I met Father Ed Hayes 25 years ago when he was directing a retreat center in rural Kansas. Ed had this grandfatherly way of bringing people together from many different spiritual perspectives. He was equally at home at the head of the long oak dinner table and at the chapel’s communion table where he presided at mass. His prayer book (Prayers for the Domestic Church) has been my guide for decades. I was a novice pastor when I met him but he treated me with dignity and respect and encouraged me to dive deeper into my own journey with the living God. For me, I guess, he has always been one of those mystical people you meet who change your path forever.
Recently I came across a quote by him that captured my imagination:
“True mystics are not necessarily those who have visions, but rather those who have vision. They see the extraordinary, the mystical, in everyday events. If we desire such vision, we will have to give our brains a bath!”
I chuckled out loud when I read “give our brains a bath.” Such vivid imagery. And I began to muse on how we do that. When we pause to meditate or pray, we give our brains a bath. When we take a walk or run, we give our brains a bath. When we sit down to worship via live stream, we let the music and images wash over us and revive us. When we turn off the news and unplug from social media we clear away the noise that clouds our vision.
In this season polarization and pandemic it seems like our brains need more of a bath than ever before. We need to clear away that which interrupts the voice of God. We need to hear the peace and joy buried within our own being. Notice that what Ed is describing is not at all “brain washing” which suggests that we are told to believe something that someone else thinks we should believe. Quite the opposite. The God who created us designed our brains in such a way that we can glimpse the holy in the ordinary, we can see God’s vision. Which makes us all mystics.
With gratitude to you and all the other saints,