Ask, Seek, Knock

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matt. 7:7).

Detail of the exhibition view Lichtblatt und Feuerform by Stephane Zwahlen and FEROSE. Photo: Xue Li

The best way to grow old and yet stay young is to ask, seek, and knock. Many people stop asking questions when they reach old age. When we do this, when we have the illusion that we know everything already, then the world becomes colorless, and, ultimately, we no longer wonder about anything. When we get to that point, it’s time to practice “learned ignorance.” This used to be called docta ignorantia. Although we sometimes act as if we know everything, in reality, there is nothing in our world that we can wholly see in its entirety. With humility, we learn to question anew. When we no longer seek in life, because we believe we have already found everything, we remain, so to speak, standing still. And when we don’t knock anywhere, all doors remain closed.

A person who neither asks, nor seeks, nor knocks, ultimately comes to the end of their rope. Life has nothing more in petto, nothing more to reveal. If we want to get out of this vicious circle, sooner or later, we must ask life new questions—not just once and then expect an answer to come immediately. We have to go to sleep and wake up with our questions. Honest questions are a vademecum (literally, “go with me”). We get up with them, we look for a clue, we knock on all the doors with our question, we go to sleep with them—until, at some point, life itself gives an answer. This is not only the case in our daily life on Earth. The spiritual world also remains a closed book for us, as long as we just wait for something to be thrown into our lap—unless we ask, seek, and knock. For God, who works in secret, speaks to us in every riddle of our lives. “You will seek me, and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart; I will be found by you.” (Jeremiah 29:13–14).

Translation Joshua Kelberman

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