685 years ago today…
On 27 March 1329, Pope John XXII issued a bull (in agro dominico) concerning the works of Eckhart von Hochheim – a German theologian, philosopher and mystic. By the time this bull was issued, Eckhart was dead. He had been harassed by the inquisition for a number of years. As a neo-Platonist, he held views that could lead a congregation (he was a Dominican) into theological error; i.e. see things in a different way to the rigidities of the then Roman Catholic orthodoxy.
One of his works – Theologia Germanica gives and interesting view on the issues he grappled with. In the following quote he presents the eternal conundrum faced by all;
The two eyes of the soul of man cannot both perform their work at once: but if the soul shall see with the right eye into eternity, then the left eye must close itself and refrain from working, and be as though it were dead. For if the left eye be fulfilling its office toward outward things, that is holding converse with time and the creatures; then must the right eye be hindered in its working; that is, in its contemplation. Therefore, whosoever will have the one must let the other go; for ‘no man can serve two masters.
Be in the world but not of it.