Weil on Prayer, a Voyage, and Friendship through Centuries

Welcome to our monthly newsletter!

The first of our highlights is a very brief and compelling text by Simone Weil on her experience with the Lord’s Prayer. In a few lines she gives us a very practical method for deep contemplative prayer, and a glimpse into the depths of her metaphysical insights and her mystical experience.

I have made a practice of saying it through once each morning with absolute attention. If during the recitation my attention wanders or goes to sleep in the minutest degree, I begin again until I have once succeeded in going through it with absolutely pure attention.

• We follow with an article on one of the great early Christian classics on the symbolism of travelling, sailing and pilgrimage in general, the 9th century Navigatio sancti Brendani, The Voyage of St Brendan.

Brendan is explicitly told that the length of his journey is God’s will; he only reaches the island when he and his monks are ready… The distance between the Promised Land of the Saints and Ireland is measured in morality not length and breadth… The terra repromissionis is not distant and inhospitable Newfoundland. It is hidden beyond a gate whose opening is next door to Ireland; paradise is at home. For those who are worthy it is just around the corner and on the horizon.

St Brendan ahoy

• And we complete our update with a mystical connection through the centuries and traditions, between the Sufi Khwaja Abdullah Ansari and Fr. Serge de Beaurecueil.

He who knows three things is saved from three things:
Whoever knows that the Creator made no mistakes at Creation
is saved from cavilling.
Whoever knows that He made no favouritism in allotting fortune
is saved from jealousy.
Whoever knows of what he is created
is saved from pride.