The Transforming Union or the Mystical Marriage

The final stage in the mystic way is usually called the Transforming Union or the Mystical Marriage. 609px-Miniature_depiction_of_Andrei_Rublev_TrinityNow it doesn’t suddenly begin because God does something other than what he’s been doing all along – it begins because what he’s been doing all along finally destroys everything in us that’s been keeping him out. Many years ago I met a very holy Cistercian monk in his eighties. He told me that for over twenty years he had undergone a profound purification in the Dark Night. read on…

Praying in the Dark Night

For the last post I made a few suggestions from my own experience about how to pray 1280px-Amaldus_Nielsen-Aftenstemning_over_havetin the Dark Night when the prayer once used can no longer help. I chose the prayer Jesus himself made upon the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me’? When I felt in the pits I turned to the De Profundis‘Out of the depths I cried to thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer’. However what I found, and what you’ll find, is that in time the full sentence will be too long, and you’ll feel the need to reduce it to, say, just ‘My God, my God’ or ‘Out of the depths’. Then the time will come when a single word will be all you need, like ‘God’, or ‘Jesus’, or ‘mercy’. I can’t give you rules when to change down from many to few, you’ll know for yourself. It’s like changing gears in a car, once you get used to using them you know automatically when to change down. read on ….

The Cloud of Unknowing

Everybody who prays seriously and consistently for any length of time will eventually 512px-Anton_Faistauer_Studie_betender_Mann_1909find themselves on the other side of first fervour, at the threshold of the mystic way. This is the moment when the vast majority who come this far in prayer, usually pack it all in – I know I nearly did. All my attempts at prayer were a complete failure. Each time I tried to pray in the way I once could before simply got nowhere. The Scriptures, the devotions, the meditations that moved me before, moved me no more. Two tormentors always accompanied me to prayer. The first was a raking desire for God; the second was a mind full of distractions that drove me crazy, because I couldn’t do anything about them. So my heart was restless inside and outside the prayer that I thought was pointless. I was continually tempted to pack it all in and do something more constructive with my time. I couldn’t even get any pleasure out of the hobbies and the enthusiasms that used to excite me before.  read on…..

Into the Dark Night

For many of us the first brief glimpses of God came through His creation. 485px-Marie_Ellenrieder_Kniendes_betendes_MädchenIt might have been through a beautiful sunset, a breathtaking stretch of countryside. It might have come through gazing upon a single blade of grass, an insect crawling through the undergrowth, or a caterpillar climbing up a rose bush. When your contemplation of creation enabled you to experience the Creator, you found yourself drawn inward. It was as if some soothing sedative stilled your mind and heart and made you mourn for your Maker, as for a lost friend. And yet this strange melancholy was as sweet as it was sad and you wanted it to go on and on to envelop you more and more completely….. read on