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    Sheep bound on a slaughterblock

    On Inner Detachment

    We deafen God day and night with our words, “Lord, thy will be done.” But then when God’s will does happen, we are furious and don’t like it a bit.

    By Meister Eckhart

    July 16, 2022
    • George Marsh

      Eckhart also said/wrote: We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born. There arose from such ideas the image of Mary, Jesus's mother, as a spiritual model for all Christians. Thank you for reprinting this rich selection from Eckhart.

    • George Marsh

      Meister Eckhart makes a great deal of sense to many contemporary people. If any reader of this comment is curious about the relevance of Eckhart to our day, I suggest reading "Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Time" (2014) by Matthew Fox.

    This article first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Plough.

    Nothing makes us true men and women but the giving up of our will. The only perfect and true will comes from entering into God’s will and being without self-will. For the perfection of our will means being in harmony with the divine will by willing what God wills, and the way he wills it.

    At the time when the angel appeared to our dear Mary, nothing that she had done would ever have made her the mother of God; but as soon as she gave up her will, she became mother of the Eternal Word and conceived God in that hour.

    Never has God given himself nor will he ever give himself to an alien will. Only where he finds his will does he impart himself and leave himself, with all that he is.

    This is the true inner detachment: in it, the spirit stands immovable in the face of everything that befalls it, whether it is good or bad, honor or disgrace or calumny, just as a broad mountain stands immovable in the face of a little breeze.

    Sheep bound on a slaughterblock

    Francisco de Zurbarán, Agnus Dei .

    If God’s will should please you in this way, you would feel just as if you were in heaven, regardless of what happens or does not happen to you. But those who desire something different from God’s will get what they deserve: they are always in misery and trouble; people do them a great deal of violence and injury, and they suffer in every way.

    We deafen God day and night with our words, “Lord, thy will be done.” But then when God’s will does happen, we are furious and don’t like it a bit. When our will becomes God’s will, that is certainly good; but how much better it would be if God’s will were to become our will.

    There is nothing a person is able to offer God that is more pleasing to him than this kind of detachment. God cares less for our watching, fasting, or praying than for this detachment. God needs nothing more from us than a quiet heart.

    No one must imagine that it is impossible to attain this, for it is God himself who does it. Some may say they do not have it. To this I say that I am sorry. But if you do not desire it, I am still more sorry. If you cannot have it, then do have a longing for it! And if you cannot have the longing, then at least long to have the longing!

    Because of this the prophet says, “I long, O Lord, to have a longing for thy righteousness.”

    That we may desire God in the sense that he may be born in us – may God help us to this!

    Selections from Meister Eckehart spricht, ed. Otto Karrer (Ars Sacra/Josef Müller, 1926), trans. Nicoline Maas.

    Contributed By portrait of Meister Eckhart Meister Eckhart

    Famous as a mystic after his death, in life Meister Eckhart (ca. 1260–1328) was a noted scholar and active administrator, serving as a Dominican...

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