Each year we eagerly await the arrival of the Paulist Press volume containing the Harold W. Wit Lectures at Harvard University Divinity School. In 1997, the lectures were delivered by Thomas Keating. He is the former abbot of the Trappist Monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts, and one of the foremost teachers of contemplative prayer in Christendom. In these thought-provoking lectures, he discusses self-knowledge and the unconditional love of God.
"The spiritual journey is not a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that become more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal." Father Keating defines holiness as the process whereby God changes our attitudes toward our trials and tribulations. He believes that contemplative prayer enables us to sense "the divine presence within us, the true source of happiness."
In order to give up "the tyranny of our emotional programs for happiness and the limitations of our cultural conditioning," we are challenged to partake of the divine therapy of grace and transformation. The false self with its yearnings for fame, power, wealth, and prestige is supplanted with "the divine I." In this brief but trenchant work, Father Keating beautifully describes the experience of the presence of God as sanctification.