4/24/2017

Be-wild-erment

Embrace bewilderment: be wild.

There is a forest of entangled miracles at the center of your heart. There Jesus calls his disciples, "Come away by yourselves into a wild place and rest awhile" (Mark 6:31).  He wants to recharge their energy with untamed innocence.

In the Old Testament, God calls Israel back to the wilderness: "I remember the unfailing devotion of your youth, the love of your bridal days, when you followed me into the wilderness, through a land unsown." (Jeremiah 1)

"True comprehension is bewilderment," wrote the young Martin Luther, when he was learning from Rhineland mystics like Meister Eckhart and Johann Tauler. Later, when Luther turned politician, he lost his inner powers, renounced mystical innocence, took up dogma, and joined the patriarchy.


Tauler wrote that God is "a simple hidden wilderness beyond being," and "a wilderness incomprehensibly wild... where multiplicity is lost in unity" (Sermon 60). Rhineland mystics like Tauler had nurtured the Protestantism of the radical reformers. They were almost entirely exterminated, not by the Catholic Church, but by Lutherans and Calvinists. Imagine how different Western history would have been had the Reformation kept its roots sunk in the mystics, rather than transplanting itself to the arid pseudo-rationalism of the Puritans!

Thus we now must look back to the Roman Catholic roots of mystical Christianity, especially among the Rhineland mystics, where Celtic monks from Ireland had been the first missionaries, rather than monks from Rome.

In the French version of the Arthurian Grail story, La Quest de la Sainte-Grale, the anonymous author, probably a Cistercian monk, tells us that "each knight chose to enter the forest where it was most overgrown, and there was no path."

The pathless wilderness where we meet God need not be on a mountaintop, in a desert, or forest. Wherever we are, even in the midst of market place or urban jungle, we may enter the wild places of the Heart, and be lost in Love.

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