Category Archives: Mystics

Digging in Christ

Jesus Crucified

“We must dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.”

—St. John of the Cross

Through the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ may we treasure the gifts of life which God have given us!

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotional Quotes, John of the Cross, Missional Living, Mystery, Mystics, Spiritual Growth

Closeness to God

Thomas Merton's hermitage at The Abbey of Our ...

Thomas Merton’s Hermitage

It would be a great mistake to think that mystical contemplation necessarily brings a whole litany of weird phenomena-ecstasies, raptures, stigmata and so on. These belong to quite a different order of things. They are “charismatic” gifts, and they are not directly ordered to the sanctification of the one who receives them.

—-Thomas Merton “What is Contemplation?”

The great cry of our time is,” Let me see it!” This cry pushes in on every aspect of our existence, even our spiritual journey. Somehow, we have begun to believe that every act of faith requires some sort of proof or outward manifestation for it to be real. Merton reminds us that not all things are for our own self-gratification. The “gifts” in particular, are for the edification of the church, and when we practice contemplation we should not expect some spectacular results that make us some guru of great faith. Contemplation and centering are acts of the individual and bring us to understand what it means to be close to a loving God. Through such closeness we can live a life that is spiritually fruitful and face the many trials that we encounter.

1 Comment

Filed under Devotional Quotes, Meditation, Monasticism, Mystics, Prayer, Thomas Merton

The Demon of Restlessness

Someone said to Abba Arsenius, ‘My thoughts trouble me, saying, “You can neither fast nor work; at least go and visit the sick, for that is also charity.”‘ But the old man, recognizing the suggestions of the demons, said to him, ‘Go, eat, drink, sleep, do no work, only do not leave your cell.’ For he knew that steadfastness in the cell keeps a monk in the right way.

 

—sayings of the Desert Fathers

A great “demon” of all people is restlessness. This feeling can cause us to stray away from our purpose in life. We have a tendency to fill our days with meaningless activities that accomplish nothing. The greatest tool of the evil one is distraction from purpose. Most believers get up every morning with the intention to “do no evil,” but the demands of the world can sidetrack the best among us. Keeping our focus on our “cells” of life will keep us on track. We pray, we care, we are other focused, and this is the calling of all Christ followers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ascetics, Christian Journey, Desert Fathers, Mystics, Sin, Spiritual Growth

The Long Journey

Drawing of the Crucifixion by St. John of the ...

Drawing of the Crucifixion by St. John of the Cross 

 Where have you hidden,

Beloved, and left me moaning?

you fled like the stag

after wounding me;

I went out calling you, but you were gone.

 —-Canticle of John of the Cross Stanza 1

God has hidden His true self from us is the first cry of the soul. Indeed every seeker of God longs for the mystical presence because in such a presence we can touch the hand of God. John tells us in his canticle that such a presence is hidden from us. The long journey of the believer is to find that level of the spiritual which is concealed from us by asking God to manifest His divine essence to us. The search for the divine leaves us moaning. We are left in a state of grief because the quest is so elusive. Victory does not come to he who prays the most or the loudest.

The mere wisp of the touch of God flees from us us as quickly as the cautious deer when he sites a man. We get a little glimpse of God, and it wounds us because we want so much more of Him. We call after Him and we cannot find Him. All manner of prayer and sacred reading is this search for the essence of God in the here and now. In John’s canticle I feel a sense of urgency and determination that are vital elements to a true relationship with God.

Related articles

1 Comment

Filed under contemplative, Dark Night of the Soul, Devotional Quotes, Image of God, John of the Cross, Mystics, Persistance, Spiritual Seekers