Christian Mysticism: Session 7
The Way of Knowing God in the Darkness
Settle yourself in solitude, and you will come upon God in yourself.
~St. Teresa of Avila
So, what is the point of all this? Was it worth your time to read, or was it a waste of time to consider? Was there something here to take away, or were you left with nothing?
How do you consider these questions? No; how you consider these questions is point, the value, the pearl of great price and the treasure buried in the field. How you consider all things is the door flung open. HOW is the abyss laid bare; it is the openness, the expanse, it is the pathway to union with Christ and peace beyond bounds.
What was/is the point? To let you know that you are not alone. The separation we feel, the disconnect we experience from one another, from spiritual cares, from God; this separation has been felt by everyone through every time. You are not alone; sinking yourself into the business of the day to fill the void and smother the desperation. You are not alone in your loneliness, your unknowable-ness; the one you know you truly want, is there with you.
St. Macarius the Egyptian wrote in his Fifty Spiritual Homilies,
For it is in the renewing of the mind, and the peace of the thoughts, and the love and heavenly passion for the Lord, that the new creation of Christians distinguishes them from all the men of the world. This was the purpose of the Lord’s coming, to vouchsafe these spiritual blessings to those who truly believe in Him. Homily X.4
We must start somewhere and the somewhere is within us. Once embraced, this avenue of the eternal stretches before us, welcoming and open, beckoning. I pray that you are on this journey, or if not, that you will feel inspired to seek it out.
So one who has found and has within him this heavenly treasure of the Spirit, effects thereby every righteousness of commandments and every accomplishment of virtues unblameably and purely, without forcing and with ease. Let us therefore beseech God, and seek and beg of Him, to bestow on us the treasure of His Spirit, and that thus we may be able to walk in all His commandments unblameably and purely, and to fulfil all the righteousness of the Spirit purely and perfectly, by means of the heavenly treasure, which is Christ. Homily XVIII.2
St. Catherine of Siena encourages us with prayer,
In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature. And what is my nature, boundless love? It is fire, because you are nothing but a fire of love. And you have given humankind a share in this nature, for by the fire of love you created us. And so with all other people and every created thing; you made them out of love.
O ungrateful people! What nature has your God given you? His very own nature! Are you not ashamed to cut yourself off from such a noble thing through the guilt of deadly sin?
O eternal Trinity, my sweet love! You, light, give us light. You, wisdom, give us wisdom. You, supreme strength, strengthen us. Today, eternal God, let our cloud be dissipated so that we may perfectly know and follow your Truth in truth, with a free and simple heart. God, come to our assistance! Lord, make haste to help us!
Settle yourself in solitude and you will come upon God in yourself.
Father Bill Burk†