Quotes for the Day

In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. … This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. … I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

— Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Luminous beings are we.

— Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back

Preliminary Practices for Christian Contemplatives
Sanctity and Struggle, or, Why Saints Have Chaotic Inner Lives (Hint: It's Because We All Do)
Pentecost and Ecstasy
In Memoriam: Kenneth Leech
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • Peter

    There is no way of telling people this!

    So what do you do if it is what you see all the time, the luminescence, the potential or actual glory that shines out of people and eclipses with its brilliance all the shadows they (we) are so often obsessed with? “If only everybody could realize this!”–for sure. But what can we do? What can we say?

    This brings me around full circle to my earlier discussion with Carl about the need to include the passion to express what we have seen in our definition of the core of mysticism. The prophet Jeremiah said, “Your word was like a fire in my bones, and I could not refrain [from expressing it].” And the early apostles of Jesus said, “We cannot but speak of those things we have seen and heard.”

    In summary, the mystical call is a call to be witnesses (martyres) to what we have experienced, to testify so that we can (gently, as in Jon’s recent comment on the book project) draw others into the same joy.

    I can’t quit seeing what I see; to attempt to quit would be stupid. Likewise I can’t quit trying to tell people what I see (in them), even if Merton is right and all my attempts at this are futile. I can’t stop trying!

    Blessings–and may the brilliance that is in you be uncovered,