The Coming of the Master

 

  • Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man listens to my voice and opens the door to Me, I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with me.

Blessed the ears of the soul alert enough, recollected enough to hear this voice of the Word of God; blessed also the eyes of this soul which in the light of a deep and living faith can witness the coming of the Master into His intimate sanctuary. But what then is this coming? It is an unceasing generation, an enduring hymn of praise. Christ comes with His treasures, but such is the mystery of the divine swiftness that He is continually coming, always for the first time as if He had never come; for His coming, independent of time, consists in an eternal now, and an eternal desire eternally renews the joys of the coming. The delights that He brings are infinite, since they are Himself. The capacity of the soul, enlarged by the coming of the Master, seems to go out of itself in order to pass into the immensity of Him who comes; and a phenomenon occurs: God, who is in our depths, receives God coming to us, and God contemplates God!

  • St Elizabeth of the Trinity.    Heaven in Faith

Road to Union

    • This is a venture in which God alone is sought and gained.

    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. Consequently, he must pass beyond everything to unknowing.

    Our Lord, for our instruction and guidance along this road, imparted that wonderful teaching – I think it is possible to affirm that the more necessary the doctrine the less it is practiced – which I will quote fully: “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will save it”. (Mk. 8: 34-35)

    Oh, who can make this counsel understandable, and practicable, and attractive that spiritual persons might become aware of the difference between the method many of them think is good and that which ought to be used in travelling this road!

    I should like to persuade spiritual persons that the road leading to God does not entail a multiplicity of considerations, methods, manners and experiences – though in their own way these may be a requirement for beginners – but demands only the one thing necessary: true self-denial. In the exercise of this self-denial everything else, and even more, is discovered and accomplished. If one fails in this exercise, the root and sum total of all the virtues, the other methods would amount to no more than going about in circles without any progress, even if they result in considerations and communications as lofty as those of the angels. 

    Few there are with the knowledge and desire for entering upon this supreme nakedness and emptiness of spirit.

    • The Ascent of Mount Carmel. Book 2.  4:4-5, 7:3-5

Listen to the Silence

  • Perhaps you know of Pascal’s cry as he stared at the stars that shone to the limits of the universe. He was seized by the great silence of a winter night aglow with the brightness of the stars and exclaimed:  The eternal silence of the infinite spaces fills me with dread!

    God is eternal silence; God dwells in silence.

    The works of God are marked with silence. It is in the silence of prayer and retreat, in the silence of the desert and the forest, that great souls receive their message from God. Recall how Saint Bernard enriched the whole of Europe with silent monasteries. In order to describe the beauty of silence, he used to say: The oak trees of the forest have been my masters of prayer. Silence is the great master. It speaks to the human heart. Silence is not an empty void; God dwells therein.

    Whoever embraces silence, welcomes God and whoever relishes silence, hears God speak. Silence is the echo of God’s eternity.

    Are you seeking to find God? Then listen to the silence; immerse yourself in silence.

    The soul must not be a public square, where there is always a crowd of gossipers or of persons recalled from the past with their tales of suffering and rebuke. Such types, seething at their imagined foes and smarting in their own self-love, are seriously at fault. There should be nothing like that among us. Silence should penetrate deep within us and occupy every area of our inner home. Thus is our soul transformed into a sanctuary of prayer and recollection.

    When we meet one day in heaven, we should be filled with joy that we have done everything asked of us. We should have given the Lord, not lip service, but lives of humble, habitual, and complete silence. Amen.

    • Pere Jacques.   Listen to the Silence. ICS publications.

Silence

  • God’s speech is the effect He produces in the soul. 

    The Father spoke one Word, which was His Son, and this Word He always speaks in eternal solitude, and in silence, and in silence must It be heard by the soul.

    The contemplative soul does not meddle with exterior attachments or human respect, but it communes inwardly with God, alone and detached, and with delightful tranquility, for the knowledge of God is received in divine silence.

    Wisdom enters through love, silence, and mortification. It is great wisdom to know how to be silent  and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.

    What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetites and our tongue, for the language He best hears is silent love.

    Look at that infinite knowledge and that hidden secret. What peace, what love, what silence is in that divine bosom !

    • St John of the Cross

Transformation

God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him.

The soul lives where she loves more than in the body she animates; for she does not live in the body but rather gives life to the body, and lives in the Object of her love.

The soul that loves God lives more in the next life than in this, for the soul lives where it loves more than where it gives life, and thus has little esteem for this temporal life.

It should be known that love never reaches perfection until the lovers are so alike that one is transfigured in the other. And then the love is in full health.

The reason is that in the union and transformation of love each gives possession of self to the other, and each leaves and exchanges self for the other. Thus each one lives in the other and is the other, and both are one in the transformation of love.

In the spiritual marriage the soul thereby becomes divine, becomes God through participation. It is accordingly the highest state attainable in this life.

Screenshot_20170722-183714

Extract from the Spiritual Canticle by St John of the Cross

Pure and Naked

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.

  • St John of The Cross.  Asc. 16 : 9

Vision of Beauty

The soul is right in daring to say, may the vision of your beauty be my death, since she knows that at the instant she sees this beauty she will be carried away by it, and absorbed in this very beauty, and transformed in this same beauty, and made beautiful like this beauty itself, and enriched and provided for like this very beauty.

Reveal Your presence,
And may the vision of Your beauty be my death;

This presence is so sublime that the soul feels an immense hidden being is there
. . from which some semi-clear glimpses of His divine beauty emerge
. . And these bear such an effect on the soul that she ardently longs for what she feels hidden there in that presence

At this time the soul faints with longing to be engulfed in that supreme good she feels present and hidden, for although it is hidden she has a significant experience of the good and delight present there. Accordingly she is drawn and carried toward this good more forcibly than any material object is pulled toward its centre of gravity. With this longing and heartfelt desire, unable to contain herself any longer, the soul begs: Reveal Your Presence.

 

St John of the Cross. The Spiritual Canticle (11:10)