Archive for June, 2011

Unfolding future

The future is not yet ours; perhaps it never will be. If it comes, it may come wholly different from what we have foreseen. Let us shut our eyes, then, to that which God hides from us, and keeps us in reserve in the treasures of His deep counsels. Let us worship without seeing; let us be silent; let us abide in peace.

— François de Salignac de la Mothe Fénelon


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Divine beauty

You are the secret of God’s secret

You are the mirror of divine beauty

— Rumi

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Hidden depths

The human person is a threshold where many infinities meet. There is the infinity of space that reaches out into the depths of the cosmos and the infinity of time reaching back over billions of years. There is the infinity of the microcosm: one little speck on the top of your thumb contains a whole inner cosmos, but it is so tiny that it is not visible to the human eye. The infinity in the microscopic is as dazzling as that of the cosmos. However, the infinity that haunts everyone and which no one can finally quell is the infinity of one’s own interiority. A world lies hidden behind each human face.

— John O’Donohue, “Anam Cara”, p. 41

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Soul friend

In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. One of the fascinating ideas here is the idea of soul-love; the old Gaelic term for this is anam cara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and cara is the word for friend. So anam cara  in the Celtic world was the “soul friend”. In the early Celtic church, a person who acted as a teacher, companion, or spiritual guide was called an anam cara. It originally referred to someone to whom you confessed, revealing the hidden intimacies of your life. With the anam cara you could share your innermost self, your mind and your heart.

— John O’Donohue, “Anam Cara”, p. 13

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If you work with a different rhythm, you will come easily and naturally come to yourself. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey. There are no general principles for this art of being. Yet the signature of this unique journey is inscribed deeply in each soul. If you attend to yourself and seek to come into your presence, you will find exactly the right rhythm for your own life. The senses are generous pathways that can bring you home.

— John O’Donohue, “Anam Cara”, p. 57ff

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Secret shape

My father was an accomplished stonemason. I often watched him building walls. Frequently, he would choose a stone that was completely round. A round stone is useless because it cannot be bound into the structure of the wall. Yet with a little tip of the hammer, my father could transform the stone. Something that looked unformed and awkward would fit into the wall as if it had been made specially for it. I love, too, that image of Michelangelo finding in every stone, no matter how dumb, awkward, or blunt, a secret shape waiting to emerge.

John O’Donohue, “Anam Cara”, p. 158

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Deep within each one of us there lies vast reaches of the unknown, of doubt, of secret distress, and also chasms of guilt which come from who knows where. But gradually we understand that, in the depths of the human person, Christ prays, more than we imagine. Let the Holy Spirit pray within us with the trust of a child, and we can then realize that these depths are inhabited.

— Brother Roger of Taizé, “Seeking the Heart of God”, p. 55

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