Monday, November 28, 2011

Just "being"

For our Advent meditation, an excerpt from The Spiritual Life, the transcript of three talks given on the BBC in 1936 by well-known Anglican spiritual writer, Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941):

. . . when we lift our eyes from the crowded by-pass
to the eternal hills;
then, how much
the personal and practical things we have to deal with are enriched.
What meaning and coherence
comes into our scattered lives.
We mostly spend those lives conjugating three verbs:
to Want,
to Have,
to Do.

Craving, clutching, and fussing,
on the material, political, social, emotional, intellectual
—even on the religious — plane,
we are kept in perpetual unrest:
forgetting that none of these verbs
have any ultimate significance,
except so far as they are transcended by and included in,
the fundamental verb, to Be:
and that Being,
not wanting, having and doing,
is the essence of a spiritual life.

But now,
with this widening of the horizon,
our personal ups and downs, desires, cravings, efforts,
are seen in scale:
as small and transitory spiritual facts,
within a vast, abiding spiritual world,
and lit by a steady spiritual light.
And at once,
a new coherence comes into our existence,
a new tranquillity, and release.
Like a chalet in the Alps,
that homely existence gains atmosphere, dignity, significance
from the greatness of the sky above it
and the background of the everlasting hills . . .

From an Oratio of St Gregory Nazianzen

The Son of God himself, who is before all ages, the invisible, the incomprehensible, the bodiless, the beginning from the beginning, the light from the light, source of life and immortality, image of the archetype, immovable seal, unchangeable image, the Father’s definition and Word, he it is who came to his own image and took to himself flesh for the sake of our flesh. Then he united himself with an intelligent soul for my soul’s sake, purifying like by like. He took to himself all that is human, except sin. He was conceived by the Virgin who was first purified in body and soul by the Spirit. It was necessary both that childbearing be honoured and that virginity be honoured still more highly.

He came forth as God with what he had taken to himself. Out of two contraries, flesh and spirit, he made one. The Spirit conferred the godhead on the flesh that received it. He who enriches others becomes poor. He took to himself the poverty of my flesh so that I might obtain the riches of his godhead. Click HERE to continue reading . . .


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