Recess & Recollection

We are well into August and I find myself still at the computer. It is not really where I want to be just now. There are travels to take—though not necessarily far from where I am sitting. A few yards will do it. I am impatient to stay put.



The loveliest road maps are ones intended to guide the anchored. Among favorite itineraries for the dug in is Louis Dupré’s The Deeper Life:

Precisely because God dwells first and foremost in the self, the mystical journey is mostly an inward journey. Our own Christian tradition has always taught that the gate that gives access to the inner land is memory. In English we refer to the religious way of remembering by the beautiful word recollection. A most appropriate term. Not only do I reverse the forward-and-outward movement of ordinary consciousness toward the inward source of my active life, but in doing so I re-collect myself out of the constant dispersion of time. The way back into the past is the inward way .  .  .  .  . Recollection means, indeed, far more than recall: it is interiorization.


I lack material for any journey that might be called mystical. A recollected one is more accessible to me, better suited to the constraints of temperament. I am bound to the quotidian, too reverent of the fragility and wonder of the mundane—too much in love with it—to hazard a ramble toward the mystical. It is enough to stay in place, moored to a spot that echoes the command that breaks in to the ancient psalm: “Be still, and know that I am God.”


Accidents of Time

Enjoy this summer’s end. Read well, work well. Pray with gusto if you can. Come to September refreshed. And with stamina for this vale of tears that is ours to find our way in.