It sits just below the surface. You struggle to bring your always-clenched body into harmony with it, to attune your slouched frame and grumbling mind to this deep constant. But once you do, prayers in desolate places make sense.
What are the qualities of this undercurrent? It is smoother than smooth, an ideal Platonic smooth. It is rounded and broad. And what is it? Is it the Carthusian’s cloud or mere internality? Is it the mind or the intercourse of God and mind? It is something, a wavelength and a frequency, a bottom and a plane, someplace many go.
I have often sought it in church, burrowing down to it in an ill-fitting blazer, inflating a little bubble of soundlessness in the back pew. I am sure it is already there anyway, residing in the glint of the vessels and the recitations, in the bad jokes and the high homilies. It is probably everywhere, probably in silken and silent perichoresis, probably in light cobwebs interwoven in the very being of God.
It simply is, defying description and containment, stretching out softly perpetually and by nature.
Penn and Martyr and many others speak of the eternal creative principle, the enlightening agent known to pagan and Christian, the reason for uprightness from the dawn of time to the age of the church and onward.
If it is not this, this shapeless solvent pouring into the dissolving heart, what can it be?