itself, nor even all of them taken together, is the one of our deepest desiring — that ultimately, although her face is beautiful and draws us to her, life by herself does not have that final present to give.
Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Sign by the Highway”
The heart is the dwelling–place where I am, where I live…the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others…The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death.
“…only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully.”
— Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2563
We focused on scriptures that talk about light (as opposed to darkness), beginning with the first ‘word’ of creation in Genesis, moving on to the Word who was with God before creation, who is the light of the world, the life of all people. We talked about the choice between light and darkness. Finally, we talked about being the light of the world ourselves.
We looked at a few prayers for different situations.
We looked at writings from Thomas Merton, Mary Oliver, and Frederick Buechner that emphasized how the anxiety and concerns of daily life can snuff out our flame, the flicker of our ‘real self’. We were repeatedly encouraged to pay attention in order tend to that flame.
It’s been great to have a conversation with Robert (whose blog I follow and enjoy). Would be great to have others join in 🙂
Finally, it’s been a joy for me to do this and to know that you take the time to check in. Grace and peace to all…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and is own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.
— John 1:1-12, NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha