The Mystery of Hidden Consolation

Thomas Merton's hermitage at The Abbey of Our ...

Thomas Merton’s hermitage at The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is from Thomas Merton’s Dialogues With Silence

Lady, the night has got us by the heart.

The whole wide world is tumbling down.

Words turn to ice in my dry throat

Praying for a land without prayer,

Walking  to you on water all winter

In a year that wants more war.

Aisthetic

English: By Rembrandt.

English: By Rembrandt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These ideas are taken from an article by Stefanie Knauss on the theology of the senses. I was happy to find a name for what I have come to know intuitively. I also know that I have prayed in this way all my life. I feel the direct contact with beauty is a way to know God. Stefanie calls this aisthetic theology. In the encounter with the arts, with the beautiful  our focus is on the sensory experience of the works and overcomes the tendency to intellectualize the aesthetic experience. It broadens the horizon of aesthetic theology by showing that theologically relevant  sensory experiences can be made not only through high art (Mozart‘s, operas, Rembrandt’s paintings, etc.) but there are many more forms of art that address the senses in manifold ways: taste in the art of cooking, smell in the art of perfumery, or touch in the art of textiles and design. I refer you to Brent Plate’s work  “The Skin of Religion”. This theology, inspired by the senses and inspiring the senses, can then make God be tasted and smelled,” for your love is better than wine, your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is perfume poured out, therefore the maidens love you” (Cant1,2-3)

Creative Beauty

English: Pumpkins ready for the Central Park P...

English: Pumpkins ready for the Central Park Pumpkin Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each heart is full of creative beauty. We can excavate the fresh intimations of mystery.

To get to that place when something is known as for the first time and we must communicate that joy by some expression of art.

The more we tend to our soul work the heart becomes surrounded by the realization that we have inherited a beautiful world and nothing is closed to us.

The Garden of Hope

Allegory of hope; Oil on canvas, Francesco Gua...

Allegory of hope; Oil on canvas, Francesco Guardi, 1747 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Turn everything over in the interior garden. Leave everything in the care of Christ the gardener. cultivate hope in the living garden.

Hope is the bridge from faith to love. The new self is open to delight in all earthly and heavenly things, preparing us to take on God’s feelings for the universe.

The self is silently being worked on beyond the self experience that blocked encounter with the other. We have the capacity to be allured by the future.

We don’t see clearly but we see joyfully. We see the promise that comes to us from the future.

Hope is the key through the impasse. When memory becomes a silent place, hope takes over. The burden and pleasure of the past can inhibit creative response to the present. The past is replaced by renewed confidence and purpose and potential. God is the goal of all human hoping. It is God’s doing but we must do all we can.

Jig saw puzzler

Deutsch: Burg Hohenzollern Türkçe: Stuttgart y...

Deutsch: Burg Hohenzollern Türkçe: Stuttgart yakınında Bisingen belediyesinde bulunan Hohenzollern Kalesi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wisdom comes in a box with 750 pieces. These Autumn nights leave me with the compulsion to work on the Hohenzollern Castle. Maybe I will learn about patience.

I have learned that I can be easily encouraged by the smallest successes.

I have learned that I must look closely, very, very closely.

I have learned that if I persist in only one way I will fail to see things from another perspective

I trust that I have not been sold a puzzle that has missing pieces.

There is a big picture and it is fun to discover it.

Gossamer Nights

English: Grazing Sheep and Gossamer. The whole...

English: Grazing Sheep and Gossamer. The whole field was covered with gossamer, virtually invisible unless a low viewpoint was taken into the sun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kissed by a light sleeper. Fire is kindled. Autumnal winds. Leaves cling to skeleton trees. The shadow dream, the inner song is coming to life. The restless wind and rain comfort me in my familiar sanctuary.

Sobornost

Sobornost means a kind of collegiality. I am prompted to meditate on the communion of all creation. My prayer with the Russian Orthodox folks, the walk in the woods, the waves on the lake at night, the beauty of every person I see leads me to gratitude and hope. This consciousness of a real connection with all that is a liturgy of sorts. Communion is continuous. There are no distractions, that is good news.

Lithuanian Russian Orthodox Church

Lithuanian Russian Orthodox Church (Photo credit: FlissJ)

The clue is not to exclude everything but to bring it all in.

Evocative Listening

English: Evocative light at Dundrum Inner Bay....

English: Evocative light at Dundrum Inner Bay. Despite looking like a sunset or sunrise, this picture was taken mid morning. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have all the answers we need right within us. We only need to evoke them and listen to our heart. Do not invalidate those seemingly non-sensical renderings from our fears, wants, or sorrows or dreams. We must listen for they bear the secret of who we are. We are not separate from our experience, past, present and future. Our past can be a source of wisdom. For the present and future try going with your intuition. As I have tried this I find my old ways less helpful because my head was always several steps behind my heart. I really needed to listen to the evokings of my heart.

La Verna or Subuiaco

Prayer flags on Renjo La

Prayer flags on Renjo La (Photo credit: Oliphant)

Great Saints had there landscapes of prayer, as we do. We are all nature mystics. It is not sentimental or foolish romanticism. It is Life. The Experience of the landscape in poetry by Shelley or Keats or that of a farmer or North American Indian is all one experience of the contact that enriches prayer. It is no wonder that natural places have always been sought out  for prayer.