Contemplative practice is a receptive practice. We make ourselves available for grace to break in; we open ourselves to listen and to ponder. In visio divina, we move our awareness into our hearts and let our vision arise from this place of integration rather than analysis, and receptivity rather than grasping after the things we desire. Our intention is to see things from a new perspective, but the paradox is that this longing requires us to relinquish our usual ways of relating to the world……..Christine Valters Paintner
to be in dialogue with the light…..this means finding and holding the shadow first, coaxing it gently and playfully toward the light…..heart open…..in between the winter hours…..
“Put yourself in the way of grace,” says a friend of ours, who is a monk, and he smiles his floating and shining smile. And truly, can there be a subject of more interest to each of us than whether or not grace exists, and the soul? And, consequently upon the existence of the soul, a whole landscape of incorruptible forces, perhaps even a source, and almost palpably suggested second universe? A world that is incomprehensible through reason? To believe in the soul- to believe in it exactly as much and as hardily as one believes in a mountain, which is ever in view- imagine the consequences! How far-reaching, and thoroughly wonderful. For everything, by such a belief, would be charged, and changed. I believe in the soul- in mine, and yours, and the blue-jay’s, and the pilot whale’s. I believe each goldfinch flying away over the course ragweed has a soul, and the ragweed too. Not romantically do I believe this, not poetically, nor emotionally, nor metaphorically except as all reality is metaphor, but steadily, lumpishly, and absolutely. The wild waste spaces of the sea, and the pale dunes with one hawk hanging in the wind, they are for me the formal spaces that, in a liturgy, are taken up by prayer, song, sermon, silence, homily, scripture, the architecture of the church itself. And as with prayer, which is a dipping of oneself to the grass itself, and sky itself, and to the floating bird. I too leave the fret and enclosure of my own life. I too dip myself toward the immeasurable…..Mary Oliver
You were within me, and I was outside, and it was there I searched for you. On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eyes of my soul, what was beyond the eyes of the soul, beyond my spirit, your immutable light…St. Augustine