March 29, 2007

The Inner Sanctuary of the Soul

I'm reading "A Testament of Devtion" by Thomas Kelly when I can't sleep at night, which is fairly often, and I just have to post from it because it is so provoking.

"In this humanistic age we suppose man is the initiator and God is the responder. But the Living Christ within us is the initiator and we are the responders. God the Lover, the accuser, the revealer of light and darkness presses within us. 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.'"

- Yes Jesus, knock. Pound urgently. Beat upon that door until I can bear it no more and rush to fling it wide open, and your Holy Light burst in and illuminates everything inside, and your sweet and burning scent overtakes every cubic inch of air, and I will soak up Your light, I will breath in Your scent. Knock Jesus, knock, without hesitation or reservation, on Rich's heart, on Maisie's heart, on my mom and my brother and my sister's heart, on my whole family's heart and on my friends' hearts, on the hearts of the human race. Knock, Jesus. You are welcome here and I love the sound of your fist upon my heart, your desire to come in, to be present, to reside.

"And all our apparent initiative is already a response, a testimonial to His secret presence and working within us.

"The basic response of the soul to the Light is internal adoration and joy, thankfulness and worship, self-surrender and listening. The secret places of the heart cease to be our noisy workshop.

- The secret places of my heart are so noisy with irritating and mindlessly repetitive obsessive-compulsive like thoughts, worries, planning, arrogance and self-impressiveness. Where is the eternity in my heart?

"They become a holy sanctuary of adoration and self-oblation [making an offering], where we are kept in perfect peace, if our minds be stayed on Him who has found us in the inward springs of our life. And in brief intervals of overpowering visitation we are able to carry the sanctuary frame of mind out into the world, into its turmoil and fitfulness, and in a hyperaesthesia of the soul, we see all mankind tinged with deeper shadows, and touched with Galilean glories. Powerfully are the springs of our will moved to an abandon of singing love toward God; powerfully are we moved to a new and overcoming love toward time-blinded men and all creation. In this Center of Creation all things are ours, and we are Christ's and Christ is God's. We are owned men, ready to run and not be weary and to walk and not faint.

"But the light fades, the will weakens, the humdrum returns. Can we stay this fading? No, and we should not try, for we must learn the disciplines of His will, and pass beyond this first lesson of His Grace. But the Eternal Inward Light does not die when ecstacy dies [when the wonderful and "hyperaesthesia of the soul" from experiencing moments of inward intimacy with God fades], nor exist only intermittantly, with the flickerings of our psychic states. Continuously renewed immediacy, not receding memory of the Divine Touch, lies at the base of religious living. Let us explore together the secret of a deeper devotion, a more subterranean sanctuary of the soul, where the Light Within never fades, but burns, a perpetual Flame ... The 'bright shoots of everlastingness' can become a steady light within, if we are deadly in earnest in our dedication to the Light, and are willing to pass out of first stages into maturer religious living.

**"Only if this is possible can the light from the inner sanctuary of the soul be a workaday light for the marketplace, a guide for perplexed feet, a recreator of cultural-patterns for the race of mankind."**

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