August 4, 2011

Thinking on What is Above

This begins our series on pilgrimage.  To take time in one's life for a holy journey helps us remember the truth about who we are and where we are going.   It helps us think about what is above, to rediscover what it means to be free, rational and spiritual creatures.

William of St. Thierry encourages his 12th Century Carthusian friends at Mont Dieu to fix their minds on heavenly things in his Golden Epistle.  When we take time for silence to think about God and heavenly things, it feeds our spirits with the truth about the world and ourselves.  Sustaining our lives with the truth is what it means to be rational, to choose to live in relation to the Lord, in harmony with his Presence.  There are many things that demand our attention, so this endeavor is not always easy especially because we are so forgetful.  It is a matter of clinging - a decision not to let go of God in one's thoughts and memories, and frequently renewed efforts to constantly attend to the Lord in our hearts.   The more we think about Him and honor Him, the more He can bless us.  This is a timeless truth.  For those of us who live in the hustle and bustle of the modern metropolis, keeping William's ancient counsel is as beneficial to us just as it was for his contemporaries:

All greatness and goodness for the spirit that is great and good consists in looking upon and wondering at and aspiring to what is above it, so that the devoted image hastens to cling to its exemplar.  For it is the image of God, and the fact that it is his image enables it to understand that it can and should cling to him whose image it is (#209).