May 21, 2018

This week (Session 37 and 38) Father Keating explains another psychological model titled The Philosophical Model.  The seminar leaders summarized the Philosophical Model presented by Father Keating as follows:

The Philosophical Model presented by Fr. Thomas in Monday's video is admittedly dense. Many of us may find it hard to understand and even harder to apply. The teaching might be summarized this way: This model describes the evolution and obstacles to unity consciousness, which most of us haven't experienced as yet and don't understand. Culturally, we worship reason even while our emotional programs unconsciously rule us.

The emotional programs which “rule us unconsciously” are given space to heal during the centering prayer period.  The seminar leaders note as follows:

In addition to the active intellect which gives us the ability to reason, we have a passive or intuitive intellect which perceives truth directly without the mediation of reason. This is the seat of our will to God, or our desire to seek that which can only be filled by God. The consistent practice of Centering Prayer helps us to "close the door" (Matthew 6:6) on all of our faculties except our intuitive level through the passive intellect, which has the potential to lead us to divine union, the awareness of the oneness of the human family and the oneness with all reality. 

They then expound:  What a joy, then, to discover that the core of reality, our perspectives and inmost capacities, that place of union and unity, already exists in every one of us! 

Using Thomas Merton’s writing from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, the seminar leaders illustrate what is possible for us and for each member of the human family.

"At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak his name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming tighter in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely. ... I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere." 
-- Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander  

Further study for this week is from Chapter 12, "From the Inside Out" from Intimacy with God (2017 edition), Chapter 14, "Towards Intimacy with God" (older editions).