February 1978 talk, Serial No. 00551

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Vina Retreat




Last night we were talking about man as the image of God, and we found that many of the Fathers, and the medieval writers too, see in man a Trinitarian image of God, some kind of reflection of the three Persons, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And often, of course, they'll try to correlate this with something that we already know, with memory, intellect and will and so on, or with the masculine and feminine sides of man's character, which also has some meaning to it, some truth to it. But in a way, perhaps we have to let our terms go and simply stay with the ultimate reality, which is the Trinity itself. But I would suggest that there are three dimensions of our life, and that this is worth meditation, because as we become familiar with these dimensions of our life, we discover the intimacy in which we're really living with the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, who are much closer


to us than we really believe, and in whose life we're really participating all the time. But we remain unconscious of that largely. So for that reason, I'd sort of like to suggest these three dimensions. A quotation from Rice's book last night was very suggestive. The dimension of mystery, the dimension of emptiness, which is the dimension of the Father. Rahner also writes about God as mystery, and specifically the Father as the mystery, the God whom we cannot see. But all of our life itself is a relationship to this Father whom we cannot see. In fact, our very experience of ourself, in some way, is the obverse, is the other side of our experience of the Father. Our learning of ourself, our acquisition of identity, in some way, is the other side of our coming to know the Father. And yet this remains hidden, hidden, hidden from us. In fact, it itself is sort of a mystery which rolls in upon itself, and we're not supposed


to know. We're not supposed to know, and yet we're supposed to be aware, in a way, because that's the only way we can be awake, that's the only way we can really be living vitally. So one dimension is the dimension of mystery. St. Augustine talked about the dimension of memory, but he meant memory in a sense which is much deeper and larger than our sense of memory. Memory as everything which comes before. In other words, memory as the whole of the past. And we ourselves are the past, in a certain sense. At a certain moment we are our past, we are the past of the race. We are our origins, and we contain our origins, in some way. Jung writes about the collective unconscious, and how we're always in contact with that, we're always sort of in an ocean of what has gone before. We're always in contact with our sources, many sources, layers, levels of sources, yet we remain unaware of it. The dimension of the Father is in that direction, I think. It's also the dimension of depth, as it were, of the depth perception of the realities of


existence. And the traditions of the East have a lot to say about this. David Stendhal, some years ago, wrote an article in Monastic Studies, which probably some of you have read, on the Trinity and world religions, in which he made a relationship between, first of all, Christianity and the dimension of the Word, all right? Because Judaism and Christianity, Israel, are the religions of the Word, the religions in which God has revealed himself through the Word, the Word ultimately which becomes incarnate. But through an image, through something which is visible, through something, first of all, which speaks to the mind. And then he saw the apophatic traditions, the traditions of emptiness, of nothingness, and particularly Buddhism, and in Buddhism, of course, particularly Zen, would be in this direction, as the dimension of the Father. That is, letting oneself go into the mystery, beyond concepts, even beyond experience. And the third dimension, he saw it as related somehow to Hinduism.


I haven't been able to follow that so well, but for me, the dimension of the Spirit makes itself known in another way. I would suggest that that's the dimension of experience in a certain way. The dimension of dynamism, of movement in one's life, the dimension of relationship, the dimension of communion, of koinonia, and all of these things fit together. The dimension of relationship and of movement towards, now first of all, movement towards our center, movement towards the Source, but also movement towards others. The dimension of movement in our life, which is the dimension of growth, of movement towards our own perfection or whatever. It moves towards the Source and it moves towards the perfection of the image, towards the completion of the image and likeness in us. The dimension of the Word, the dimension of the Son, as it were, seems to be the dimension


of understanding, therefore of meaning in our life, the dimension of meaning. The dimension also of fidelity. This is the way in which Jesus expresses the Father and expresses man, really. He expresses the fidelity of God the Father to his promises. Saint Paul says that Jesus is the yes to all the promises of God. At the same time, he expresses the yes and the enduring yes of man to his commitment to God. So fidelity, truth in the sense of fidelity, meaning, also coherence of life. Jesus is the witness. He says, I came into the world to give witness to the truth, and he gives a witness unto death. And the whole of his life has a coherence about it, which is our model. So that dimension of our life, which means the life of the Gospel, really. So in some way, we're supposed to incarnate the Word. And that's the dimension of the Word in our life. The dimension of manifestation, also, of witness.


