Dear Jesus, Can the philosophical concepts of existentialism and autonomous freedom mesh with the spiritual concept of humble selflessness? Can we follow a correct path in our cultivation of a relationship with God by pursuing an approach to life as a responsible free-agent that determines outcomes through acts of the will and denies or negates the self which seems so anchored in other characterizations of our existence? Much of my conception of God’s part in His relationship with man is based on my freedom of intellect and will with which He has gifted me and all of us. Such freedom is a prerequisite for the love upon which relationships are built. To love or not to love, to be virtuous or sinful, to seek or to ignore, are matters negotiated with validity only through the free choices of our wills. These are facts of our existential self. The free exercise of the will is, in itself, an assertion of the self, else how could St. Therese of Lisieux say, “I am far from practicing what I know I should, but the mere desire to do so gives me peace.” Intention is an existential assertion of the will - the self. Would we not consider anyone, let alone St. Therese, admirable for making such an assertion? Yet, Meister Eckhart would say, “If we are to have true poverty, then we must be as free of our created will as we were before we were created.” – the point at which the self is non-existent because we have not yet created it. How can the existential self and no-self mesh? In the former we confirm our responsibility, in the latter we defer it. All that is good or bad that has shaped me since I was born does nothing but obscure the purity of the union at the center of my being, but my ability to know this, recognize this, and accept or reject this is an assertion of my self. If this, in fact, characterizes the “mesh,” then it would seem that as far as our relationship with God is concerned intention does indeed become a big factor, for we cannot grasp the simplicity of our infant being, but we can intend to do so, somehow. We grasp for the means to lay aside the existential being of our own creation in order to touch the pure simplicity of our pre-existential being as it was (and is) with God. When we will ourselves to enter into such practices as centering prayer and contemplation our existential self asserts its desire to negate itself and rest in the purest state of our being’s union with God. There is the mesh!