Learning in the Way of Love, for me, involves the study of Anglican mystics like Eveyln Underhill (re-reading this fall for probably the tenth time her classic book Mysticism) and John Donne. Studying the Way of Love in the autumn is especially energizing because, as a college professor, I associate the fall with fresh, new beginnings. I am drawn to the Anglican poet and priest John Donne’s observation that “in heaven it is always autumn” (1624, Christmas Day sermon)..While Donne especially relished the fall, he was certain that the present moment (whatever the season or time of day) was the time to encounter the living presence of the God of love. He made the following point in connection with the Lord’s Prayer (which I have been learning new things from despite all the times I have said it): “We ask panem quotidianum, our daily bread,” writes Donne, “God never says you should have come yesterday, he never says you must come again tomorrow, but today if you will hear his voice, today he will hear you.” So, right now, learning about the Way of Love involves learning from prayers and the wisdom of others for the sake of being in the presence of God now, in the sacrament of the present moment (in the spirit of the 19th century mystic Jean Pierre de Caussade who taught that there is no more holy time than the present moment).

Charles Taliaferro