An excerpt from John Main OSB, “Integrity,” WORD MADE FLESH (London: DLT, 1993), pp. 55-56.
It often seems as if we rush through life at such high speed while in our heart there is the essential interior flame of being. Our rushing often brings it to the point of extinction. But when we sit down to meditate, in stillness and simplicity, the flame begins to burn brightly and steadily.
As we abandon thinking in terms of success and self-importance, the light of the flame helps us to understand ourselves and others in terms of light, warmth and love.
The mantra leads us to this point of stillness where the flame of being can burn bright. It teaches us what we know, but frequently forget, that we cannot live a full life unless it is grounded on some underlying purpose. Life has an ultimate significance and value that is only really discovered in the still steadiness of being, which is our essential rootedness in God.
It is terribly easy to let life become mere routine. Roles can easily take the place of being. We fall into playing the routine roles of student, mother, husband, manager, monk or whatever. . . Jesus came to tell us that life is not about playing roles or being a functionary in some system. It is about meaning and purpose felt in the depth of our stillest being. Our value arises from who we are in ourselves, not what we do in a role-image of ourselves.
The ultimate meaning of God does not arise from what society says we are—that would be to “prefer human approval to the approval of God,” as Jesus put it. When St Thomas More was imprisoned in the Tower of London for preferring his conscience to the approval of the king, his public role was destroyed and he became a common criminal. Yet his integrity was not destroyed. He knew who he was not only in the eyes of the world, or even his own eyes, but in the eyes of God. He enjoyed a profound confidence arising from the true depth of self-knowledge, which let him know who he was eternally. . . .
Each of us similarly, but in terms of our unique destiny, must discover the fundamental truth about ourselves. Rooted in God, we must be open to the love that redeems us from illusion and shallowness. We must live out of that personal infinite holiness which we have as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Discovering that the same Spirit that created the universe dwells in our hearts, and in silence is loving to all, is the purpose of every life.
After meditation: an excerpt from Beatrice Bruteau, “Heart of Jesus, Root of Reality,” RADICAL OPTIMISM: Rooting Ourselves in Reality (New York: Crossroad, 1993), p. 102.
There was a road from our exterior, back through the layers of our being, into the heart. There the knower and the known coincide. We are truth. Now, together with Jesus, we realize that we are life. Traced back to our Source, we are life in ourselves (John 5:26). . .In Abhishiktananda’s words: “Nothing remains but being.. . . being, pure light, undivided infinite light, light itself, the glory of being, the fullness of all joy. . .the Joy of Being, God all in all.”
Carla Cooper - firstname.lastname@example.org