Cassidy Hall post this insight into the heart and mind of Fr. Charles Cummings, OCSO
“The monastic night watch is good practice in the art of waiting, as we patiently look for the coming of dawn. Monks and nuns wait in the dark, longing for the light of dawn but unable to hasten its coming. No one can force the dawn or bring it about in any way. It dawns in its own good time on those who wait for it. The ability to wait is characteristic of those who have learned to slow down and live in the fullness of the present moment. By quietly watching and praying through the night, I learn to live with the slow process of my spiritual growth. I have no control over the future, and I do not know exactly what will happen. I am asked only to stay awake and be ready because the light will surely come and will claim its victory over every form of darkness, despair, suffering, and death.”
––Fr. Charles Cummings, OCSO, who died on January 15, 2020.
I reflected on this as the sun was coming up, especially the part of “the ability to wait is characteristic of those who have learned to slow down and live in the fullness of the present moment.”
We are all on the path of contemplation, and in our lives, the work a day world we live in, schedules to keep, events, soccer meets and just all that is life today, how often do we find ourselves in meditation saying to ourselves “Come on meditation, hurry up, I don’t have all day!”
The sun rises is not something we can control; it happens if we like it or not, and the dark of the night is always there, and there is no way to speed it up. In our lives, we all have experienced, at some point, the darkest hour just before dawn. The future unfolds for us, and we find ourselves participating at the moment what the future brought.
Contemplation, meditation, and reflection help us stay awake and to be ready when the “sun rises.”
I often think what was on the minds of our Neanderthal relatives in their lives? Did they contemplate and mediate the way we do? We know from Anthropology a tad about their understanding of a “Significant Other” and their forms of worship and belief. We see humans develop and struggle with meditation and contemplation as we entered the Agricultural Revolution, and especially as we humans began the Industrial Revolution, in particular during the last phases where technology has been introduced at warp speeds.
Today’s technology revolution, the reality of the technology that is at our fingertips, in our pockets, in our appliances all were the “future” at a point in history in our lives. In many ways, each revolution has brought for some people a form of darkness, despair, suffering, and death. And for others, the revolution, the technology brought victory over the challenges and allowed humans to flourish.
In the midst of this, where do we find the Universal Christ? Where do we meet the living God in our experiences?
Today, our world is entering the next phase of a “revolution,” one speared headed from the last, I am a firm believer in the “next BIG thing usually EXTENDS the last big thing.” We call this next revolution the “Autonomous Revolution.”
The Autonomous Revolution is about to introduce to the world new forms of work, business, housing, lifestyles, public news, the view of the universe, and the relationship to space, new ways of government, and lifestyle on a global basis. The question will arise about how ethicists and the religions of the world will adapt? What will philosophers speak of regarding the greater good?
Will we learn the ability to wait and live in the fullness of the time of our lives we live in? How will contemplation, meditation, and reflection guide us through the darkest hour just before dawn?
“Be ready because the light will surely come.”
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