God is ineffable. This is a truth that's universally accepted as dogma among all Christians and within all the great religions of the world. What does it mean?
Fifty years ago, Kay Cronin, wrote a book entitled, Cross in the Wilderness, chronicling how, in 1847, a small band of Oblate missionaries came from France to the American Pacific Northwest and, after some bitter setbacks in Washington State and Oregon, moved up the coast into Canada and helped found the Roman Catholic church in Vancouver and in significant parts of British Columbia's mainland.
I have kind of been waiting for it for 25 years. I had many people picked out, but when it finally happened, it was not any of the folks I had imagined. Isn’t that the way it usually goes, best laid plans and all that. In the end it could not have been more perfect or more beautiful.
Recently I attended an Institute on contemplative awareness at which James Finley was the keynote-speaker. He brings some pedigree to the task. He has nearly forty years of experience as a therapist, is a much sought-after lecturer, has written extensively and deeply on the subject of contemplation, and, as a young man, for several years, had Thomas Merton as his spiritual director and mentor. He knows of what he speaks.
In the course of preparing The End and the Beginning, the second volume of my biography of John Paul II, I was struck by a historical coincidence that isn’t much remarked these days: the opening of the Second Vatican Council in October 1962 coincided almost precisely with the Cuban Missile Crisis.