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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

You Cannot Be What God Is Not

If you thought Thomas Aquinas was some dusty old theologian think again! In Love Poems from God Daniel Ladinsky has a wonderful way of selecting passages from many "Sacred voices from East and West" and translating or presenting them in bite sized pieces. Here's one from the aforementioned Thomas Aquinas:

You Cannot Be What God Is Not

All are having a relationship with God.
A pear taken from a limb and
set in a bowl,

surely it is talking to its Lord,
and happy that it is being honored for its life,

and somehow knowing
that soon it will be
returning to

We use words like "returning".
Think about that. Inherent in that word is

and separation from God is never
really possible.

What can you be that He is not? "You
cannot be what I am not,"
my Lord once said to me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Prayer is Resonance

I am re-reading Richard Rohr's book The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See. It is well worth many "re-reads"! Today I was struck by his thought that the essence of prayer is resonance - being "on the same wavelength", "tuned in"... Here's part of what he says:

"The traditional and most universal word to describe a different access to truth was simply to "pray about something." But that lovely word "prayer" has been so deadened by pious use and misuse that we now have to describe this different mental attitude with new words. I am going to introduce a different word here, so you can perceive prayer in a fresh way, and perhaps appreciate what we mean by contemplation. The word is "resonance". Prayer is actually setting out a tuning fork. All you can really do in the spiritual life is get tuned to receive the always present message. Once you are tuned, you will receive, and it has nothing to do with worthiness or the group you belong to, but only inner resonance and the capacity for mutuality (Matthew 7:7-11). The Sender is absolutely and always present and broadcasting; the only change is with the receiver station.

Prayer is indeed the way to make contact with God/Ultimate Reality, but it is not an attempt to change God's mind about us or about events. Such attempts are what secularists make fun of - and rightly so. It is primarily about changing our mind so that things like infinity, mystery and forgiveness can resound within us. The small mind cannot see Great Things because the two are on different frequencies or channels, as it were. The Big Mind can know big things, but we must change channels. Like will know like.


Most simply put, as we've seen, prayer is something that happens to you. (Romans 8:26-27), much more than anything you privately do. It is an allowing of the Big Self more than an assertion of the small self. Eventually you will find yourself preferring to say, "Prayer happened and I was there" more than "I prayed to day". All you know is that you are being led, being guided, being loved, being used, being prayed through - and you are no longer in the driver's seat. God stops being an object of attention like any other object in the world, and becomes at some level your own "I am". You start knowing through, with and in Somebody Else. Your little "I am" becomes "We Are". Please trust me on this. It might be the most important thing I am saying in this book."