May 24, 2022, 11:00 AM

As they (the disciples) were watching, he (Jesus) was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  Acts 1:9

When Jesus ascended into heaven, he disappeared into a cloud.  It is the cloud that holds the answer for becoming one with Christ.  It is not watching Jesus, fixating on a crucifix, or thinking about God that brings us into union with God.  The action occurs when we are out-of-sight and enter the cloud. 

St. Francis lived in the hills surrounded by many foggy days.  He also found the intimate presence with God within the cloud.  Two centuries after St. Francis death, an unknown author articulated the experience of encountering God by entering the cloud.  The author wrote an article now known as “The Cloud of Unknowing1.”

The world’s libraries are filled with millions of books on the nature of God.  Until “The Cloud of Unknowing” was written, no one had been able to describe the intimate process by which a person experiences God.  It is impossible to “know” God.  Nobody’s mind is powerful enough to grasp who God is.  Knowing depends on thinking, and thinking is not knowing God.  Ironically, the church prepares people to become members of the church by educating them to think about God.  I wonder what God thinks about that? 

The truth is that God can only truly be known by unknowing what we already know.  There is a space where anyone can know God when thinking ceases.  In that space, God embraces you in love and you embrace God in the same loving presence.  There is nothing else.  No thoughts, no sense of time, no me, no you, only univocity of being.  That occurs in the center of the cloud.  The Christian life can only be lived from the center of the cloud. 

So, how do we enter the center of the cloud?  The only way is through contemplation – something that the church mostly discarded over 500 years ago.  Yet, the reality of the cloud still exists whether or not you and I seek it. 

Want to be one with God?  Stop thinking (entirely).  Enter the cloud of unknowing.  Then, in that space, you will find God embracing you as you embrace God. 

Blessings and prayers,

Fr. John 


“God can be loved, but not thought.” John of the Cross (1542–1591)

1. Anonymous (Author), Evelyn Underhill (Introduction), The Cloud of Unknowing Paperback, Publishing (December 26, 2019) ISBN-10‏: ‎1420965433

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