Monday, October 10, 2016

... Bacon? Part IV

I assume—incorrectly—that I can know and understand.

I think this is my fundamental error; because only God knows, and only God understands. Filled with the Holy Spirit—if such Grace arrives, and that too is of God's will, not mine—there can be a knowing, but it is a subtle and unknown knowing, a knowing that does not belong to me but is only made manifest within me. When such an unknown knowing occurs, I am a vehicle for it; no more. That Grace which comes belongs to no self but the true Self of God.

All of the impressions formed in me are a part of that vehicle—that vessel—which has the capacity to receive such Grace; and it's a part of the Divine Mystery that this vessel filled with impressions is what becomes a worthy receptacle for our Savior, which is another way of speaking of this Grace. Worthy, mind you, only through Grace; my own worthiness is worthless in comparison with God.

I'm often interested in how stubbornly I believe in the things of this world and the things which are not of God. It is obsessive, really; I constantly imagine that I'm preparing for the events and circumstances of this world, forgetting all the time how temporary it is and how uncertain, really, every event that lies in the imagined future is. I'm reminded of those who've died young; my sister, Rohan, Thurston, Joseph, among others. Each one of them imagined they were preparing for a future which looked predictable and was, without a doubt; of this world. Yet for all of them this world ended abruptly, without resolution. 

This can happen to any of us; even my father, who died at 84, died without resolution, and I could see how it troubled him. Resolution doesn't lie in this world or it's things, I see; it lies in the preparation of the soul and the receiving of Grace. 

That never excuses me from the demands of this world, unfortunately; like all of us I am condemned to prepare for this world anyway, since it is put upon us as a task. Yet I need to also remember, every day of my life, that the true preparation must always lie within—and that what I prepare for is not only unknown, but sacred, and inextricably linked to the health and welfare of the soul.

We have, I think, little sense of the urgency of this in today's world; people who are engaged in inner work so often complain that they "don't work." This was one of Dr. Welch's classic public  remarks: he'd open January celebrations and group meetings with the gruff, brusque, yet sincerest and challenging question, "why don't I work?" One always got the sense he was asking it of himself, not the rest of us.

It's this devotion to the world, I think, that consumes us. Our intuition is too attached to it; little wonder it can find any time to do the real work it needs to do within. Like the attention, the intuition needs to be inverted for an inner sense of the Divine to be established. In both cases, that inversion needs to be turned towards an unknown: and perhaps that is why we avoid it with such vigor. It seems weirdly fruitless to me; what I can hold in my hands often seems far more substantial than what I can hold in the soul. 

Through Grace, I can know the difference; but never through my own works.


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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