Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Holy Ahhh and the Great Amen

This past Saturday we were treated to a wonderful "Quiet Day" led by author and noted New Testament scholar Bonnie Thurston. She offered a wonderful set of mediations, and while all of them struck a chord, one of her insights really stuck with me and I am still meditating upon it. 

First, a disclaimer: those of you versed in Eastern spiritual practices probably know this already, but this is new to me. Here it is, but go with me awhile on this...

In eastern meditative practices, one always begins with breathing "Ahhh..." Indeed, the word "yoga" (which I have practiced) means "breathing" and all yoga practices begin with "Om" which sounds more like "AH-Ommm." 

Try this as you read this, you will notice the bone above your heart vibrating. The sound centers on the heart, and the idea is to breath out so you can breath in to open your heart to the holy. 

So here is the part I never noticed until Bonnie pointed it out: In our Jewish and Christian traditions, we say "Ah" quite a bit -- as in "Amen" and "Alleluia" and "YAHWEH" (the Hebrew word translated into English as "LORD"). And another from our Abrahamic tradition: "Allah." Next time you say any of those words, breath deeply, and think of how this opens you to breathing in the Holy. 

And here is one more: the name "Jesus" is actually a (badly) Germanized translation of the Hebrew name "Joshua" which sounds in Hebrew like "Yehoshua" (Hebrew: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ) The Ah sound again.


1 comment:

Padre Mickey said...

In Hebrew class we were taught not to say YHWH, so I don't, but the other ah words make sense.

Word verification: scullen. Use in a sentence: Not being allowed to say YHWH left the seminarian angry and scullen.