I introduced myself, thanked him for his talk on "centering prayer," and turned to leave. Father James stopped me and said, "I wonder if you’d be able to come by my hermitage for tea, and we could talk. I sense a sort of connection between the two of us."
That fall seven years ago, as I sat having tea with a man, in every degree, more intelligent, prayerful, disciplined, current, I understood what a disarmed heart looks like. We sat together, me, a neophyte, him, open, like the books on his table–believing that he may have something to learn from me. Which is, I’ve learned, the way of disarmed hearts.
A disarmed heart has no refuge except in the hearts of others.
A disarmed heart breaks often enough.
A disarmed heart carries a load of longing for peace.
A disarmed heart bears ridicule, is used to being misunderstood, but is still brimming with mercy.
A disarmed heart disarms the hearts in the room.
A disarmed heart has left the domain of fear and is angry at injustice.
A disarmed heart doesn’t wield the word love violently.
A disarmed heart is its own refuge.
This is what was etched within, after many afternoon and evening teas with Father James.
None of my understanding, meager as it is, has ever come to me disembodied.