More from Simone Weil’s remarkable Waiting on God. Weil was introduced two installments ago.
I do not need any hope or any promise to believe that God is rich in mercy. I know this wealth of his with the certainty of experience; I have touched it. What I know of it through actual contact is so far beyond my capacity of understanding and gratitude that even the promise of future bliss could add nothing to it for me; since for human intelligence the addition of two infinites is not an addition.
Simone Weil was introduced in the previous post. In this passage she continues the same letter to Father Perrin. Not all of her statements in Waiting for God are theologically kosher. However, she was the type of seeker and philosopher who insisted on following truth wherever it led, and who can say whether her journey in theological learning was complete when her brief life ended? God uses and blesses imperfect vessels to do his work.
From Waiting for God
Since that time I have made a practice of saying [the Lord’s Prayer] 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. Sometimes it comes about that I say it again out of sheer pleasure, but I only do it if I really feel the impulse.
The effect of this practice is extraordinary and surprises me every time, for, although I experience it each day, it exceeds my expectation at each repetition.
At times the very first words tear my thoughts from my body and transport it to a place outside space where there is neither perspective nor point of view. The infinity of the ordinary expanses of perception is replaced by an infinity to the second or third degree. At the same time filling very part of this infinity of infinity, there is silence, a silence which is not an absence of sound but which is the object of a positive sensation, more positive than that of sound. Noises, if there are any, only reach me after crossing this silence.
In this book Simone Weil writes that she had never read any “mystical works.” She had not, until a few months before this letter, ever prayed to God. This passage shows that entirely on her own, she discovered a practice known to Christians since the early centuries of the church: reaching God by meditating on His word. Such is the grace and power of our Lord.