So I just throw those out, sort of, as a suggestion for meditation. Concretely, they resolve themselves into these three terms, as it were. Light, fire, and silence. Ultimately, the silence of the mystery of the Father, the beyond. The beyond, however, which is within us, which is at our very center, the source which is already within us. Today, we're going to be talking about the heart, and that's where we find that notion. We have often had a one-dimensional kind of Christianity, as a matter of fact, because being the religion of the Word, we have tended to leave the Word by itself. In a sense, we've tended to take the Word and make something out of it which prevents it from expanding into the other two directions, which prevents it from expanding into the direction of mystery, into the direction of contemplation. But the Word is always sort of suspended in that mystery. The Word is the manifestation of that mystery of the Father which lies behind it.


The Word is, as it were, just Christ himself, as a point, a particle, in a particular time and place, upon which the light is focused from the whole of the infinite mystery of the Father. When you hear Jesus speaking in the Gospel of Saint John, that's what he's saying very often. That's the way he's coming across. So the dimension of mystery, we have sort of expunged with our rationalism, with our conceptual thinking, not being able to get beyond our concepts, with a certain kind of theology too, with wanting to control the mystery, with wanting to be able to contain God within our formulas. And then the other dimension of movement, the dimension of experience, the dimension of life, we have also very often lost from our Christianity. Once again, I think, by wanting to control, by wanting to structure too much, by wanting to make the thing our thing, really, and only our thing. It's supposed to be our thing, but not only our thing. And so we've had a one-dimensional Christianity instead of a three-dimensional Christianity.


And the problem is to get back into the fullness, as it were, of the Word. Because as Saint Thomas says, the Word, the verbum, the Word which is Christ, the Logos, is verbum spirans amorum, it's the Word that breathes forth love, and it's also the Word which has a resonance immediately into the mystery of the Father. So the Word which goes beyond itself in two directions immediately, that's what the Word of God is, that's what Christ is. But very often we've conceptualized, we've structured, and somehow we've lost the life of it, so that today we have a problem rediscovering its richness, the incredible richness of Christianity which is Trinitarian. So theology is important here, because without a theology we can very easily keep our faith in a little box and not realize the dimensions that belong to it, and the dimensions that belong to our life, because ultimately the dimensions of our life are the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. So the way to this, really, from the one dimension to the three dimensions, has something to


do with our heart, something to do with the awakening of our hearts, something to do with getting from our heads into our hearts, really. This is a notion which is very dear to the Fathers. So that's what I'm going to talk about a bit this morning. It's really a matter of something like going from water to wine. I remember I was struck years ago by hearing at second-hand the interpretation of St. John chapter 2, the miracle of the changing of the water into the wine at the marriage feast of Canaan. St. Bernard has a beautiful interpretation of that which I think is right on the nose. First he says, as I remember it, that the water symbolizes the Old Testament, the wine the New Testament. But then he goes on with level after level of interpretation which brings us right into our own life. In other words, the water is the law and the wine is grace.


The water is the law and the wine is the spirit, or is the water with the wine with the spirit in it. The water is that which is simply human, that which has been restricted so that the divine can't enter it, that which is limited. The wine is the human, the natural, with the divine inside of it, with the divine life inside of it. The water is penitence. Remember the, what was it, six or seven vessels which St. John says were standing there filled with water. They weren't filled with water, they were empty at first. According to the purification rites of the Jews, the purification rites. So we have the seven days, is it six days or seven days, of penitence, of purification. And the seventh day or the eighth day, the Sabbath or the Sunday, of the spirit, of the gift, of the charism.


The water is changed into wine as the tears of compunction are changed into the wine of love, as the ascetical life gives way to the mystical life, as sobriety gives way to the intoxication of God. And so we find St. Benedict in the prologue, starting out, remember laying down the law to his disciples, telling them that the way is going to be a straight and narrow way. There'll be some things that will pinch. And then he says at the end of the prologue that as we continue in life and in faith, our hearts will become enlarged and we'll run with unspeakable sweetness in the ways of the Lord. We'll run in the ways of the Lord with unspeakable sweetness so that the water of penitence, the water of sobriety has been changed by the Holy Spirit into the wine of love, which makes all things easy, which makes all things sweet. So this is the story of the monastic life. The monastic life is a kind of alchemy, and our heart is the retort, the place where this all takes place. Where the water of the purely human, with its poverty, the human becomes clean, becomes


