An excerpt from John Main OSB, “Self-Will and Divine-Will,” MONASTERY WITHOUT WALLS: The Spiritual Letters of John Main (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2006) pp. 195-96.
St Paul tells us that there is a light shining in our hearts. St John tells us that this light is the point of divine consciousness, of infinitely pure love, to be fond and worshipped in every person—the light that enlightens everyone who comes into this world.
This is what it means to be human: to enshrine this unique and universal divine one-pointedness. St Paul and St John are witnesses to this. But our own experience must also teach us that everything and everyone is enlightened by this same point of light that we find in ourselves. We must discover others in ourselves and ourselves in others. We must become real selves. Divine love is the originating and sustaining power of all creation and consciousness. Our hopes for peace are not vain hopes because the experience of God, in the Christ-light shining within us, leads peace and unifies us. It harmonizes our interior forces and satisfies our every desire beyond anything we can imagine or desire.
Life is the pursuit of wisdom because wisdom requires that we learn to live out of the resources of this light and energy. To be wise is to be in harmony with it and vitalized by it. To slip out of this harmony is to descend from wisdom to mere cleverness and to begin to slides down the slope that ends in the hell of non-being. This slipping is the reverse of the process of conversion. Whenever someone is travelling in this reverse direction, they may see everything that a person in conversion sees but they see it in reverse as mirror images of reality. Whereas conversion leads us to love and more life, slipping increases only the egoism which diminishes life. Love is creative; egoism is death-dealing. Conversion is commitment to the creativity of love. . . .This is met with in individuals as well as in societies. In both, affluence and power are not the test of true creativity. The only trustworthy measure is the depth of peace flowing from the center that harmonizes all its parts in love.
After Meditation: William Stafford, “Love in the Country,” STORIES THAT COULD BE TRUE (New York: Harper and Row, 1977); quoted in The Writer’s Almanac, Thursday, May 10, 2012.
LOVE IN THE COUNTRY
We live like this: no one but
some of the owls awake, and of them
only near ones really awake.
In the rain yesterday, puddles
on the walk to the barn sounded their
quick little drinks.
The edge of the haymow, all
soaked in moonlight,
dreams out there like silver music.
Are there farms like this where
no one likes to live?
And the sky going everywhere?
While the earth breaks the soft horizon
eastward, we study how to deserve
what has already been given us.
Carla Cooper - firstname.lastname@example.org