What God Wants
Spiritual Awareness and Mysticism
I Am a Mystic
I am a mystic, which means I spend time in meditative prayer and praise, singing hymns, psalms and worshipping God. Sometimes I have ‘knowings’ or ‘awarenesses’ about people and situations, other times I will have a vision of things to come, sometimes these are to do with people who are known to me and sometimes it is on a much larger scale. Being open to God means that we surrender control to Him, when He gives spiritual gifts to His children, these gifts are always to be used for the building up of believers and the church.
For a long time I resisted allowing this spiritual sensitivity to grow in me, but over time I realized that it was a God given gift which I was blessed to receive and therefore obligated to use for the benefit of anyone who would be helped by it. I went to listen to a Catholic Theologian once and he said that Mystics are so holy they would never acknowledge that they are Mystics. Absolute nonsense! Only God is holy! The rest of us are obliged to lift one another up in prayer and encouragement using all of our God given gifts. I am sure in times past Mystics were reticent to discuss their gifts in case they were burned at the stake for being witches etc., I do not know much about witches or those who practice the dark arts of spirituality, I do know that only answered prayers, healings and blessings follow in the path of a Mystic blessed by God the Father of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Coming to Know Him
My own relationship with God began when I was very small and my parents read stories to me about God, this wonderful Father in Heaven who loved me more than anyone else ever could or would. I imagined that He was so beautiful no-one could dare look upon His face, He had beautiful magnificent wings, and a long flowing white beard. His eyes completely filled with knowledge and love. He cared for me so much He counted the hairs on my head every single day. I imagined myself climbing into His lap and snuggling there, of course, I had to climb an imaginary ladder to Heaven to do this and those steps were hard for my chubby little legs to climb but it would be worth the work when I could place myself in His lap and feel His comforting arms around me.
Jesus Loves Me This I Know
As I grew and attended Sunday school I learned about Jesus, there were pictures of Jesus in the books read to me and He had such a beautiful gentle face with warm love filled eyes. I was taught to sing, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so”, Oh! What comfort I felt in my soul from that song. How loved I felt to know that Jesus loved me, little Marion. It was like being given the best present ever and it was not even my birthday!
Then I Turned Away…
Of course, then I became a teenager who went through the phase of thinking I knew everything and then rejected God as I had once rejected Santa Claus. (He forgot my address the year my Dad lost his job.) My life progressed without God, because I had rejected Him there was no point in thinking about Him. Except of course when I would have a life crisis then I would pray, He became my God of last resort, when all else fails – pray – and so I would.
God is Faithful
Because God is faithful, He kept reaching out to me. People would speak to me of God and I could see that they had something I did not, there was a light in their eyes and a peace about them, which I lacked, but it repelled more than attracted me at that time. I knew if I ever gave into God He would take over my life and I would no longer be in control. I resisted God more than I have ever resisted anything in my life, (where is this power to resist when faced with chocolate?) I was determined to be Queen of my own destiny.
Resisting the Irresistible
When I read of the conversion of C.S. Lewis I had so much sympathy for him, because I too had tried to resist the irresistible and been won over by love indescribable. Reading Lewis’ description of his own conversion experience it is difficult not to feel empathy: “That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England; -The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.” Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich p228-229 1966.
There came a time in my own life when everything came crashing down around me and I lost everything even my bearings and I had nowhere else to turn but to my Daddy in whose lap I had often received comfort and because He is my Daddy, He welcomed me with open arms and just held me. There were no recriminations, no, “I told you so”, no judgments there was only love and acceptance and comfort.
My New Spiritual Family
Therefore, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and not only to become a practiscing Christian but also to convert to Catholicism because that is where I felt the peace of Christ. This is where I felt God calling me. This is where I found my new spiritual family.
“Spirituality, like ascetism, demands a social context that embraces self, friends, neighbours, strangers, the earth itself refracted in, and bound by the goodness of God.” Christian Spirituality, Cunningham & Egan p121.
God Reveals Himself
I have grown in my love for God, through Bible Study, studying the words of scholars and saints, learning, praying – privately and communally, and through private and public worship. I became Charismatic because I wanted to be more effusive in my relationship with God, I wanted to sing and dance if I could in His presence. Whatever gifts of the Holy Spirit had I wanted them all, asked, and received many. I seek the face of My God, because I must know Him. He reveals Himself to me in many and often unexpected ways, but constantly because He is faithful. My greatest desire is to teach others of Him and His gentleness.
“Prayer, (then) is woven into the life of Jesus. Not only was He a person of prayer, alone and as a faithful member of the Jewish people, but He taught people how to pray (providing His disciples and us with the Lord’s Prayer), under what circumstances (e.g. not ostentatiously in order to impress people); and for whom to pray (e.g. enemies). Jesus, finally, recommends that we pray for a whole spectrum of reasons: for the things we need, for those who oppose us, to drive out the demonic, to avoid temptations, to reconcile our brothers and sisters, that workers be there for the harvest, and finally, that we might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Christian Spirituality, Cunningham & Egan p68.
