Angelus Silesius – Theopoetic Echoes

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Creative Commons teen room poetry” by John is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Angelus Silesius did not live or write in a vacuum. He was an educated man, having received his doctorate in philosophy and medicine. He was certainly influenced by Meister Eckhart. I wonder if Silesius was familiar with the writings of a certain 14th Century English writer. Silesius wrote:

“Where is my residence?”‘
Where I nor you can stand.
“Where is the final end
Where I at last shall land?”
‘T is where no end is found. “
And whither must I press.
Above God I must pass.
Into the wilderness.

Translated by Paul Carus (1908)

I see echoes of The Cloud of Unknowing. Try as we might, we can never penetrate to the very being of God, for there exists a “cloud of unknowing” between us and God. Perhaps Silesius is simply drawing upon the wilderness experience of Yeshua, which reprised itself in his final exasperated cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The more we try to comprehend God, the more we find ourselves in the fog of unknowing, in a desolate wilderness… and that is OK, because that wilderness is where we live, where we must sort things out.

John Caputo’s marvelous epigram: “God doesn’t exist: God insists” finds some rooting in Silesius’ poems:

Thou needst not cry to God,
The spring wells up in thee.
Don’t stop its fountain head:
It flows eternally.

God is my final end;
Does he from me evolve,
Then he grows out of me,
While I in Him dissolve.

Translated by Paul Carus (1908)

God is the internal bubbling up of a well-spring (an insistence, invitation, calling). This event is not time-bound, but eternal (Tillich’s eternal now) – that is, life’s meaning is not to be delayed until some heavenly after-life. Life is to be lived fully in the Now (kairos time). This is not a license to hedonistic excess. Instead it becomes a call to responsive justice – a “being with” yourself, the others around you, the creation.

Life is not about a search for God; instead, life is a quest for life that, strangely enough, is at its fullest (most whole) when it dissolves into the Mystery that we call God.

God in me;
I in God.
Losing my Me
Tis not so odd –
It’s not an excuse
For Mystery’s child
I’m not a recluse
I’m off into the Wild.

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One Reply to “Angelus Silesius – Theopoetic Echoes”

  1. There are some fascinating points in time in this post but I do’t understand
    if I see all of them center to heart. There’s some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further.

    Good post , thanks and we need more! Added to
    FeedBurner as well.

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