Photo: A Greek Orthodox priest in Ottoman Jerusalem, 1915.
You must descend from
your head into your heart.
At present your thoughts of God
are in your head. And God Himself is,
as it were, outside you, and
so your prayer and other spiritual
remain exterior. Whilst you are still
in your head,
thoughts will not easily be subdued but
will always be whirling about, like snow
in winter or
clouds of mosquitoes in summer.
(Theophan the Recluse)
Source and Recommended Reading:
'For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics'
By Roger Housden (Author)
Roger Housden, author of the best-selling Ten Poems to Change Your Life, celebrates the growing popularity of mystical poetry with this beautiful compilation from the Christian contemplative tradition. Although the writings of the Sufi mystics (Rumi and Hafez) and the Indian mystics (Mirabai and Kabir) have reached a wide audience in recent years, the poetry of the Christian mystics has yet to be discovered by a general audience. For Lovers of God Everywhere, a collection of nearly 100 poems from both historic and contemporary writers, heralds the reemergence of the great spiritual voices of the Christian tradition—a tradition with its own love songs to God, cries of longing, and bliss of union.
In this collection, Roger introduces us to some of the foremost poets of both the Eastern and Western Christian traditions. He takes us from the wisdom of the Desert Fathers to the passion of St. Augustine, through the medieval ecstasies of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Siena, to the subtleties of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila; and on to contemporary voices such as Rainer Maria Rilke, T.S. Eliot, and Mary Oliver. Roger’s insightful commentary on each poem inspires us to take its words more deeply into our souls and shows how the mystical tradition transcends sectarian divides and speaks to the heart of humanity.