Spirituality is My Essence
Spirituality is my essence. Without it, I would be dead inside and out. Spirituality is the light inside of me that propels me forward in my quest to fully know my God and to be fully known by Him. People tell me to imitate the lives of the saints, but I do not want to become a carbon copy of anyone, saint or not. I want to be the best Marion I can be, I cannot be Mother Teresa, or Joan of Arc, or Theresa of Avila I can only be me, Marion daughter of the Most High God, called to His service, desiring to be filled with His Holy Spirit until there is no room for more. I want to be used by Him and when He calls me home I want to be completely emptied of myself, I want to have spent everything I have for love of Him and the Gospel of Christ.
“The Christian people are a pilgrim people, and our life with all its burdens and joys, had a direction that begins in God and ends with God when all things are summed up in Christ.” Christian Spirituality, Cunningham & Egan p10.
Time is Passing and Purpose is Calling
When I became a baptized Catholic I was forever changed, I relinquished the reigns of my life to a Higher Power. Of course that is not to say I have not tried on occasion to wrestle to get them back but God always wins that battle. My prayer life is so much deeper than it used to be, before monotonously rhyming off the names of all my family and friends and seeking what I thought would be best for them, now praying for God’s will to be done in all of our lives. I am so much more aware that time is passing and the only important thing is not to leave this earth with my purpose incomplete.
Coming to know myself more through self-scrutiny and God revealing to me that which needs to be dealt with has brought me to a deeper level of awareness of my spirituality. I agree with the sentiments of Downey when he states, “Christian spirituality is intrinsically relational, social and, indeed, political. That is to say, that it pertains to every dimension of our lives as persons and as a people. Spirituality does not solely concern “me and Jesus.” Nor is its exclusive focus the domain of personal salvation or sanctification. Spirituality describes a way of living in Christ: being conformed to the person of Christ and being united in communion with others, the whole of creation, and with God.” Understanding Christian Spirituality, Michael Downey p103.
History of Spirituality
Through study, I have had occasion to learn much about the history of Spirituality as it pertains to the Catholic tradition. Learning about the Inquisition and the Crusades and the corruption that abounded in the church at certain times was difficult. It is of course obvious that the Catholic Church was founded on the shed martyred blood of Christ and He warned us that His followers would suffer much, we all have our cup of suffering to drink.
The Art of Intentional Listening
On a more positive note I have learned much about prayer and the various forms of it some employed by the saints to great benefit. I have adopted Lectio Divina the contemplative prayer of scripture as a means of going deeper in my spirituality. I am practicing the art of intentionally listening, as Benedict encourages in the Prologue to the Rule of Benedict, “To listen with the ear of our heart.”
God speaks softly therefore, we must attune our ears to the silence. Practicing being silent before God is the next step in my own journey. Coming to a place of letting everything go and letting God be God. I love that song, “God I must know you.” That is where my heart is at now.
Everything is Interconnected
Learning about, our relationship to God, to self, to others and to creation has taught me that although these are separate relationships they are also connected and of equal importance. Jesus said we cannot say that we love God but hate our brother, and if we apply that to ourselves, we must be as kind to ourselves as we are to others, and of course the creation is vitally important for the survival of life as we know it, so I have come to see everything as being interconnected and equally important.
Universal Call to Holiness
The universal call to holiness is the constant desire to be more like God, to be used by Him and that can only happen by completely surrendering to His purposes. Serving God, others, the community and taking care of all of God’s creation.
Christian Spirituality is God’s Transcendent Power at Work
Spirituality is hard to define because it is always in motion, we could name it as faith in action, spirituality is an opening of oneself to the Divine and allowing Him to enter in and remake us, His Holy Spirit transforming our spirits into His likeness, Christian spirituality is God’s transcendent power at work in every aspect of our beings.
Spirituality is often a solitary journey that involves much suffering but which holds the promise of ending in mystical union with Christ. What more could anyone aspire to?
Lewis, C.S. Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1996 p228-229
Cunningham, Lawrence S. & Egan, Keith J. Christian Spirituality, Paulist Press, 1996, p121
Cunningham, Lawrence S. & Egan, Keith J. Christian Spirituality, Paulist Press, 1996, p68
Cunningham, Lawrence S. & Egan, Keith J. Christian Spirituality, Paulist Press, 1996, p10
Downey, Michael, Understanding Christian Spirituality, Paulist Press, 1997, p103
Blessings to you and all those that you love I hope that sharing a litte of my spiritual journey will help you on yours.
Marion Sinclair-Simpson (C)