'In agro dominico' - March 27, 1329
The papal bull condemning Meister Eckhart
Articles 7-9 : Prayer
St. Gregory of Nyssa writes: "Our real perfection is not to be separated from evil life like slaves, out of fear for hell, nor to do good hoping in rewards, with a commercial and transactional disposition to make the life of virtue a commerce, but seeing beyond everything, even beyond these things that are in the hope of the promises to the next life, as the only fearful thing for us to consider loosing the friendship of God, and the only precious and beloved thing for us to become friends of God, which is exactly, in my opinion, the perfection of life". He also says that "freedom is the coming up to a state which owns no master and is self-regulating; it is that with which we were gifted by God at the beginning, but which has been obscured by the feeling of shame arising from indebtedness. Freedom too is in all cases one and the same essentially; it has a natural attraction to itself. It follows, then, that as everything that is free will be united with its like, and as virtue is a thing that has no master, that is, is free, everything that is free will be united with virtue" (On the soul and resurrection Patrologia Graeca 46.101-104).
St. Basil the Great reminds that "by ourselves are not able even to give thanks for what we received, but our ability lies in the Holy Spirit, in Whom we take the power to accomplish our thankful prayer to God for His gifts".
It is the prayer of the heart that maintains the world, living knowledge of God, friendship with Him face to face, while petition has a meaning as long as is directed towards this prayer. Contrary to the balanced speech of the Greek Fathers, Eckhart is provocative indeed, because he speaks inside a community where these truths were being abused by an authoritarian and shallow clergy – but he is provocative, not heretic.
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