purified, becomes transparent, so that it can become the wine of God, the wine of the Spirit. And that's what I mean when I say that our one-dimensional Christianity becomes a three-dimensional Christianity, as the Spirit comes into it and gives it its body, gives it its fullness, flowing into the other two directions. Brings into it a kind of intoxication, you could say. A better word is inebriation. My father used to talk about a sobriety, an inebriatus, a sober drunkenness, which goes beyond the limitations of our reason, of our rationalism, of our conceptualism, of our structures, in the sort of wild dimension of the wilderness of the solitude and the mystery of God, and into the intoxication, really, the exhilaration, the enthusiasm of the Spirit. Now, the Word contains all this within itself. The problem is not with the Word, the problem is with our hearts, that our hearts have to


be opened if this is going to happen. And the Word is capable of opening. If, as Father said this morning, we can listen. Saint Paul speaks in Ephesians about the eyes of our hearts being enlightened. This is in the first chapter of Ephesians. So that we may know the great hope which we have, the great hope which is already in us. And then, in the third chapter, he has a marvelous passage. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, rooted and grounded, somehow Christ is to be rooted in our hearts. This inner man, in turn, is to be rooted and grounded in love.


The ground of our being is to become love as we discover this life which rises up into our hearts. So that you may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. So that's God's promise, and the constriction, the frustration, is not in the Word of God, but it's in our hearts. And so our business is to find a way into those hearts and open them up so that that can happen. Remember that parable of Saint Matthew that I mentioned to you before? In chapter 22, I guess it is, where the king made a wedding banquet for his son. The wedding banquet. Now at a wedding banquet you always have wine. You don't have water, you have wine. And so we have the wine of the Spirit furnished at the wedding banquet, and we have the garment also.


Remember? The wedding garment which the guests had to have. The garment being the likeness which is restored to us so that we can be joined to the Son of God, to the image of God. The wine being the life of the Spirit which is given in our heart. And as a matter of fact, the heart of a Christian is supposed to be a wedding, a marriage banquet. The heart of a Christian should be a marriage feast. Because in that heart, God is joined to man. It's a reality which is with us all the time. If we could only experience what's really inside of our hearts. So, I'd like to talk about the heart a bit this morning. The biblical notion of heart, of course, is something different from our idea of heart, which often stops at the sentimental. We think of the big picture on Valentine's Day cards and things like that, and what's done in advertising and so on.


But the heart for biblical man is something which englobes somehow all of this humanity. I'll read you a couple of passages from biblical writings. The connotations of the word heart are not the same in Hebrew and English. For us, the heart is related to the affective life. Even fairly deep writers who write about the heart sometimes limit it to the affective life. But that's not the biblical notion. It's included in it, but it's not it. From his heart, a man loves and hates, desires or fears. But the heart has no place in the intellectual life. However, the Hebrew uses the word heart to indicate a wider range of meaning, including all that is within a man. It stands for sentiments, but also memories, thoughts, reasoning and planning. The Hebrew frequently uses heart where we would say memory, mind or awareness. The heart of man, therefore, is his whole conscious, intelligent and free personality. So the heart is simply all of man somehow considered as in his center.


Another. The heart was, in fact, the source of the whole personal life in which thought, volition, feelings merge as one. The center of personal life and also of the interior life, the inner man. There's a Benedictine sister named Juana Rasch who has written a very good series of articles on purity of heart and monastic tradition. They were in Studia Monastica starting about 1966. And she's gone into the biblical tradition somewhat and then pretty extensively into the Fathers to follow that thread of theology which is really a central one through and up to the time of monastic spirituality. It's a pity that she didn't continue it afterwards. When she gets to the 4th and 5th century, the monks themselves, she stops. On the anthropology of the heart, setting aside the Christian dimension just for a second, Rahner has some wonderful things to say. He did a study of the devotion to the sacred heart


and in preparation for it he did some work on sort of the anthropology of the heart in general terms. And these are some of the things that he comes up with. Heart is a primordial word. It's one of those words which we can't define, which we can't in a way analyze. It's one of the words in which man, knowing himself, expresses the mystery of his existence without solving that mystery. Now we're getting into the patristic monastic way of thought here. We're getting into terms which cannot be understood to the analytical intellect but which are actually addressed to the heart. There's another kind of knowing we're talking about. And if we want to understand this kind of thing, we have to sort of enter into that kind of knowing. It's that sort of thing. It's a con-natural way of thinking and knowing. When a man says that he has a heart, he has told himself one of the crucial secrets of his existence. For when he speaks in this way, he is speaking of himself as the one self-knowing whole.


