The person who loves God values knowledge of God more than anything created by God, and pursues such knowledge ardently and ceaselessly.
– Saint Maximos The Confessor
This is a powerful statement. Let me unpack it. I read it in The Philokalia (Volume Two).
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I enjoy God’s creation when instead I should seek knowledge of God. It’s not bad to enjoy God’s creation. I do think God wants me to drink my French press coffee. God encourages me to walk in nature with my family. God loves when I gaze at the ocean. I savor the time when my wife and I watch our favorite cable series.
However, I think I will enjoy God’s creation even more if I first seek and value knowledge of God more than I seek and enjoy the created things of God.
How do I seek knowledge of God?
I need to let God teach me. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to let God teach me.
I can read the Bible and let God’s Spirit speak to me. As I read a passage what does it tell me? Is there an action I need to take?
Another way I can let God teach me is verbal prayer. I can ask God one simple yet not so simple question. “Who are You?” I might sit and ask God this question. I might ask God this question while I take a walk. Then I wait. I let God reveal the answer to me.
I can also ask God this same question and watch. I can see what happens around me. What does God want to show me? What does God wish to teach me?
During silent prayer I open to God. I consent to the action and presence of God within. I let God act within me. Silent prayer is wordless prayer. I do not pray. I let God pray in me. I let God teach me.
We can obtain knowledge of God if we let God teach us. If we seek God, God will show us who He is. I think it is vital to take time each day and let God teach us. I shared three examples.
I encourage you to seek daily practices when you can let God teach you who He is. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. As God reveals and shares a glimmer of who He is, you will begin to more and more marvel at and enjoy His creation that surrounds you.
Transforming the World through Contemplative Prayer: Richard Rohr, OFM, and Laurence Freeman, OSB—two long-time spiritual friends—offer practical guidance for the challenges of this time in Earth’s history. They teach us how we can put our deepest aspirations for personal realization and social transformation into practice. Their combined focus on contemplation, action, and a shared passion for truth illuminates the origins of our crisis and shows us the path toward lasting change and a more just and loving humanity. Discover the power of contemplative prayer to change the world.
Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate – Three leading voices in the contemplative Christian tradition explore the mystic’s path: Richard Rohr, James Finley and Cynthia Bourgeault. Experience a very special weekend conference with teachings that guide us through the long mystical tradition from early Christianity to our own time. This view into our mystical heritage opens our hearts to the Divine Mystery in which we live and are surrounded. The mystical union to which we are all invited strengthens us to live our lives with compassion and gratitude.
On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today?
Centering Prayer Course: A Training Course for Opening to the Presence of God – Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Thomas Merton’s Path to the Palace of Nowhere: The Essential Guide to the Contemplative Teachings of Thomas Merton – Now James Finley, who for six years lived, prayed, and studied with Brother Louis, as Merton was known at the Abbey of Gethsemani, shares with us the gifts passed on to him by this towering figure.
The Teachings of Meister Eckhart: An Invitation to Experience God in Every Moment: The 13th-century mystic Meister Eckhart was the most brilliant Christian scholar of his day, but he was also legendary for the way that he opened listeners to the direct experience of God during his public talks. Today, his written wisdom remains alive as ever, ready to illuminate us. James Finley, one of today’s best-known teachers of the Christian contemplative tradition, invites us into Eckhart’s insights in the same way that this luminary teacher delighted in sharing them—through the spoken word.
“My experience—from the depths of depression to the heights of joy—has taught me that the path toward wholeness takes patience and passion,” teaches Parker Palmer. With An Undivided Life, you will receive his timeless wisdom and guidance to help you discern, trust, and follow your authentic self at home, in your work, and in the world. We all yearn for a life that is whole—where “soul and role” are aligned and our innermost wisdom guides us in our actions. Perhaps no one has explored this topic more deeply than bestselling author and distinguished educator Parker J. Palmer.