Collection: Thank You Prayer

ARTIST: Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS


If the only prayer you say in your entire life is Thank You, that will be enough.
—Meister Eckhart

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Meister Eckhart (1260- 1327) was a Germany mystic, theologian and philosopher. Eckhart taught a radical religious philosophy of seeing God in all. His mystical experiences and practical spiritual philosophy gained him a popular following, but it also caused him to be tried for heresy by a local inquisition. Despite having writings condemned as heretical he remains an important source of mystical experience within the Christian tradition.

Short biography of Meister Eckhart

Eckhart von Hochheim was born in Tambach, near Gotha in the state of Thuringia in modern day central Germany. It was an influential province for the religious movements of middle age Europe; other influential religious figures born there include Mechthild of Mageburg, Thomas Munzer and Martin Luther.

Little reliable evidence exists of his early life, but Eckhart appears to have had a university education in Cologne and possibly Paris. He joined the Dominican order and became a lecturer at the Dominican convent of St. Jacques in Paris. He also was appointed as Prior back near his birthplace of Erfut. His reputation as a theologian and Prior must have been good as he was given responsibility for the Province of Saxon which meant he had responsibility for forty-seven convents in the region. He was considered a good and efficient administrator, but his greatest passion was giving sermons and preaching to the public.

In May 1311, Eckhart was invited back to teach in Paris. This was another confirmation of Eckhart's reputation. It was a rare privilege for a foreigner to be twice invited back to Paris to teach. This post gave him the title Meister. (from the Latin Magister, master, teacher) In Paris, Eckhart was often involved in heated religious debates with members of the Franciscan order.

A primary part of Eckhart's responsibilities lay in teaching members of the Dominican order, and also the uneducated general public. He gained a reputation as a powerful and thought provoking teacher. His sermons and writings captured a mystical element that was underplayed or not mentioned in traditional Biblical and church teachings. Eckhart also had a capacity to simplify and speak in plain language which appealed to ordinary people. This increased his personal popularity, and it was said his sermons were very well attended.