“The eye with which I see God is the same with which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye is one eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love.“.
The above quotes belong to Meister Eckhart Eckhart von Hochheim (c. 1260 – c. 1328), commonly known as Meister Eckhart[a] or Eckehart, was a German Catholic theologian, philosopher and mystic, born near Gotha in the Landgraviate of Thuringia (now central Germany) in the Holy Roman Empire.
Eckhart came into prominence during the Avignon Papacy at a time of increased tensions between monastic orders, diocesan clergy, the Franciscan Order, and Eckhart’s Dominican Order of Preachers. In later life, he was accused of heresy and brought up before the local Franciscan-led Inquisition, and tried as a heretic by Pope John XXII. He seems to have died before his verdict was received.
Well with that quote it’s not surprising , that the church at the time accused him of heresy!
However on these more enlightened days he is considered a great mystic by many.
He was well known for his work with pious lay groups such as the Friends of God and was succeeded by his more circumspect disciples John Tauler and Henry Suso. Since the 19th century, he has received renewed attention. He has acquired a status as a great mystic within contemporary popular spirituality, as well as considerable interest from scholars situating him within the medieval scholastic and philosophical tradition.
Little is known about his family and early life. There is no authority for giving him the Christian name of Johannes, which sometimes appears in biographical sketches: his Christian name was Eckhart; his surname was von Hochheim.
Eckhart joined the Dominicans at Erfurt, probably when he was about eighteen, and it is assumed he studied at Cologne.
I will not go into detail, about the accusation, or it will require a book, luckily for him he died before a verdict was drawn.
It has been said of Meister Eckhart that he was the first Christian pantheist.
In his life and work he was not only an ordained priest, but also a visionary mystic whose ideas ranged beyond orthodox church norms. Shortly after his death, twenty-eight of them were declared heretical. But when charged with heresy, he had made only a conditional retraction, claiming to have spoken “the naked truth” and challenging the judges to demonstrate that what he said was false. Fortunately, he did not live to see the condemnation, or to suffer the consequences in person. Posterity has cleared his name and condemned the judges. But they were not the first ecclesiastics to forbid what lay outside the box: others before had often done so, and so have others since. I have nothing against the church, but I share Mark Twain’s quote:
“The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetics in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve.”
Some attribute Meister Eckhart thinking to Theologia Germanica, also known as Theologia Deutsch or Teutsch, or as Der Franckforter, is a mystical treatise believed to have been written in the later 14th century by an anonymous author. According to the introduction of the Theologia the author was a priest and a member of the Teutonic Order living in Frankfurt, Germany.
But let me finish with some quotes from Meister Eckhart:
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
“Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”
“Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.”
“A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.”
“Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.”