Baptism in the Holy Spirit, being born again, church, Doña Ana de Peñalosa, ecstasy, God, Jesus Christ, John of the Cross, mystics, psychology, Richard P. Hardy, sanctification, the new self, the promised land
A bit further below you can read John of the Cross’s last poem which he wrote when he finally had become completely ONE with God.
John of the Cross was a Carmelite priest and mystic who put his “up and down” experiences with God biblically founded down on paper until he reached the whole unity (i.e., unio mystica) with God through Jesus Christ. That poem was one of the first writings I had read from him when I came to know God’s living flame which had just begun to burn exceedingly high in my heart in the year 2000.
At that time I hoped that I had already finished my long way with God, that is, I thought I had reached the goal of perfect unity with Him. But, alas, it was only the beginning of a long, both blissful and painful way that led me closer and closer to Him. During the following years when I often thought that God would be silent and all the darkness inside me deeper than ever, He had been far closer than ever before, yet my birdbrain could not yet grasp it. God’s indwelling of a human being is indeed a divine mystery.
John of the Cross explained in his writings that the light of God that wants to transform (or sanctify) our souls is always loving and tender. However, our naturally darkened souls are not used to the brightness of His light and therefore they shrink back as soon as they are confronted with it.
And so it was for me. Whenever His light revealed another “dark spot” that had been hidden in my subconscious, I really wanted to run and hide my sudden “nakedness” and transparency before Him who is perfect. Nonetheless, the more our souls get used to the light and accept its work in our hearts and minds, the more we can feel that God, truly, loves us unconditionally. Indeed, I never heard God heaping reproaches on me or blaming me for my mistakes or sins. Instead, His presence has always been comforting and sooo tender because He always embraces our whole being (body, mind, and soul) with His LOVE.
Well, here’s John’s poem which he wrote and explained “on demand” for Doña Ana de Peñalosa, a Catholic laywoman.
The Living Flame Of Love
Songs of the soul in the intimate communication of loving union with God.
1. O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!
2. O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.
3. O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.
4. How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.
From my own experience I can say that life in and with God is not something theoretical, it is neither about talk, nor about reading the Bible or other books, nor is it about fellowshipping with others, and it is not about church, either – all these things are secondary. It is primarily about becoming more and more ONE through divine love with Him who fills the whole universe with His Life.
As a further explanation, below is a rather short quote I copied and pasted in order to point to the fact that there are indeed serious theologians “out there” 😉 who write about the truth of life in God. Richard P. Hardy (PhD, Professor of Spirituality at St. Paul University, Ottawa) wrote the following,
“My thesis is that the fear many in the Christian churches have of body, passion and love has, in fact, led them to misinterpret St. John’s view of love. They have made it something ethereal, “purely spiritual,” and therefore disembodied or disincarnated. In fact, though, for St. John such a love is passionate, bodily and incarnated. I believe that seeing him in this way will enable us in the twentieth century to break through to a much more authentic Christian spirituality and indeed, a much more truthful presentation of St. John of the Cross’s own teaching and hopes.
I. ONE WITH THE WILL OF GOD THE PERSON LIVES THE LIFE OF GOD
In the Prologue of his Living Flame of Love, John of the Cross expresses the basic motif flowing throughout his works:
For [God] declared that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit would take up their abode in those who loved him by making them live the life of God and dwell in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [Jn 14:23], as the soul points out in these stanzas.1
St. John tell us that his poem speaks of the process whereby human beings come to live a new life, one that actually involves living the life of God, even within this earthly life. The interesting element here is the way this occurs. John speaks of the Trinity taking up its home in human beings by making them live the life of God here and now: seeing as God sees, loving as God loves, now in an incarnated way in the flesh and blood of those God transforms.”
(Quote taken from http://www.icspublications.org/archives/others/cs6_12.html)