Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

The world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness

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What is serious to human beings is often trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as "play" is perhaps what God takes most seriously. God plays…in the garden of creation, and, if we could let go of our obsessions with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear God's call and follow God in God's mysterious, cosmic dance. "We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Basho we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash---…the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that makes themselves evident [at such times], provide echoes of the cosmic dance.

For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life…the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance that is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood whether we want it to or not.

Thomas Merton, OCSO
New Seeds of Contemplation, pp. 296-297

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