MYSTICISM: On Living For Love by Hadewijch of Antwerp

MYSTICISM: On Living For Love by Hadewijch of Antwerp

January 4, 2012

From one of her letters It seems to me that the commandment of love that God speaks to Moses is the weightiest.  I know in scripture, “you shall love your lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”  These words you shall never forget, sleeping or waking.  If you sleep you must dream of them.  If you are awake, you must think of them and recite them, and carry them into effect.  These words you shall write on the threshold, and on the lintel, and on the wall, and in all places where you shall be, that you may not forget what you must do there. In other words, God commands that we nevermore forget love, either sleeping or waking, in any manner, with all that we are, with heart, with [...]

POETRY: In Silence, by Thomas Merton

January 3, 2012

Be still. Listen to the stones of the wall. Be silent, they try to speak your name. Listen to the living walls. Who are you? Who are you? Whose silence are you? Who (be quiet) are you (as these stones are quiet). Do not think of what you are still less of what you may one day be. Rather be what you are (but who?) be the unthinkable one you do not know. O be still, while you are still alive, and all things live around you speaking (I do not hear) to your own being, speaking by the unknown that is in you and in themselves. “I will try, like them to be my own silence: and this is difficult. The whole world is secretly on fire. The stones burn, even the stones they burn me. How can a man be still or listen to all things burning? How can he [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: Silence — Bearing The Fruit Of Reverence, with quotes of Thomas Merton

January 3, 2012

I love Thomas Merton.  He is a writer that I can never read too much of.  So, when I decided to write on the importance of silence in prayer, I looked up some writing by Thomas on silence, or stillness, to see how much our assertions conformed with one another. We don’t proclaim the same things about silence, but I still found myself soothed and moved by his words.  For instance, here is something he wrote: Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being, between the silence of the world and the silence of God.  When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no [...]

HEALING: The Great Circle Of Life, Includes the Lesson of Recreation

January 2, 2012

When I meditate on healing, and what helps us to stay alive in the face of all that we are faced with, I keep seeing circles.  I don’t think this is for just any reason.  I have a lesson that deals with circles and with healing, it’s called the lesson of recreation.  (Not recreation, as in, sitting on the beach, but re-creation: to create anew.) This lesson is tied to the number eight, which, as you know, is made up of two circles, one on top of the other.  This lesson teaches how one heals through a trauma.  The top circle represents the thought/emotional process; the bottom circle represents the physical process. According to this lesson, when we are traumatized, our minds and body stop in time.  They clutch and cling [...]

SPIRITUALITY: On Spiritual Formation

December 30, 2011

Henri Nouwen, on his definition of spiritual formation, writes the following: Spiritual formation, I have come to believe, is not about steps or stages on the way to perfection.  It’s about the movements from the mind to the heart through prayer in its many forms that reunite us with God, each other, and our truest selves. Henri goes on to explain that in his context, the heart is the seat of everything: it is where the body, soul, and spirit come together.  He elaborates even on this by saying that in the Jewish-Christian tradition, the heart “refers to the source of all physical, emotional, intellectual, volitional, and moral energies.” That’s quite a mouthful, don’t you think? Henri views spiritual [...]

SPIRITUAL WARFARE: The Way To The Cross

December 29, 2011

Spiritual warfare is a very serious subject, perhaps the most serious of all subjects.  Clearly some religions equate spiritual warfare with hand-to-hand combat, bombing raids, and other acts of violence.  To most of the world, warfare is warfare.  Period.  Some Christians think it right to bomb abortion clinics and kill doctors. But, in truth, spiritual warfare has absolutely nothing to do with violence. Beginning my approach to spiritual warfare with the crucifixion of Jesus is, admittedly, a very, very tough place to begin.  This should most probably be the last lesson on spiritual warfare, but there would be so many lessons before this one that it might be years before I got to it, and there is so much going on in some churches [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer to Accept a Parent by Joyce Rupp

December 28, 2011

God, you have shown yourself as a welcoming father and a tender mother.  I have yearned to have my own parent be like you.  I feel wounded, disappointed in the behavior that I have experienced.  There is constant struggle and pain in this relationship.  Deep down inside I yearn to have him/her meet my needs and expectations for love and acceptance.  It is difficult to love my father/mother because of the human weaknesses and flaws that I so easily see.  I have a mixture of feelings tumbling in me — anger, guilt, discouragement, love, self-doubts, concern. You are a God who heals the wounded.  You bless the pain in me when I am overcome with the hurts of life.  You promise me a future full of hope.  See here in my spirit all the [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: Intention And Alignment

December 28, 2011

All right, she says, as she rubs her hands together, let’s get started.  Most people intuitively understand the mechanics of prayer — not all of it, to be sure, but people seem to “get” what prayer is about. However, unlike the sort of general way people approach prayer, prayer is, surprisingly, a very exact activity. So let us begin at the beginning, with the intention of a prayer.  It’s amazing how many prayers that I read, which are written by the average man-off-the-street trying to be impressive, that are, in the end, absolutely meaningless.  These prayers may sound good, all the words heading off toward some fanciful ideal, but the prayers seems to forget completely that our prayers are petitions for [...]

