The secret of the stream is its source, says Roland Faber. It is the gentle beginnings of its flow. The beginnings are very different from images of a “ground” or “bottom” or “fundament” or “foundation.” They are not like the strength of a rock or even the unfathomable depths of an ocean. They are fragile, pure, vulnerable, and overflowing with grace, the gift of life. This gift, adds John O'Donohue, is the fluidity of perpetual divine kindness. It works without a program or pre-existent design. It helps us become free of too much strategizing, too much self-consciousness. We open ourselves to the freedom of God without a "why." We come to understand that, even in the bleakest of times, there is a divine springtime.
- Jay McDaniel, 5/14/2021
John O'Donohue on Grace
from Beauty: The Divine Embrace
GRACE IS ONE OF THE MOST MAJESTIC WORDS IN THEOLOGY. IT suggests the sublime spontaneity of the divine which no theory or category could ever capture. Grace has its own elegance. It is above the mechanics of agenda or operation. No-one can set limits to the flow of grace. Its presence and forceremain unmeasurable and unpredictable. Grace also suggests how fluent and seamless the divine presence is. There are no compartments, corners or breakages imaginable in the flow of grace. Grace is the permanent climate of divine kindness. It suggests a compassion and understanding for all the ambivalent and contradictory dimensions of the human experience and pain. This climate of kindness nurtures the sore landscape of the human heart and urges torn ground to heal and become fecund. Grace is the perennial infusion of springtime into the winter of bleakness.
Divine grace works without a programme; it does not labour under the leaden intention of a pre-existent, fixed plan. Meister Eckhart states: ‘God has no why, but is the why of everything and to everything’: deus non habet quare sed ipsum est quare omnium et omnibus. This is a subversive and liberating statement. It liberates God from entanglement in the mesh of our needs, speculations and moralistic agenda. This quality of the divine presence should be highlighted especially in a digital culture dominated by the mechanics of function. The claim ‘God has no why’ makes a wonderful clearance in a culture where most objects and modes of presence are either expression or functions of something else. In our times it is quite exceptional for a thing simply to be itself. The same is true of people. A slick politics of presentation and deliberateness now dominates most forms of presence and it is actually quite disarming to hear someone speak from their heart with no eye to the best camera angle. Such direct immediacy seems almost innocent and unsophisticated, yet it is so refreshing and real.
A God without a why is a God who is lyrical and full of grace, a God who has no other intention than simply ‘to be’. To learn that art of being is to become free of the burden of strategy, purpose and self-consciousness. God dwells totally in fluency of presence.
Roland Faber on the Secret of the Stream
from The Cosmic Spirit
"THE SECRET OF THE STREAM IS ITS SOURCE. There are ways to visualize the source: One way would be to follow the cycle of the river of things into the permanent flow in which there is, in fact, no point of origin but the cycle itself: the rivers that empty into the ocean, the clouds that evaporate over land to rain down and feed underwater reservoirs and springs that again flow into the ocean. The other way is to follow the secrets of the river of things counter to its “natural” movement downward, that is, without resisting the flow or crossing it, to move upstream to the source, the hidden origin, the beginning, the disappearance of the flow into its birthplace and point of emanation. Different from other sources of water, such as a well or a reservoir, the spring is a symbol of gentle beginnings of the flow, harboring a secret of the appearance from somewhere or nowhere. It is never dark and dangerous (as a well might be), nor is it collected or manufactured (as a reservoir might be). It has the connotation of fragility and purity, of an exposure of the very reason of the flow to the seeker or destroyer. It is, in a sense, defenseless. It is a pure gift.
It is the symbol of the gratitude of overflowing, of the emanation of things from its source. In a religious context, such a source is very different from images of “ground” or “bottom” or “fundament” or “foundation.” It does not use the strength of a rock or the power of a lion or the fixity of a dry ground or the unfathomable darkness of the deep of the ocean to make us feel the divine creativity and the origination of all things from a divine or ultimate reality. Yet it conveys that all things are, in fact, originating within it, without that source losing anything of its grace and overflowing plenitude. It is not a controlling power, but a gift of life. Life comes from life. What the life-giving spring gives away is nothing but itself. It flows through the river of things. It is the cosmic immanence of the source in all the flow, even if it flows far away from its origin; in its origin, it is still flowing in pure life-giving overflowing, emanating all things."