Today, in the English commemoration of the saints, we remember Walter Hilton. He was born in 1340 and went on to become an Augustinian Friar and writer . A mystic by nature (one who is drawn to God beyond words and, even, action), his best known surviving work is the Ladder (or Scale) of Perfection.
The fourteenth century was not a kind time to live. Inequity, malnutrition, uncertainty and, of course, sickness were daily concerns. The Black Death spread through the world in 1348, and event to which the young Walter was witness. Yet, from this period, we have those who shine out with a true and enduring passion for God. Those who have a deep and personal experience of God - and not just because they were supposed to - but because it was so deeply engrained in who they were.
"Prayer is naught but a rising desire of the heart into God by withdrawing of the heart from all earthly thoughts," said Hilton. Many writers have expressed such thoughts. Christians get accused of being in our own little bubble but this withdrawing from earthly thoughts, and I would add desires, is fuel and not escape as we ponder, and enter into, the holiness of God, in order to return to tangible and visible service.
Perhaps, also, we might want to consider out true nature. The rising of our heart, is a going home. The writer of Psalm 84 says,
"My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God." (Psalm 84:2)
Our heart's desire is not so much a decision as a simple truth, our allowing it freedom, allowing ourselves our true being - that is what lifts us above all earthly thoughts. We move journey on - one foot in earth, one in the Divine. A strange and wonderful journey.