Written in January 2018
The human heart longs for understanding,
it longs for unconditional acceptance.
Not only that another will desire
and choose to be there for me,
but that another will truly understand,
will enter into my own inner experience
and abide with me, side by side,
heart with heart…yes,
hearts abiding in one another,
completely and forever.
How often have I not experienced
the desire for another to penetrate into this place,
to dwell with me in my solitude,
and, yes, to welcome me into theirs?
But I came to understand (though I always knew)
that no one, in this life,
can really enter into
and understand this place completely.
That is…unless it is you, my God,
who have already done so,
and remain here in every moment,
offering me your understanding, love,
your sheltering and sustaining embrace.
As I enter into silence,
letting go of the thirst for a human “other”
so as to immerse myself in the Other whom you are,
I come to realize in my being
that you, while wholly Other,
are also more intimate to me
than I am to myself.
And in the consolation of your presence,
my heart melts in gentleness
—gentleness not only toward myself,
whom you so tenderly love,
but also toward others, toward each person,
whom, from this vulnerable place of my heart
I learn, more deeply, to understand.
Yes, then I learn the most beautiful service,
the heart of all true love.
Love is not above all to “give” something
to others who need to receive it from me.
Rather, it is to welcome them
in unreserved acceptance,
and to offer them the understanding
for which they so deeply thirst.
The wellspring of all true love
The bud from which self-giving blossoms
is contemplative repose.
This is the repose of welcoming,
that vulnerable opening of every door
to allow the beloved to come in and to dwell.
If I could spend every moment of my life
—and my eternity, too, my God!—
simply welcoming the mystery
of the unique persons whom you have made,
this would be an endless source of joy.
But even deeper, of course,
there is the one Beloved—you yourself—
whose gift and presence alone is enough for me.
It is within you, and never without,
that I can welcome others as they come to me.
Indeed, only within your acceptance of me,
my God, can I, in you, accept them.
Joy, I said, springs from this acceptance.
This is true, but there is also something more.
Beauty gives birth to joy within the heart;
it enkindles the flame of gratitude.
But beauty also wounds the heart,
rends it open with longing,
with restless desire for the fullness
which, in this life, is only glimpsed.
For how can I truly receive, within my heart,
the whole mystery of the other?
How, indeed, can I receive the full truth
of even a single thing that you have made?
No, only in eternity
will this intimate understanding,
this mutual indwelling of hearts, be full.
There, enveloped within your embrace, my God,
I will be able to welcome, to hold, to cherish them
in the fullness with which you, my God, do,
and, for my part, to be welcomed, held,
and cherished by the beloved too.
For both of us together, inseparable,
will be held by you, the perfect Lover,
sheltered in your arms, your Heart,
and caressed by you as a child
in the arms of her mother,
or a bride in the arms of her Bridegroom.
There is one more thing, Father,
that I would like to say
about this mystery of acceptance.
There is another aspect of this mystery
of the love-wounded and beauty-wounded heart.
And this is that, in this life,
love always blossoms in the night.
The fullness of the Daylight
awaits the dawning of the eternal Day.
So now we walk in the darkness
—but as your Son said,
not in the darkness at all,
but in the light of faith.
And yet this light is the light of mystery,
the light of loving trust.
It is like two persons who sit side by side,
together, gazing at the moon and stars.
Something is seen, but little,
and more is felt, but not all.
Indeed, the deeper goes the glimpse
of beauty and mystery beyond the veil,
the more restless the heart becomes for fullness.
And yet, on the other hand,
precisely in this veiled mystery
the fullness is given in desire and in hope.
Yes, my God, you already live
deep within my heart,
your abode in the inmost recesses of my soul.
And yet you make your habitation here
shrouded in the veil of sacredness,
the stillness, silence, and solitude of night.
And thus, my God, within the night alone
am I truly united to you—
beyond what is seen, or felt, or thought—
in the nakedness of Heart-to-heart encounter.
At times there are glimpses of this union,
of what you, dear God, have done in me,
and what you unceasingly continue to do.
Perhaps it is in the eyes of another person,
in the beauty, the joy, or the sorrow on their face.
Perhaps it is in the reflection of my own heart
which I glimpse in what I see of their own.
In the taste of interpersonal communion
I taste, Father, the communion that is mine with you.
But when I turn back to solitude,
to the silence and stillness of the night,
there is no one to reflect for me
your presence alive within my heart.
What, then, dear God?
Where do I seek for you if,
finding you in others, I yearn for you in yourself,
and yet turning to you in solitude
I cannot lay hold of your presence,
which the presence of others revealed to me?
There is only, my God, one thing,
then, which unites me to you
in the fullness of your mystery:
it is the loving trust and trusting love,
the naked surrender and surrendered acceptance
which is your very life in me.
It is that faith which opens my being
in virginal acceptance
of the gift of who you are.
It is that love which abandons all I am,
in obedient poverty and holy desire,
into your mysterious, loving care.
It is the hope which is the seed
of mystery already implanted in my heart,
that ineffable presence of the Beloved
who has made his repose within my breast.
Yes, as I draw in breath
there is an impalpable certainty,
and experience beyond experience,
of he who is a perfume within my bosom,
whose Name is oiled poured out in me.
His closeness both consoles and wounds,
like the smell of a beloved person’s clothing,
which, in their absence,
both brings them near and yet wounds the heart
for the fullness of their presence.
It is so with you, my Jesus;
you are close to me
in the slightest stirring of the breeze,
in the beauty of the sunrise or sunset,
in the smile or the voice of a friend.
Yes, you are here especially
through the sweet perfume of your love,
through the oil of your Name.
You are here in fullness, in Body and Blood,
and in the divine mystery alive in me.
The whole of the Trinity, God of all,
lives deep within my soul.
And yet in all of these ways, dear God,
your closeness is so hidden,
veiled behind the opacity of life.
To glimpse you only wounds the more,
and to be wounded only allows another glimpse.
When, then, my God, my Life, my All,
will the veil of this life be rent?
When will the fabric of my life be undone,
as you sever the last thread…
so that I may pass over beyond death’s boundary
into perfect and abiding communion with you
and, in you, with every one?
But I am not restless, my God,
in my restlessness,
to leave behind this life.
Rather, let me simply dwell,
heart completely open, arms stretched wide
—embracing all of my brethren
as I, loving Father, am embraced by you—
loving unceasingly within your beloved Son,
who has loved me—loved us—so perfectly,
and in whom heaven and earth are united…
in whom eternity intersects fully
with each moment of time.