He is evoking the unity of his being which is anterior to the dichotomy between body and soul, between action and thought, external and internal. Now you've got two ideas here. One idea is that it's not man divided but man as a whole, man altogether as it were. But the other idea is that this unity is prior to the separation. So we're talking about some kind of an original unity of man before the distinction of body and soul, before the distinction of intellect and will, activity and passivity, all of these dichotomies. We're getting into a place in man which is somehow beyond dualism and somehow prior to dualism. And of course we get a certain reflection of what we're saying about the Trinity at this point. He is evoking the unity of his being which is anterior to the dichotomy between body and soul, action and thought, external and internal. He is evoking what is original in the genuine sense of the word, that is, what belongs to the origin.


That in which the manifold of human reality is still freshly one as it comes from its source. That in which, as Hedwig Conrad Marxist says, I don't know who that is, the whole concrete being of man as it is brought forth and unfolded and flows away in soul, body and spirit, and we could introduce also in intellect and will and memory and so on, is taken and grasped and remains as one as though knotted and fastened at its midpoint. That's a good concrete image for it. The meaning of the heart to man. This unity of man originating and holding together what it originates is a personal unity. That is to say, one which knows itself, ventures forth and freely makes its own choice, which answers and in love affirms itself or denies itself. It is the point where man borders on the mystery of God, the point where man whose own origin is from God, as God's partner, either leaves himself and gives himself back to God


in his original unity, or else blasphemously refusing himself to him, to God, and turning himself downward, plunges into the void of his own damnation. So it's the point of decision as well. The point of existential awareness and existential commitment, we could say, using modern terms. So, he's got a lot more in that vein, but we don't have time for it now. Jesus himself in the Gospel uses the word heart with great weight, not too often, but when he does it, these are important places in the Gospel. Matthew 5, 8, Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God. One of the Beatitudes. This is a Beatitude which has had great consequence in monastic tradition, because the goal of the monastic life was early seen, especially in the Greek tradition, the more intellectualist tradition, as being the vision of God.


What is the way to the vision of God, Jesus tells us here? Purity of heart. At least that's the way the monastic fathers often interpreted it. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. Remember Cassian's first conference, when he sets out to say what the goal, what the end, and the meaning of the monastic life is, he does it in terms of purity of heart, largely based on this commandment, which we very quickly see is equivalent to charity, when he gets to talking about it. Matthew 15, But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart. Remember the context, it's a quarrel with the Jews about eating with unwashed hands and so on, that a man is defiled by what comes into him, and Jesus denies that. What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man. So, the heart then is the place where that happens,


which is important for man, where existential happenings occur, where decision is made. The heart is the place where a man is good or bad, and where he makes himself good or bad, by what he decides. So the heart, once again, here is the source. The source of man's life, which determines its quality, for good or for evil, for salvation or for damnation, for God or for evil. In Luke chapter 6 he talks about, remember, the good tree and the good fruit, the bad tree and the bad fruit. The good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, produces good, and the evil man, out of his evil treasure, produces evil. For out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks. So it's not only the evil things, not only the sins that come out of the heart, but also goodness comes out of the heart. And what comes out of the heart, in some way, defines the heart. Here we have another one of these symbolic realities.


A reality which has to, is hidden, yet manifests itself visibly. And so, the hidden quality of the heart is manifested in the words and in the acts. For good or for ill. Matthew 11 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Here he speaks of his own heart. In what we might consider to be just, you know, a conventional phrase of Jewish or Aramaic speech, but I think it's deeper than that. That passage is a marvelous passage. Matthew 11, 25 to 29. He's speaking of a kind of liberation there that comes from entering into the mystery of the interior life of Christ himself, which is passing over, in a way, from the slavery of carrying the burden of the ego


to the liberation of going beyond it into God, into the Father, who is the center of Jesus, who is the center of us when we find the way into our heart in that way. The liberation, being delivered from the heavy burden. And taking upon us the light yoke, which is the life of the Trinity. Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighted down by dissipation and drunkenness in the cares of this life, and that day come on you suddenly like a snare. So the heart can also be weighted down. The heart can be light or the heart can be heavy. We can weight it down by indulgence. We can also weight it down by other things. We can weight it down with, not only with cares, but we can burden it with legalism. We can burden it with our compulsions. Turn the tape over now and continue on the other side. It can be free and light or it can be heavy.


