April 2003

WORDS TO LIVE BY

 

I have spoken at times of a light in the soul that is uncreated, a light that is not arbitrarily turned on, I am accustomed to hint at it frequently in my sermons, for it refers to the immediacy of God, as undisguised and naked as he is by himself and to the [divine] act of begetting. Thus I may truthfully say that this light is rather to be identified with God than with any [perceptive] power of the soul, even though it is essentially the same. You must know that within my psyche this light takes no precedence over the least and coarsest of my faculties, such as hearing, or vision, or any other that can be influenced by heat or cold, hunger or thirst. This is due to the essential uniformity of the soul. Thus, if one refers the soul's agents back to the soul's essence, the agents are alike and of equal rank, but if the agents are referred to their functions, then some do rank above others. Therefore, I say that to the extent a person can deny himself and turn away from created things, he will find his unity and blessing in that little spark in the soul, which neither space nor time touches. The spark is averse to creatures, and favorable only to pure God as he is in himself. It is not satisfied with the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Spirit, nor with all three persons together, as long as their several properties are preserved. To tell the truth, this light is not satisfied with the unity of this fruitful conception of the divine nature, but I shall go further and say what must sound strange - though I am really speaking the truth - that this light is not satisfied by the simple, still motionless essence of the divine being that neither gives nor takes. It is more interested in knowing where this essence came from. It wants to penetrate the simple core, the still desert, into which no distinction ever crept - neither the Father, the Son, nor the Holy Spirit. It wants to get into the secret, to which no man is privy, where it is satisfied by a Light whose unity is greater than its own. This core is a simple stillness, which is unmoved itself but by whose immobility all things are moved and all receive life, that is to say, all people who live by reason and have their center within themselves. That we, too, may live so intelligently, may God help us? Amen. 

Meister Eckhart - Fragments

 

Sept 2003