To the Seeker

If the person is seeking God, much more is her Beloved seeking her.

(St. John of the Cross, Living Flame)

Did you know that way before this new age and even before the 17th century the word enlightenment had a very different meaning than how it later came to be used?  I bring this up because in my last post I accused my ego of trying to take charge of and derail my own enlightenment.  I was using the word in the new age sense of becoming spiritually awakened.  In the 17th century enlightenment came to mean the intellectual movement that developed in Western Europe that highlighted the need for (and the capacity of) human reason to clear away ancient superstition, prejudice, dogma, and injustice.

Today, however, in my reading I came across an altogether different usage of the word.  “It has been said that ‘a person is enlightened’, not when they get an idea’, but ‘when someone looks at them’.  A person is enlightened when another loves them.  The eyes are windows on to the heart; they search the person out and have the power to elicit life.” (Iaian Matthew, The Impact of God)

I was reminded of a  story I heard once that explained the reason there are so many temples and ashrams in India.  You see in India, it is necessary that the faithful have access to sacred places to sit and receive the gaze of the Divine One.  It seems that God needs to give Godself away in Love.  This is also what the Christian mystics know.  They have received God’s penetrating gaze and it has given them life and given them back to themselves.  St. John of the Cross puts it beautifully when he writes:

You looked with love upon me

and deep within your eyes imprinted grace

this mercy set me free,

held in your love’s embrace,

to lift my eyes adoring to your face

(Canticle, stanza 32)

This understanding is new…I am used to thinking I am the doer…and, yet somehow it feels old to me….like some part of me knew it all along.   For a long moment I feel the incredible freedom that comes with this kind of enlightenment.  I can almost feel my heart expanding.  I can’t grow my own heart…but God can.  I can’t give myself back to me…but God can.  For me it is to sit still and hold the divine gaze.

About lchavez64

Seeker. Dreamer. Ordinary girl.

2 responses to “To the Seeker

  1. Cindy Balfour

    I can’t grow my own heart myself; but God can. God needs to give God away! I think I am hearing Richard Rohr here. The map for the most amazing love affair is imprinted on our hearts waiting for the light to shine on it. What great power we have to enlighten each other, almost frightening!

    This reminds me we are called indeed to be the Light of Christ for all. A peace fills me when I allow this to sink in. Watch out I will be leaving my chair soon i.e. my sacred place. As each moment of life comes I ask God to be my strength to grow my heart, to take over me. And joyfully peacefilled I know I need not fear because I can come and ask the same again

  2. Macrina Wierderkehr too! The are two of my spiritual heroes. I have read and reread their words so many times they have become a part of me. St. John of the Cross had that same thought about God giving Godself away so, so long ago. He says that we must come to God with empty hands to have room for the “Everything” God wants to give us.

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