So Jesus develops quite a little anthropology of the heart here in the few statements that he makes about it. And he tells us enough so that we can see its central importance. Now in the Old and New Testament, if you take a concordance and follow the occurrences of the word heart, you find a real continuity, a real sequence, a theological thread that goes all the way through, which is worth looking into. I'm going to read to you some passages which together form a kind of theology of that kind. Starting way back with something we heard this morning. In Deuteronomy, the Shema, the prayer which was repeated by the Israelites, I guess three times a day, which is sort of their basic, not exactly credo, but basic practice that almost which defines a Jew, still today. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.


That's variously translated. Is one God or simply is one. And if you translate it in that way, it has all kinds of metaphysical implications. The Lord our God is one. Similarly to the occurrence in Exodus chapter three there at the burning bush where God says, I am he who is. I am he who is. Both of these can be carried out into a kind of metaphysic. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them to your children and your children's children and so on. So the command, which is repeated by Jesus as the first commandment of all, is a commandment of loving with all one's heart. And somehow, love and the heart are correlated. We know that already. And then there are a series of reproaches in the prophets against the hardness and contamination of the hearts of the Jews.


This people honors me with their lips but their heart is far from me. This people has a stubborn and rebellious heart. An uncircumcised heart. A deceitful heart. And then in Jeremiah we begin to see something new. We begin to see a kind of a promise appearing. That something is going to happen to this heart of Israel. Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they broke though I was their husband, says the Lord. Remember that covenant was concretely signified by the two tablets of stone. The law was written on stone. And the covenant was broken. The tablets of stone were sort of symbolically broken too. The first time Moses brought them down. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put my law within them.


The law is no longer to be written exteriorly on tablets of stone. Of all things stone. The material itself is symbolic. But it's to be written interiorly somehow. Not in letters any longer but in a new way. I will put my law within them and I will write it upon their hearts. And I will be their God and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother saying, know the Lord for they shall all know me. From the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more. So there's going to be a new way of knowing God In the Old Testament he was known through a mediator and through a word which is passed on. Passed on through Moses. Passed on, written on those tablets of stone. But now, according to this promise there is to be a new way which is an immediate way. An immediate knowledge of God which is also interior.


No man, no longer will each man have to teach another man. But everyone, even the simple ones, even the children will know me directly. Because my word somehow will be within them, will be in their hearts. Jeremiah once again. I will set my eyes on them for good and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord. And they shall be my people and I will be their God. For they shall return to me with their whole heart. The question of conversion is a question of the heart also. Ezekiel. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed against me and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. So turn and live. Once again, turn. Make for yourselves a new heart, a commandment which sounds a little difficult, maybe impossible. And then later on


in Ezekiel. For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. Often this promise of the land, of being brought into your own land is associated with the promise of a new heart. Somehow the two are connected. I will sprinkle clean water upon you. And here we have this first sort of anticipation of the notion of baptism. Of a kind of purification which is both exterior symbolically and interior. And you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses and from all your idols. I will cleanse you. A new heart will I give you and a new spirit I will put within you. In one place he commands them to make for themselves a new heart, to acquire a new spirit. In another place, in the same prophet, he says I'll give you a new heart and a new spirit. And I shall take out of your flesh the heart of stone. Remember the law was written on tablets of stone. And somehow the heart of Israel


had itself become stone, says God. Sort of correlated with that law which was not a real knowledge of God but only a knowledge through a mediator. And which itself was subject to decay somehow. But the new knowledge which is to be given of God is not subject to decay really because it's God himself immediately joined to man in his heart who is to give it. One can cover it up. One can lose it. But one can't really corrupt it in that way. I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. A heart of flesh. In other words, a human heart in some way. In other words, your heart hasn't been human up to now. But when my spirit comes into you then you will come into the humanity which is rightfully yours for the first time. You thought you were human but you were not. You had hearts


of stone. Now you're going to learn through the gift of my spirit what it means to be human. And I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers. Once again, that connection. And you shall be my people and I will be your God. That relationship. Connected with a new heart. The heart is the place of relationship. The heart is the place where no one is really alone. And yet it's the place of solitude. The heart is relational. Now, we come into the New Testament. And first of all, we find John the Baptist, of course, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. A baptism with water. But he foretells someone else who is to come. In Luke chapter 3. I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming. The thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. And so,


