essence of practise

If you know me, you know my Father too.

Have I been with you all this time and you still do not know me?

Sensible: perceptible by the senses.
The man, Jesus of Nazareth, was perceptible by the senses
to  those who walked and talked and lived with him.
Yet, they didn’t know him.

To have seen me is to have seen the Father.

Clearly, he does not identify with what they were seeing and knowing by the senses.
Yet, he expects to be seen and known.

In a short time the world will no longer see me;
but you will see me,
because I live and you will live.
On that day
you will understand that I am in my Father
and you in me and I in you.
(Jn14:19-20)

You will see
because you will live
in me – in my Father

Participatory knowledge:
knowing through being
Being in my Father

We shall come to him
and make our home with him. (Jn14:23)

Make your home in me,
as I make mine in you. (Jn 15:4)

Reciprocal self-giving.

May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you. (Jn 17:21)

With me in them and you in me,
may they be so completely one (Jn 17:23)

Union of the soul in God

I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am (Jn 17:24)

Transformation of the soul in God

And know that I am with you always (Mt 28:20).

Know: be present to That Which Is,
beyond the reach of the mind and senses.

We are discussing the union and transformation of the soul in God.1

In practise
we exchange the mutable and comprehensible
for the Immutable and Incomprehensible.1

The method:
– Strip bare:-  empty and deprive the faculties of their natural occupations                                       to make  room for the inflow and illumination of the supernatural.
– Remain naked:- in a loving awareness and interior peace, silence and                                              stillness.
– Abide:-  in the general, limpid and simple light of the spirit.
.                     the serene, limpid light
.                     this pure and simple light.1

The method is, in a word, surrender.
Surrender: acceptance and dissolution

Acceptance:
accept the abandonment
of all familiar reference points
in the mind and senses

Dissolution:
in the clear light
the naked essence of the soul
pure nakedness of spirit
1

Live in pure poverty and nakedness of spirit:
the pure and naked essence of the soul in the pure and naked essence of God
1

Know through being – so completely one.
Knowing is being, through self giving, so completely one.

I am the way
the essence of practise
the supreme self giving

  1. St John of the Cross. The Ascent of Mount Carmel

      

*****

Extracts from The Ascent of Mount Carmel .

We are discussing the union and transformation of the soul in God.

As regards this road to union, entering on the road means leaving one’s own road; and turning from one’s own mode implies entry into what has no mode, that is, God.

A man, then, is decidedly hindered from the attainment of this high state of union with God when he is attached to any understanding, feeling, imagining, opinion, desire, or way of his own and knows not how to detach and denude himself of these impediments. His goal transcends all of this.

The preparation for this union is not an understanding, nor the taste, feeling, or imagining of God or any other object, but purity and love, which is the stripping off and perfect renunciation of all experiences for God alone. Perfect transformation is impossible without perfect purity. The illumination of the soul and its union with God corresponds to the measure of its purity.

The faculties must undergo a purification of their respective apprehensions in order to reach union with God.

We annihilate the faculties in their operations. We go to God by not comprehending rather than by comprehending, and we exchange the mutable and comprehensible for the Immutable and Incomprehensible.

All the sensory means and exercises of the faculties must be left behind and in silence so that God himself may effect divine union in the soul. One has to follow this method of disencumbering, emptying and depriving the faculties of their natural occupations to make room for the inflow and illumination of the supernatural.

This sublime knowledge can be received only by a person who has arrived at union with God, for it is itself that very union. It consists in a certain touch of the divinity produced in the soul, and thus it is God himself who is experienced and tasted there. This knowledge tastes of the divine essence and eternal life.

Manifestly, in this high state of union God does not communicate himself to the soul through the disguise of any image or likeness, but directly: the pure and naked essence of God with the pure and naked essence of the soul.

Remain alone in a loving awareness, without particular considerations, in interior peace and quiet and repose, and without the acts and exercises of the faculties. Remain only in general loving awareness, without any particular knowledge or understanding.

The more habituated persons become to this calm, the more their experience of this general loving knowledge of God will increase.

What the soul was gradually acquiring through the labour of meditation is converted into habitual and substantial, general loving knowledge. This knowledge is neither distinct nor particular, as was the previous knowledge. The moment it recollects itself in the presence of God it enters into an act of general, loving, peaceful, and tranquil knowledge, drinking wisdom and love and delight.

The purity and simplicity of this state renders the soul simple, pure and clear of all the apprehensions and forms through which the senses and memory were acting.

We do not work with the faculties. One should not commingle other, more palpable lights of forms, concepts or figures of meditative discourse if one wants to receive this divine light in greater simplicity and abundance, for none of these tangible lights are like that serene, limpid light. If individuals were to desire to consider and understand particular things, however spiritual these things may be, they would hinder the general, limpid and simple light of the spirit.

What clearly follows is that when individuals have finished purifying and voiding themselves of all forms and apprehensible images, they will abide in this pure and simple light and be perfectly transformed in it. This light is never lacking to the soul, but because of creature forms and veils that weigh on it and cover it, the light is never infused. If individuals would eliminate these impediments and live in pure nakedness and poverty of spirit, their soul in its simplicity and purity would then be immediately transformed into simple and pure Wisdom, the Son of God.

*****

Creatures, earthly or heavenly, and all distinct ideas and images, natural and supernatural, that can be the object of a person’s faculties, are inadequate to God’s being. Therefore, anyone encumbering the faculties of the soul with what is comprehensible cannot have a proper esteem of God. For whoever does not renounce all possessions cannot be Christ’s disciple.

To reach satisfaction in all
desire satisfaction in nothing.
To come to possess of all
desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing.
To come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge of nothing.

To come to enjoy what you have not
you must go by a way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not
you must go by a way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
you must go by a way in which you possess not.
To come to be what you are not
you must go by a way in which you are not.

 

As Joseph Ratzinger put it: “it is made apparent how being that truly understands itself grasps at the same time that in being itself it does not belong to itself; that it only comes to itself by moving away from itself and finding its way back as relatedness to its true primordial state.”

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