The Model of Mystics – the Light in the Heart

“Mary was the wisest theologian. (She was the Mother of the Word ) Who is at once the theology of God and of Men. God’s Truth entered so deeply into her life as to become Incarnate in her flesh. All Wisdom was centered in her heart, sedes Sapientiae. When the angel came to her at the An­nunciation……. the angel found her in deepest silence. Few words are recorded of her who gave us the Word. And when she had given Him….(the Creative One)….. to the world, what should she do but listen to him? “She kept all these words, treasuring them in her heart?”

“And so, in every way, Mary is the model of contemplatives and the mirror of mystics. Those who love the pure Truth of God instinctively, love the simplicity of Mary. She draws them into the heart of her silence and of her humility. She is the virgin of solitude, whom God called His hermit—ana est colamba mea in foraminibus petrae. She hid in the caverns of the rock, (the ruby in the stone) that the mystic, Saint John of the Cross wrote about in the living flame. She lived as a hermit in the lofty mysteries of her Son. She lived all the time in the open sky, though she walked on the earth and swept floors and made beds and made supper for the carpenters. What was happening in her unimaginably clear soul, in the stainless mirror of her being which God had made to receive His perfect likeness?

When the angel spoke, God awoke in the heart of this girl of Nazareth and moved within her like a giant. He stirred and opened His eyes and her soul saw that in con­taining Him she contained the world besides. The Annun­ciation was not so much a vision as an earthquake in which God moved the universe and unsettled the spheres, and the beginning and end of all things came before her in her deepest heart. And far beneath the movement of this silent cataclysm, she slept in the infinite tranquility of God, and God was a child curled up who slept in her, and her veins were flooded with His wisdom which is night, which is starlight, which is silence. And her whole being was em­braced in Him in whom

she embraced and became tremendous silence.”

by Thomas Merton

From Ascent to Truth