Unknowncountry.com offers this sublime sermon for Easter reading. It is one of the greatest things ever said by man in service of God.
It was written by Johannes Eckhart, known as Meister. He was a Dominican monk, a German, who was born in around 1260 and died in approximately 1328. During his lifetime, he was persecuted for heresy and may have been burned at the stake. In recent centuries, religious scholars have recognized him as among the very greatest of philosophers, and have embraced the idea that he was indeed a “man who knew God.” Among Catholics, he has come to be honored along with Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas as one of the clearest voices ever raised in the name of God.
God Laughs and Plays by Meister Eckhart
LAUDATE COELI ET EXULTET TERRA.
EGO SUM LUX MUNDI. (John 8:12)
I have read two texts in Latin. One is in the lection for today and is quoted from the prophet Isaiah: Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the Lord hath comforted his people and will have mercy on his afflicted. The other is from the Gospel and quotes our Lord: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Now, notice the first text in which the prophet is quoted: Rejoice, O heavens and earth. Truly! Truly! By God! By God! Be as sure of it as you are that God lives: at the least good deed, the least bit of good will, or the least of good desires ,all the saints in heaven and on earth rejoice, and together with the angels, their joy is such that all the joy in this world cannot be compared to it. The more exalted a saint is, the greater his joy; but the joy of them all put together amounts to as little as a bean when compared to the joy of God over good deeds. For truly, God plays and laughs in good deeds, whereas all other deeds, which do not make for the glory of God, are like ashes before him. Thus he says: Rejoice, O heavens! For the Lord hath comforted his people!
Notice that he says: God hath comforted his people and will have mercy on his afflicted his poor ones. The poor are left to God alone, for no one bothers with them. If one has a friend who is poor, he does not open his heart to him; but if he is good and wise, he says: you belong to my crowd! and quickly opens his heart to him. But to the poor, they say: God take care of you! and are ashamed of them. The poor are left to God and wherever they go they find him, and everywhere he is theirs. God takes charge of them because they are given to him. That is why the gospel says: Blessed are the poor.
Now let us look at the text in which he says: I am the light of the world. I am has to do with essence. The authorities say that any creature at all could say I, for that work is general property, but the word sum am belongs to God alone, and none may use it but he. Sum expressed the thought of one thing containing all good. To creatures this is denied, so that none of them may have what is exclusively assigned to persons for their comfort. If I had all I could wish for, and yet hurt my finger, I should not have this all, for my finger would be hurt and complete comfort would not be mine as long as that was the case.
Bread is comfortable to people who are hungry, but if they are thirsty they get as little comfort out of bread as they would out of a stone. It is the same with clothing when one is cold, but when one is hot he gets little comfort out of clothing. So it is with all kinds of creatures: they all have a certain bitterness in them and as surely they contain a certain comfort, like the sweetness of honey, to be skimmed off the surface.
But among other things, all that is good in creatures, all their honey-sweetness is from God. Thus it is written in the Book of Wisdom: All the good of my soul comes from thee. Creature comfort is never perfect. It is faulty and never comes unmixed. Gods comfort is pure and without any admixture. It is full and complete and he needs so much to give it that he can do nothing else until he has.
So prodigal is God with his love for us that it might seem as if he had forgotten about the Kingdoms of Heaven and earth, all the blessing of his Godhead, and could have nothing to do with anything else than me alone, so that he might be free to give me all my comfort requires. And to me he gives it constantly completely and perfectly in its purest form and so he gives it to every creature.
He says: He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness. Notice that :he that followeth me. The authorities say that the soul has three agents. The first is always seeking what is sweetest. The second is always seeking the highest. The third always seeks the best, for the soul is too aristocratic ever to rest except at its own point of origin, from which there drops what makes for goodness. See, so sweet is Gods comfort that every creature is looking for it, hunting it. I shall go even further and say that their very existence and life depend on their search for it, their hunting it.
But you may ask: Where is this God, after whom all creatures seek and from whom they have their life and being (I prefer to speak of the Godhead, from whence all our blessings flow.) The Father says: My Son, I have begotten thee today in the light reflected from the saints. Where is this God I am caught in the perfection of the saints. Where is this God In the Father. Where is this God In eternity. Just as a man who is hiding ears his throat ands this reveals his whereabouts, so it is with God. Nobody could ever find God. He has to discover himself.
A saint says: Sometimes I feel such a sweetness in my soul that I forget everything else and myself, too and dissolve in thee. But when I try to catch it perfectly, O Lord, though takest it away. Lord, what do you mean by that You entice me. Then why do you withdraw If you love me, why do you run away Ah, Lord, you do this because you want me to have a lot of experience with you!
The prophet says: My God!
Who told you that I am your God
Lord, I cannot rest except in you and nothing goes well with me except in you.
That we may ever seek God like this, and even find him, may God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost help us! Amen.
NOTE: This Insight, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.