Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Meister Eckhart’s Sermons and Treatises above all emphasizes that the ground of God and the ground of the soul are the same ground; therefore, it behooves the person to enter his or her soul through ascetic practices in order to facilitate union with God. Union with God, or “the birth of God in the soul,” requires utter disinterest, or detachment from things temporal. Thus, the highest goal of humanity is total stillness and silence, for God is utterly still and silent, and like attracts like. The way to utter disinterest through stillness and silence is the ascetic way: an embrace of suffering, such as keeping vigils and fasting. However, these practices must always be seen as helps to detachment and never as ends in themselves, lest they become mere “externals” that interfere with the quest for detachment as much as the very things they are intended to help the seeker overcome. Those seeking union with God must bear in mind that beneath literal statements Scripture is a hidden message, which is to be interpreted in the light of the superiority of spirit over matter and the interior life over the exterior life. Finally, the experience of God cannot last and must be sought again and again until one is united eternally with God in the hereafter.