September 4, 2010

Mystical Moments

Ever since I was little I've had what I have come to call, somewhat clumsily, 'mystical moments.' Over the past couple of years I have become convinced that these moments form a part of what God has been up to with me, both as a remote preparation for my conversion to Christianity and as an ongoing support and encouragement within it.

I had one of these moments tonight. I left the subway station. It was dark and rainy. I began to walk through the park pathway that forms part of the way back to the friary from the train. I suddenly became very mindful of the moment. I felt the hardness of the path beneath my steps. I felt the thickness of the air as I breathed it in. I noticed the curtain of rain falling around the edges of my half-broken umbrella. (No thought or judgment of the umbrella at this moment; it just was as it was. To say that I accepted its brokenness (how correct in our ministerial parlance!) is too coarse; the question doesn't even arise. Here is the model of freedom.) I see a yellow pencil on the path. It is very yellow. That's its joy in the world, and to notice it is mine. For a second or a minute I am utterly mindful of where I am and what is around me and nothing intrudes from within. I am in the now, the nunc stans that was the image of eternity for the medievals. And in this mindfulness I get a glimpse of what is behind, or below, and above it all. (Pick your metaphor; it doesn't really matter.) It is there, subtle and quiet, but nonetheless insistent: the 'Why' in the most basic of all metaphysical questions: Why is there something rather than nothing? And I get a sense, a hunch, a suspicion that this Why, this Reason behind the fact of being itself is gentle, and benevolent, and wise, and forms what He forms with and as Love.

And this is what I have tried to follow, and the experience to which I have tried to be faithful.


Sara said...

Thank you for writing this. It is not quite like anything I have experienced, but still, familiar.

Brother Charles said...

God is like that...always other and unknown but somehow overwhelmingly familiar.