Today we pray with THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING
The Cloude of Unknowyng was written in Middle English in the second half of the 14th century by an anonymous author, sometimes thought to be a Carthusian (Michael Ramsey, whom we shall meet later in these pages, believed the author to be a woman). It is a guide for a young person who desires to grow in the contemplative life. The work draws on the ancient mystical tradition of the via negativa, saying of God that ‘by love he may be caught and held, but by thinking never’. The seeker is advised that God’s grace is always utterly undeserved: we must strip away all intellectual desire for knowledge and control and be content to wait meekly in unknowing for the gift of contemplative prayer, which is described as God’s ‘work’ in us. It is to be truly ‘oned’ with God.
In the words of Chapter 32: ‘And this meekness obtaineth to have God himself mightily descending, to venge thee of thine enemies, for to take thee up, and cherishingly dry thine ghostly eyen; as the father doth the child that is in point to perish under the mouths of wild swine or wode [furious] biting bears.’
Evelyn Underhill wrote: ‘for the author of the Cloud all human virtue is comprised in the twin qualities of Humility and Charity. He who has these, has all.’
To access today’s reading, psalm and prayers, click here.