THE STATE OF PERPETUAL AGITATION is one of the features of life in the early years of the twenty-first century, and perhaps a little too frequently in the Church as elsewhere. And we’re learning, fast, that this is not a healthy state: it’s not what we were made for. “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee” is how St Augustine of Hippo put it. And his was a prayer very dear to the heart of Mother Teresa – whose very great (and hands-on practical) love for humankind, and especially for the dispossessed, arose directly out of her love for silence in the presence of the God who created – and is still creating – all of us.

We cannot find God in noise and agitation.
Nature: trees, flowers, and grass grow in silence.
The stars, the moon, and the sun move in silence.
What is essential is not what we say but what God tells us
and what He tells others through us.

In silence He listens to us; in silence He speaks to our souls.
In silence we are granted the privilege of listening to His voice.

Silence of our eyes.
Silence of our ears.
Silence of our mouths.
Silence of our minds.

…in the silence of the heart
God will speak.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta
from No Greater Love


A SILVER PATH reaches Fuerteventura across the dark Atlantic. And a silver path, from the perfectly round full moon, also reaches others, in winter chilled Manchester, and yet others in warmer Madrid. And a man on the moon might look upon all of us, merging. Distinct and separate realities from our perspective, merged as one in his.

Strong light celebrates the virtues of form, all clear edges and boundaries; the light that began to glow in Rembrandt’s work conjures a sense of merging, an awareness of the connection between things.

This is one expression of the light of the imagination, in which not one but many levels, or realities, can overlap simultaneously. It began to shine in Rembrandt’s work as early as 1628. (He was 22)

Roger Housden, How Rembrandt Reveals Your Beautiful, Imperfect Self, p40

The Light of the World says something similar according to the gospels. Consider, he said. Use your imagination. Try to get beyond the obvious, the strongly lit clear edges and the boundaries. Go a bit deeper. Life is not about one but many levels, overlapping simultaneously. And too often the disciples (who, like most of us, are learning on the job) see clear edges and boundaries everywhere. Unlike the Master they don’t live their inner lives, and they don’t “lift up their eyes unto the hills”, either. But Jesus persists. For this Master’s work, like Rembrandt’s later, will one day conjure in all of us this sense of merging, delicious mindfulness of the connection between things, the connectedness of souls. Distinct realities from a learner’s perspective. Merged as one in his. Where love is there is inner mindfulness also.

Lives are limited when lived in only one dimension. But all that’s needed to bring about the all important difference is, quite simply, imagination. Whatever is your heart’s desire, imagine that you have it and it will be yours. “Your faith has made you …”. Lose your one dimensional life and you will find, already there and waiting, safe inside your innermost self (where no thief may break in and steal), layer upon layer (or wave upon wave) of Life, your heart’s desire.

Immortal Love, forever full,
forever flowing free,
forever shared, for ever whole,
a never ebbing sea.

What am I missing in my life when by ignorance, forgetfulness, or flabby insistence I live in only one dimension? And what might be revealed by mindfulness – if I trained myself to be fully aware of not one, but many levels, overlapping simultaneously? If I were to love, cherish and nurture my God-given imagination where might the silver path lead me?

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Fuerteventura, Spain