"But we do not live out of time. Moments of ecstasy, however significant and profound they may be, must pass, and their memory alone cannot sustain our everyday spiritual lives. We must find a way of living eternity within the dimension of time. For most of us this means a very great struggle. It means the breaking down of protective walls we have built around our time-bound egos and opening them to what is beyond: not only in moments of ecstasy but every moment of our lives. In other words, it means the painful process of learning to love. Truth, beauty, joy — the presence of God — can only be found in a living encounter with another, in a relationship of love.

"Christian tradition has been for me the most real and the most natural path to that relationship. Not because I believe it offers a 'final solution' to the mystery of being, or is the only path to God, but because, at its very core, it is a religion of love. It is true that Christianity is a narrow path and anyone who walks on it faces the danger of falling into exclusiveness and pride. No religious path, perhaps, is free from that danger. But, as I tried to follow in the footsteps of him in whose face I recognized the fullness of the divine presence, that danger receded and I became, I hope, more open to truth and beauty, wherever they could be found, not less. I was led to see ever more clearly that at the heart of all true religion is 'good news,' a call to the joy of Bethlehem, a proclamation that God — the infinite, unknowable reality — makes himself present in the world and summons all of us to that same encounter and that same relationship of love with himself and all of his creation.

"For God never comes to us alone, but brings with him the whole universe. He opens our eyes to the beauty of everything that is. He brings with him every human being who has ever lived. He breaks our hearts open to what is not self. He shares with us his own joy and his own total, all-embracing love poured out on us in Christ (Jn. 15:11-12.) This is why the great Christian teacher and saint, Seraphim of Sarov, having spent thirty years alone in the silence of his cell, used to run out to meet every person coming toward him, bow down to the ground, and say, 'My brother, my sister, my joy!' This is why all true saints have always loved every creature which came from the hand of God. Love does not discriminate or categorize; it does not insist on being right. Love embraces all things in that great, empty silence beyond words or thought, which is the wide-open door to ecstasy and to unending joy."