Where I am going you know the way."
Thomas said to him,
"Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me."
"Where do you come from? Where do you stay? Where are you going?" These questions come up often in the Gospel of Saint John. Sometimes the Lord is coming down from heaven; sometimes he is being raised up on a cross.
Not everyone who asks deserves an answer. Pontius Pilate asked, "Where do you come from?" as if to break the tension. Jesus gave no answer. "The Jews" wondered if he was going to kill himself.
His disciples want to go with him and are offended that they cannot do it now.
Jesus' resolves the mystery with his most cryptic remark, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
In the last half-century or more, many in the western world have been fascinated by the mystical traditions of the East. Some have abandoned their Christian faith to pursue the paths of the Buddha; they study Zen, yoga, Hare Krishna and other disciplines.
Their eager research of eastern mysticism reveals a deep discontent with the spirituality of the west. They realize that having More Stuff is not satisfying; More Security is not reassuring; More Power is not liberating; and More Friends is not comforting.
They are looking inward to a mystical world that is supposed to be there. It is a way of emptiness, of not knowing, of insecurity. Instead of satisfaction of one's desires the East offers an absence of desire. Freedom and satisfaction are found in wanting less.
The Christian response is somewhat difference. We understand that resting in the "Cloud of Unknowing" soothes the mind; and subsidence of desire eases the heart. But we still want. The human being must always want.
The Christian response calls to "You." The emptiness that Buddhism finds at the heart of reality is filled with You Our God. We would pour ourselves out in self-forgetfulness just to be near to You, Jesus.
A classic example of our western spirituality is found in Saint Francis' "Praises of God." This gushing fountain of gratitude and gladness in the presence of the Way converts Jesus' path into a rushing river of contemplative worship. It sweeps us into the very Presence of God:
You are holy, Lord, the only God, and Your deeds are wonderful. You are strong. You are great. You are the Most High. You are Almighty.You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth. You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good. You are Good, all Good, supreme Good, Lord God, living and true. You are love. You are wisdom. You are humility. You are endurance. You are rest. You are peace. You are joy and gladness. You are justice and moderation. You are all our riches, and You suffice for us. You are beauty. You are gentleness. You are our protector. You are our guardian and defender. You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope. You are our faith, our great consolation. You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord, God Almighty, Merciful Savior.