THE FREEDOM OF NOTHINGNESS
'Outside of God, there is nothing but nothing. God is a being beyond being, and a nothingness beyond being'.(Meister Eckhart 1260-1329 A.D.) Here Eckhart opens up for us the vast boundlessness of space. For some this may appear to be too frightening a possibility to consider. After all, if God is beyond a structure comprehensible to human reason, then it is far easier to turn away and touch the material structures of our lives, such as possessions or political beliefs. There we can settle cosily into the well trodden conflicts of our daily lives, whether personal, national or global. But that as we know only postpones the inevitable question : " But what then?" Death after all is awaiting for all of us, so what to do? Those with both faith and reason, can point towards some understanding of a divine cause of both the universe itself and of our own individual lives. This raises big questions about our own sense of responsibility to the Common Good. The paradox is that it is precisely by engaging with the suffering of others, or standing up for the universal values of Truth, that we find a freeing up, an uncoupling from material concerns. Our sense of identity becomes clearer, we are no longer somebody else's person. As Mechtild of Magdeburg said, " When you drink the waters of sorrow, you shall kindle the fire of love.' (1210-1280 A.D.) Yet again this month we are confronted with extremes of cruelty on the international stage. Each example is in its own way, a clear portrayal of how enslaved the minds of these torturers and cruel political leaders really are. Free, they are not. St.Thomas Aquinas underlines our real goals: ' The production and the sustaining of the universe, is the supreme act of practical reason. In that act, God envisages and freely chooses the whole order of things, for the common benefit of the whole.' So if we wish to taste real freedom, then we must embrace the light.
Thank you. Tom Baxter.