In these often busy days of summer I am always grateful to receive words from “one of the great ones” of the spiritual life. Such was my joy yesterday in picking up The Contemplative Outreach News to see the smiling face of Rev. Thomas Keating. Father Thomas left this world on October 25, 2018 at the age of 95 years but his spirit is as alive as ever and his words remain a goad and challenge for those desiring a deeper spiritual life. Two paragraphs from his brief front-page article require my attention and reflection today. In the first there is solace for people who seem to have too many thoughts to engage at once. In a later paragraph I find a possible answer to my distress at the painful side of life.
- For those progressing on the spiritual journey, even when the consoling aspect of the Divine Presence dissipates because of excessive activity or too much thinking, an interior presence arises that becomes more and more permanent. A shift in consciousness begins to take place. Our rational consciousness is transcended by the awakening of intuitive consciousness. The rational level is not rejected; we simply become free of its limitations. Reason remains available and functional for ordinary daily life, human relationships , and all the needs of embodied activity, but does not overshadow or take away the deeper and abiding awareness of the Divine Presence.
- To know the living God we have to share the sorrow of the Divine Heart. God puts up with endless human error, excess, and sometimes malice, in order to get across to us the most important realities of life, of which God’s unconditional forgiveness and love for everyone is the foremost.