John points out Jesus as being that one. The one on whom he saw the Spirit descend from heaven as a dove. The Spirit descend and remain. He says, the one who told me to come baptizing with water told me the one on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining is he who is to baptize with the Holy Spirit. In chapter 4 of St. John, Jesus is speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well. And he says, everyone who drinks of this water, this water from the well, will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. A spring is going to appear within a person out of which flows this living water. Living water a marvelous expression. Living water. It means simply fresh water, not water in a cistern but water in a well which comes from the ground, comes from deep. Living water. But the Spirit is a water


which is a person. Not only is it life and does it give life but it actually is a person. Within the heart. And then John 7. On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, if anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water. It's the same phenomenon but here he uses the word heart. Now this he said about the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive. For as yet the Spirit had not been given because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 14. If you love me you will keep my commandments and I will pray the Father and he will give you another counselor to be with you forever. Even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him or knows him. The Spirit, this counselor which cannot be seen with the eye and the world only knows what it can see with the eyes and touch with the hand. But you know him


for he dwells with you and will be in you. You'll know him through his indwelling. John 19. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead they did not break his legs but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear and at once there came out blood and water. The Fathers see the blood and water as signifying the sacraments baptism and the Eucharist. And of course the material element signifies something else signifies the Spirit actually which is received through the sacraments and which is the actual life of Christ in his body and his members. Hebrews chapter 10 Therefore brethren since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain of his flesh which was pierced on the cross that is through his flesh and since we have


a great priest over the house of God let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Clearly here he's talking about baptism the water which is symbolically washed the body but the Spirit which is actually cleansed the heart and not only cleansed it but put into it something new. And then he talks about it from the other side as it were the moral side and he says let us draw near with hearts full of faith and confidence. Continually you find this you find the gift which creates a new heart and then you find as it were the commandment or the admonition to realize that which is given actually through faith through hope to grasp onto the gift through receiving actually what it has within it. The question of faith, hope and love. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering


for he who promised is faithful. Romans chapter 9 Because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. The relationship between those two is kind of mysterious but the general idea is clear. We read the two passages from Ephesians already. Philippians And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Romans chapter 5 And hope does not disappoint us because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. Once again the spirit and the heart. Theophanes the recluse says that the heart is the throne of the spirit. We said yesterday that the word and the heart are correlated. The spirit and the heart are also correlatives. The spirit and the word together in the heart


are what give this new life. The life of meaning the life of experience and beyond of course the life of death. The death of the father. The heart is the throne of the spirit. Hope does not disappoint us because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. Galatians And because you are sons God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts once again spirit and heart crying Abba Father. So it's the spirit which puts us in this place as it were this place within the Holy Trinity where we can cry Abba Father. And he's talking about the moment of prayer there but he's talking actually about the whole orientation of our life is towards the father in that way. The whole of a Christian's life can be spoken of as being that what do you call it that dynamism that intentionality that orientation towards the father. That relationship which is not a static relationship but a dynamic one.


As in the prologue of Saint John Prostantheon the word was we don't have a preposition in English to explain it. Prostantheon towards the father Ad Patrem Now this is particularly true of the monastic life because I think really the deepest thing you can say about the monastic life to gather all of its threads into one is to say that it's the life Ad Patrem into the mystery into the depth dimension which is also the dimension of hope because it's the dimension of committing ourselves to the mystery beyond our own control beyond what we can understand what we can structure what we can tie down. So through God you are no longer a slave but a son and if a son then an heir from the water to the wine from the captivity to the freedom the liberation the adulthood. Romans 8.10 But if Christ is in you although your bodies are dead because of sin your spirits are alive because of righteousness if the spirit of him


who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you dwells in your heart he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his spirit which dwells in you. So something of the resurrection is already within you in some way the resurrection is already within your heart. Saint Paul is admonishing his Christians to be aware of this to begin to enjoy the resurrection which is already inside of them. The place where they are to do that is in their heart. A heart become aware a heart become conscious. Romans 8.10 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear but you have received the spirit of sonship when we cry Abba Father it is the spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God. The spirit and our spirit both within the heart. The spirit of God and our spirit somehow which is as it were the image of the spirit of God. But the place where they are united


