"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

Contrary to our frequent assumption that mystics live in states of continuous (or at least frequent) bliss, the reality is that like us, darkness characterizes more of their lives than bliss. Consequently they have much to teach us about learning to live in these places where our senses are darkened and our souls clouded. And what they tell us is that rather than expect the darkness to be eliminated, if we continue to consent to the inflow of grace, we can expect to learn to see in the darkness and to know God’s presence with us even when we are in the cloud of unknowing.

[wilderness: David Benner, Spirituality and the Awakening Self]

Posted by Jeff on 08.03.2011


My Lord God, I have no ideas where I am going. I cannot see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But, I believe that . . . you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

[wilderness: Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude]

Posted by Jeff on 08.02.2011


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