Dec 252012
 

He feels anew the faith of all on earth,
The power of salvation streaming thence;
But as he looks, he feels his very soul
Pervaded by a new and unknown sense:
Who added to the cross the wreath of roses?
It is entwined by blooming clusters dense,
Profusely spreading just as though they could
Endow with softness e’en the rigid wood.

While light and silv’ry clouds, around it soaring,
Seem heavenward with cross and roses flowing,
And from the midst like living waters streaming
A threefold ray from out one core is glowing;
But not a word surrounds the holy token,
The meaning of the symbol clearly showing.
And while the dusk is gath’ring grey and greyer,
He stands and ponders and is lost in prayer.

At last he knocks. The myriad stars above him
Look down with shining eyes as they appear.
The portal opes, and he is bidden welcome
By brethren wont to comfort and to cheer.
So he relates how far by hill and valley
The will of higher Beings led him here.
They stand amazed, for well they see their guest
Was sent to them by heavenly behest.

They crowd around him, and their inmost being
They feel by a mysterious power stirred,
Their breath they hold to listen, for he rouses
An echo in their hearts with ev’ry word.
Like deepest lore, yet uttered by a child,
The wisdom flowing from his lips is heard:
He seems so innocent, like crystal clear,
As though descended from another sphere.

The Mysteries, Goethe

Aug 032011
 

His thoughts and actions continually surprise her, so that, increasingly, she “does not understand” his meaning, as for instance when, in the Temple, he leaves her without warning; when he fails to receive her when she visits him; when he refuses to manifest his power in the public ministry, squandering his life and ultimately slipping from her on the cross, substituting the stranger, John, for himself.

With all the strength she can muster she listens to this Word as it grows more and more vast, divine and seemingly alien; its dimensions almost tear her asunder, yet it is for this, for everything, that she gave her consent right at the start. She lets herself be led where she “does not wish to go” – so far is the Word she follows from being her own wisdom. But she consents to this leading; it is a measure of the fact that the Word, which she loves has been “implanted” in her heart (Jas 1.21).

The Christian who tries to be a hearer of the Word can only experience  these hard, ineluctable and ever-increasing demands in his life if he unreservedly  exposes himself to the Word. On the one hand, certainly, he must genuinely listen to the voice within, to God’s voice in his conscience, to the exhortation of the “interior teacher” (as Augustine  calls Christ’s indwelling in us as Word), in an attitude of docility vis-a-vis  the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

Such an inner listening would correspond in some way to Mary’s inwardly directed contemplation. But it would not be of the same order as her beholding of the Son, bodily present with her, living, acting, challenging her. Without this second element our communion with the Word – hard of hearing and fond of comfort as we are – would be in danger of being stifled.

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Prayer

 

Oct 142010
 

Thrown down from my origin, I have been nursed in this miserable world by a  presence embodied in the motions of the sky.

She the same who cared for Adam, and led his children up through the scale of consciousness according to their capacities.

She is the whole within which all things grow, and the natural propagative power.

She calls to the cypress, and it rises up straight. To man, and her living fluid moves to make him erect.

So I was formed and wandered in the desert, and through the mountains haunted by wild animals around me and inside me.

Then a clarity woke in me, and I saw my soul’s face, and felt drawn upward, but I pulled down still too, by the other, contended for, bewildered, and without guidance, as I ran, as from a burning house, onto a narrow, upward-spiraling, path.

Dangerous cliffs, the summit far off. My only hope was to die.

Then, through that dim murkiness, I saw an old man with a radiant face.

“You are the moon!” I called out. “Where did you come from?”

“I am beyond substance and space. I am creation’s cause, here to lead you back to your home. Hold close, and let my fire consume you. Don’t be afraid of losing your strength here. This fire is one which has a spring of eternal water inside it. As your animal-soul dies, your new soul will be born. Live humbly with me, and I will raise you into majesty.”

He talked more to me in silence, without using syllables. He gave me love and light and eyes to see, and together we set out.

A Soul’s Journey Through the Time-Worlds, Sanai