is that center of our being which is the heart. This place of the marriage speech that we were talking about. In Romans 8 Saint Paul talks about the expectation of the whole creation for the redemption of our bodies for the manifestation of the sons of God and at the same time he's talking about the groaning of the Holy Spirit in our own hearts. Now in some way the groaning of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of Christians is the expression of the mute expectation of the whole creation which is waiting to give birth. So what we feel in our own hearts we feel for the whole of the whole of the creation which is the expression of its own movement its own dynamism ad patrem. Romans 8 again Likewise the spirit


helps us in our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we ought but the spirit himself intercedes with us for sighs too deep for words and he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the spirit because the spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. So the spirit is the one who prays within our hearts. We'll go into that further in the next talk. André Luce says that the heart is the place of prayer the place of the prayer. 2 Corinthians For it is the God who said let light shine out of darkness this is a recollection of Genesis 1 of course the beginning of the creation God said let there be light who has shown in our hearts to give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. There are two very precious passages in 2 Corinthians chapter 3 and 4 there. Now what Saint Paul is saying here is that a new creation


has commenced a new creation has commenced through a kind of illumination. Now this illumination parallel to the first this one takes place in the darkness of our hearts and it has to do with the revelation of God in Christ Jesus. The light that shines from the face of Christ this recognition of the image by the image as it were which brings about which initiates the new creation. So the place where the new creation starts is in our hearts. Who has shown in our hearts to give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. So somehow this new creation depends upon man's understanding depends upon man's grasping the truth of what is happening. Man, this rational creature the one who is able to perceive and to think however dimly who is able somehow to respond to the truth to perceive it and to respond to it the rest of the creation can't but man can. And so the new creation starts there with the truth


the word coming into the world being received in the hearts of men together with the spirit being received in the hearts of men and the word and the spirit together begin this new creation the work of the Father. And then he talks about a little earlier he talked about the Jews who read the book of Moses all the time and he said a veil is over their hearts because they haven't recognized Christ latent as it were in the scripture. But he says when a man turns to the Lord then the veil is removed from his heart. When a man recognizes Christ then the veil over his heart is broken and his heart is open somehow. And this new creation can begin to happen. 2 Corinthians 3 Now the Lord is the spirit and where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. And we all with unveiled face now he's just been talking about the veil over the heart


and now he speaks of an unveiled face. Somehow the face that he's speaking of is in the heart just as he was talking about the eyes of the heart earlier on. And we all with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord that's the glory of Christ are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the spirit. We were talking yesterday about the image and the likeness and here we see how the likeness is restored to us. This transformation that begins to occur in our hearts as we behold the glory of the Lord. We were talking also about the hesychasts and their sort of taboric light mysticism. The idea of something happening within us as we contemplate the light of Christ as we contemplate the resurrection which was anticipated at the transfiguration but which is actually present within our hearts now. So we see how this enters into the monastic life in a sense. That is the


contemplative light can be understood as the beginning of the vision of that light which is transforming as it is seen transforming as it is beheld. A transformation which is not only interior which is a transformation of consciousness first of all but which is not only a transformation of consciousness which has a real ontological dimension to it and which is not just limited to us it's not just interior but it's to involve the whole of us which occurs in the heart but as the heart is the center of our being the heart enters into every moment of our life a thing which is beyond our consciousness and yet which cannot leave our consciousness unchanged but has to transform it which is beyond our life and yet cannot leave our life untransformed and which eventually reaches out beyond us to the whole of the creation.


And so the monastic life can be seen as the effort to clear one's vision to open the eyes of one's heart and keep them clear to behold this light and then to give witness to this light not by contriving a lot of things to do but simply by allowing oneself to be transformed and then to be a presence to be a presence in the world. A little later on in 2 Corinthians St. Paul says We have this treasure in earthen vessels that is our poor humanity to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. So we do not lose heart though our outer nature is wasting away our inner nature is being renewed every day. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed we have a building from God a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens. He's talking about as it were the new life that's in the heart and the exterior which is is wasting away.


We'll talk later about Thomas Merton's notion of the exterior self and the interior self which is another thing but which is related to this because that inner life which begins in the heart is the new creation of the inner self and the outer self has to wear away. I guess that's enough for this morning. I'd like to propose this kind of thesis that actually the Christian heart is a new creation. The thing that happens the thing that happens with Christ is the creation of a new heart. This is the full meaning of the incarnation in a certain sense is that a new heart is put within man a new center is put into man which is both human and divine and out of that comes everything else. This has repercussions of course in our prayer and everything else and so when man finds Christ


he very truly finds himself as He was always meant to be. He very truly comes home. And so when man