SOUL STRUCTURE: The Basic Construct

December 27, 2011

I have been urged to write about the content of my visions by people and by God for many, many years.  I had two major objections to such an action on my part: first, I assumed people would come after me with pitchforks and lighted torches because of my blatant insanity; and, second, I was overwhelmed by the challenge of having to “translate” the vision into English. This latter challenge was most acute when it came to my visions on the structure of souls.  It wasn’t so much the problem that souls are unseen; psychiatrists have been describing unseen aspects of us, things like the id and ego, for quite a while. But there was something so intangible about the soul, so evanescent, that I feared for a long time that I [...]

GOD 101: The Quality of Accuracy

December 26, 2011

Whenever I am asked, how do you know that your visions are from God, I am able to answer quickly.  Before I’ve taken my next breath or blinked an eye.  The answer is always with me. I know my visions are from God because the visions are accurate. Invariably the person asking the question blinks a bit and then looks a tad vacuous.  No response.  Ever.  It is as though they want to, but hold themselves back from asking, what exactly do you mean by accurate? I like the definitions that Merriam-Webster gives the word accurate: 1.  free from error especially as the result of care. 2. conforming exactly to truth or to a standard; exact. This is, in a way, one explanation of how I approach and handle visions for the most part. [...]

GOD 101: The Lesson Of Silence

December 23, 2011

It would take me more than a lifetime or two to recount all the lessons that have come to me in my visions.  I’m exaggerating, of course, but some days it doesn’t feel like it.  Lessons of God take up a mighty percent of my visions. This is the lesson of silence: In your words, you will find your willingness to serve God.  In your silence, you will find your willingness to be served by God. For me, this could be the first lesson in our understanding of God.  It could also be the last lesson in our understanding of God, as far as I am concerned. As with any study or application of a study of God, the three fundamental laws of God, respect, courtesy, and gratitude, must be the ground on which we base our thoughts, feelings, [...]

TALES FROM BEYOND THE HORIZON: The Painted Scarf

December 22, 2011

I was in my early twenties.  I was a student at the University of California, otherwise referred to as Berkeley.  And I had come to the somewhat painful realization that my mystical attributes were not going away.  If anything, they were getting worse.  Worse, being the way I described the weirdness that was me. For my relationship with and understanding of God, it was a time of rapid growth.  As I grew out of my resistance to being me and settled into taking note of the visions that were coming fast and furious, some of my “gifts” were revealed to me. One was that if I let myself become very, very still and turned myself wholly over to God, and if I was near another person, also still, I could feel my [...]

ANGELS: Gabriel — The Arrow that Pierces Disbelief

December 21, 2011

Discussing the reality of angels is difficult for me.  I find it difficult for a number of reasons. Not that long ago I strolled through the gift shop at the National Cathedral.  There were books and pictures, statues, and stuffed angels.  There were also books and pictures, and other paraphenalia about dragons.  And fairies.  And unicorns. I wanted to get down on my knees and ask the child who had the feet of a green dragon grasped in her hands whether or not she thought dragons were real.  And then I wanted to ask her if she thought angels were real. If dragons and angels are being peddled side-by-side, are we not, by doing this, equating the two?  Isn’t the blatent message to child and adult alike that angels are just [...]

ANGELS: A Novena To Archangel Gabriel

December 21, 2011

(Author unknown) Archangel Gabriel, I venerate you as the angel of the incarnation because God has especially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the blessed virgin, Mary.  Give me a tender and devoted mother, more like your own. I venerate you also as the strength from God because you are the giver of God’s strength, consoler, and comforter chosen to strengthen God’s faithful, and teacher of important truths.  I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life.  Steady my resolutions.  Renew my courage.  Comfort and console me in the problems, trials, and sufferings of daily living as you consoled my savior in his agony, Mary in her sorrows, [...]

HEALING: The Matters Of Life And Death, and a tale of my own

December 20, 2011

It can be said that healing and prayer are the same functions.  After all, both seek to bring something we want into reality through God.  It may seem that they are the same, but they are not. Healing is an almost infinitely profound concept, whereas the mechanics of prayer can be delineated.  A unique factor of healing, that differentiates it from prayer, is that you can heal into life.  And you can heal into death.  In truth, there is no difference. Another distinction between prayer and healing is that prayer is just simply what it seems to be: a petition to God for something that is on our hearts.  Healing is an actual ridding from the body and mind a potentially enveloping darkness.  Of this subject I will wait until another [...]

