Note to My Readers: from mid-June to mid-August (6/18 - 8/20), I will be taking a summer break from posting new articles for my Thursday and Friday slots. This will only affect my Thursday series on the global growth of Christianity, and my Friday series, the "Theological Bestiary" of birds, both of which will resume in late August. During the summer, I'll be dusting off some of my best essays from the first few years of this blog (a decade ago), as well as my verse play "Thus Ends the World," and re-posting them in the Thursday and Friday slots. All other weekdays will continue to feature new material throughout the summer.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Quote of the Week

"Truly this is the unending miracle of love: that one loving person, through his love, can embrace God, whose being fills and transcends the entire creation."

- from The Cloud of Unknowing, a 14th-century anonymous work of Christian mysticism

(Painting: "God the Father Almighty," by Antoine Coypel, from the ceiling of the chapel at the Palace of Versailles) 

3 comments:

Ponderous soul said...

I am a bit "mystified" why you would include within your blog a quote from "The Cloud of Unknowing," a work that essentially recommends "transcedental meditation?" (TM)." Is this for philosophical discussion purposes? First, the author is unknown, so one has no way of knowing the spiritual bent of this work. TM was quite a "cult like" movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s for those seeking enlightenment beyond the Bible and perceived 'limitations' of Christian church practices. Perhaps there are many ways to interpret the "centering" practices of "The Cloud of Unknowing," but do not seem to mesh with the model Jesus taught: "Our Father Who Art in Heaven ...." This is especially interesting as the Pastor at an out of state ABS church now opens her services by inviting the congregation to join in "centering" prayer. Is this an ABS thing? The quote sounds enlightened, but sources are more important.

Matthew Burden said...

Thank you for your comments. I actually have no experience whatsoever with Transcendental Meditation, and no particular interest in researching it. But I have read The Cloud of Unknowing, along with many of the other great classics of Christian devotional practice, and found that it deserves--and even exceeds--the high accolades that it receives as a classic of authentic Christian prayer. I found it extremely helpful to my own personal practice of prayer, and overflowing with a sense of deep love for God as the supreme aim of its advice. You can find more of my take on it in this book review that I wrote on the subject last year: . It will probably address some of your particular concerns regarding the manner of prayer a bit more fully than I can do here in the comments section. But, of course, you are welcome to keep your own counsel in this matter. All I can say is that, in reading the book, I found it helpful, wise, and authentically Christian in every sense.

Matthew Burden said...

Sorry, the link for my book review didn't appear in my previous comment. You can find it in my blog archives for May 15, 2015, or just search my blog for the keywords "cloud of unknowing."