Pure innocence and deep order — the message of St. Francis

Is this not the ultimate message of St. Francis? The childlike simplicity in which we recognize that God is in us already. The I is inside us and we are made of it.

When we reach the innocence of the child where we only please ourselves, that is the closest we can ever come to the egoless state in which we see the structure perfectly and make the perfect response which preserves the structure perfectly.

It is worth contemplating this fact. For when you finally realize that these two things, (1) pleasing yourself and (2) doing what is right, are one and the same, you will not only feel free to do them, and be able to do them, but you will also have reached a deeper level in your understanding. At that stage, you will finally understand how the oneness of some system in the universe is not only an abstract thing outside your own self but that it is also finally and truly personal, the most personal thing there is. All that I have written in these four books leads, in the end, to the core of what is most vulnerable, most personal in us.

But this is very surprising. This really is a revolution in thought. That that something, the whole thing which I have been writing down, could at one and the same time reach down into the objective truth about the oneness of space and also be intimate, personal, lovely, touching just in our most vulnerable selves — that is almost unimaginable. It implies things about the nature of the universe which are quite beyond any ideas that we have discussed in these chapters.

Now you see how immense this thing is. It tells us that the thing which is most personal and most touching is at the very same time also the most awe-inspiring and objective. You can hardly hold onto this idea without some understanding in you about the way in which ultimate reality combines these two, without some picture of the universe in which something like a great self — the same thing earlier called the I, the source and origin of all our smaller individual selves — is somehow the real stuff that all of it is made of.

But the suggestion which I am making is even more startling. I am not sayin only that the objective oneness of space which I have identified as the field of centers is personal. That would be hard enough to understand. But I am also saying that the egoless inner light which sometimes shows itself in a drawing, in a line, in a column, in a color — the I itself — this thing which seems so rarified, so philosophical and which somehow has a religious origin, is also entirely personal in nature and that as an artist I shall come closest to it, when I am most direct, most childish, most childlike in the way I make things.

Yes. I am saying that.

(Pages 299-300)

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