GOD 101: A Classification Of Evil

December 19, 2011

Over my lifetime, I have found that the study of evil is a very difficult one.  I first was exposed to a general study of evil when I was in my teens.  Later, I studied it while I worked on understanding the structure of the soul.  Truly evil people can have unique features in their souls.  This last summer, however, finding that I really, really didn’t understand evil, and not really wanting to, I committed myself to a study of it and, eventually, I came up with my own classifications. I define evil as that harm that is done, unnaturally, to a person or persons.  Unnatural may not be the best word for what I am looking to express.  Perhaps, artificial, would do better. I am looking for a way of expressing those things that a [...]

CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER: Unity vs. Wholeness

December 16, 2011

I took the following definition of centering prayer off the website Centering Prayer, ostensibly the website dedicated to the teachings of Father Thomas Keating, one of the priests who began the teaching of contemplative prayer in the modern age.  The definition goes: Centering prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself.  This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. I find within this definition a perfect expression of our relationship with God: through this kind of prayer we experience [...]

MYSTICISM: On Visions And Visionaries

December 16, 2011

I don’t talk with people much about my visions.  For most of my life, I’ve kept very, very private about it all.  But, amazingly, the few times that the subject of visions has come up in a conversation and I have addressed it, there are people who respond to me by saying, you know, that’s not just the way it’s done. And I agree wholeheartedly. Most of the time, I don’t see things, like an apparition of Jesus, neither do I hear things like Joan of Arc.  My visions are like enlarged thoughts.  A thought that I have to purchase some more dish-washing detergent has a low vibration in my brain, a gentle hum.  But a vision about say, the lesson of silence, which I know from experience is not just a [...]

MYSTICAL WOMEN: Joan of Arc—A Declaration of Faith

December 14, 2011

Were it not for God’s grace I could do nothing.  Had I not the assurance that God directs my work, I would rather tend sheep than expose myself to such great perils. If I am not in God’s grace, may God bring me there.  If I am in it, may he keep me there.  I should be of all creatures the most miserable if I knew myself not to be in God’s grace. When I am in any way opposed, because one will hardly believe that what I declare has come from God, I seek solitude and pray to God, lamenting to him that they to whom I speak will not readily believe me.  When my prayer to God is ended, I hear a voice that says to me, “Daughter of God, go, go, go.  I will be your helper.  Go!”  And when I hear this voice, I [...]

MYSTICAL WOMEN: Joan of Arc—Breaking the Mold

December 14, 2011

This is the story of Joan of Arc’s first trial. No, it’s not what you think.  In fact, before Joan had to stand before the judges arguing for her very life, she was on trial twice.  And as I wrote, above, this is the tale of her first encounter with the forces of justice.  But, first, for better understanding of this trial, a glimpse into her youth. When Joan was thirteen, she had her first vision.  At the second public examination of Joan (The Trial) on Thursday, February 22, 1431, she described to the judges assembled before her her first mystical experiences: Asked if she received the sacrament of the Eucharist at other feasts than Easter, she told the interrogator to move on.  Then she confessed that when she was aged [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: Why God? The Three R’s

December 13, 2011

As I rummaged around the fundamentals of prayer looking for ways to talk about it I happened upon a concept that would have flown right past me as I grew up and studied the miracle and joy that is prayer. Unquestioningly I would have included God in the effort. But, I realized, not everyone would be so accepting about the fundamentals of prayer, and take them on without thinking them over first. So the question is, why God? Why pray to God? Why include God in our petitions to the universe? There is, after all, a system of writing out affirmations for our perceived wants and needs. If I want a new job then all I have to do is write out, for a specified number of times, I, Julia, will find a new job this week. Or some such formula. Why not [...]

PRAYER: The Great Tomorrow, by Helen Steiner Rice

December 13, 2011

There is always a tomorrow. Tomorrow belongs as much to you as it does to me. The dawn of a new day means the dawn of a new life. We cannot peer into its storehouse, but the very impenetrable mystery which enwraps the every-approaching tomorrow is the one thing that keeps the fires of hope constantly burning. No matter what our yesterdays have been, tomorrow may be different. As long as we have life, the fires of hope will not die out; the flame may burn low, but the thought of a new day, the flame which seemed dead leaps forward and the sparks once more fly upward to spur us on. Even if our today is filled with sadness and defeat, who can foretell what the next day will bring to us? Let us all eagerly await what destiny will deal us. We [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL: A Turning Toward Church

December 12, 2011

Evelyn Underhill was born in 1875 England.  Although her family was associated with the Anglican church, neither her mother nor her father were practicing Anglicans.  Evelyn addresses this situation when she writes, “I was not brought up to religion.” Her father turned away from the church when he grew tired of the constant chapels he was required to attend in boarding school.  Oddly, though, his younger brother had the opposite reaction and eventually became an Anglican priest. In spite of this, at 15, Evelyn began study for her confirmation into the church.  She keeps herself an arm’s length away from true conviction.  She writes in her diary, As to religion, I don’t quite know, except that I believe in a [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer For Courage by Evelyn Underhill

December 12, 2011

O Lord Christ, who in this difficult world was tempted in all things, as I am, yet fell into no sin, look pitifully, I pray you, upon me.  Guide me with your adorable wisdom.  Teach me in everything and in every hour what I ought to do.  You alone know both that I suffer and what I need.  To you, that perfect path that I should walk is known.  Show it to me and teach me how to walk it.  Keep me, O Savior, in body, mind, and spirit, for into your strong and gentle hands I commit myself. Give me, O Lord, I beseech you, courage to pray for light and to endure the light here, where I am on this world of yours, which should reflect your beauty but which we have spoiled and exploited.  Cast your radiance on the dark places, those crimes [...]

SOUL STRUCTURE: The Quality Of Innocence

December 9, 2011

It is an interesting occurrence when people declare that they don’t believe in souls.  We can’t see them, after all, so how do we know they are there?  Well, I can’t see your thoughts or feelings either, so do I have the choice of believing that they exist because they are unseen? Our souls are the vessels into which God pours his energy and grace.  We carry God within us whether we want to or not, whether we are aware of it or not, or even whether we let it change us or not. I will deal with the actual structure of souls in later posts.  There is one thing that nearly always overwhelms me about Christianity.  It is what separates us from all other religions.  It is the quality of innocence that Jesus brought into the world. [...]

MYSTICISM: Hildegard de Bingen, An Early Vision

December 8, 2011

When Hildegard was five years old, she was out walking with her nanny.  They saw a cow, and Hildegard looked deeper and could see the unborn calf inside the cow.  She described the coloring of the unborn calf, amazing her nanny. When the calf was born, Hildegard’s vision proved accurate. Shortly after this, Hildegard decided not to share the content of her visions, until she worked with her spiritual teacher, Jutta.  After Jutta, Hildegard kept the her visions secret until her early forties. Hildegard on the Creation, from the Book of Divine Works The leaping fountain is clearly the purity of the living God.  His radiance is reflected in it, and in that splendor, God embraces in his great love all things whose reflection appeared [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: The Fundamentals

December 7, 2011

To begin any and every writing about God, it is necessary to acknowledge the three fundamental laws of God: respect, courtesy, and gratitude.  No matter if you are dealing with having visions, praying for a friend, or grocery shopping, these three laws always apply.  If it’s not respectful, courteous, or grateful, it’s not God. I have found over the years that God can be understood to some infinitesimal degree.  And in that understanding one can find simplicity.  The above laws about God are simple.  If you want to follow God, even in a small way, and find yourself yelling at your neighbor about raking their leaves into your yard, find a way to back out of the argument and look for something respectful to say.  Or [...]

PRAYER: Thanksgiving For Beauty by Satyavati Chitambar Jordan

December 7, 2011

We thank you, our Father, for the beauty that lies about us: this Earth, lovely in springtime, with its bursting buds and the riot of color in flowering gardens; the cool relief of the first heavy shower after a parched summer; the golden fruitfulness of autumn; and the bracing cold of the winter months. We thank you for the symphony of sight and sound in nature – deep blue skies and green, grassy lawns; moonlit nights and the first flush of dawn; the chirp of the cricket, the sweet note of the robin; the droning hum of the bees, the excited welcoming bark of a loved pet dog. We thank you for home and friends and family and the deep content of the fireside in beloved human companionship – with the crisp, sharp cold outside. You have [...]

ANGLICANISM: The View From The Nearly Abandoned Treehouse

December 7, 2011

It takes a lot to be a mystic.  In addition to having the ability burned into you at birth, it takes patience and endurance, courage and endurance, flexibility and endurance, and just plain endurance.  At times it means suspending all that you’ve grown to accept as reality and expanding the boundaries just a bit further out into the unknown, over the chasm, and plunging into unspeakable discomfort, only to find yourself sitting still and knowing that He is God. But it doesn’t take that much from the world to keep a mystic going.  From almost the beginning of the church, mystics have had a penchant to take themselves away from the world — into monasteries and convents, hermitages and anchorite cells.  For me, though, to [...]