Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mystical Prayer

Chapel of the
Belgium

The advanced prayer of a contemplative "wherein the soul is united to God in its ground without the intervention of imagination or reason or of anything but a simple attention of the mind and a humble, self-forgetting action of the will" (Mysticism: A Study and an Anthology, F. C. Happold) has no form. The soul dances with the Beloved. It is almost impossible to describe this kind of prayer, though Happold does an excellent job of it. It has to be experienced.

In this state of prayer, the heart almost feels as if it will explode in joy and longing. This is deep love wanting to consummate with the Beloved. It mirrors the Trinity; it is grace. 

Within this grace, the contemplative in his or her yearning for union carries the intentions of others and the world, the hopes and hurts, and the desire for reparation for the evil in the world. All of these God can read in his or her being. Living in a monastery is not prerequisite...

F. C. Happold and Evelyn Underhill, both Anglicans, were neither monastics nor presbyters, but they were profound mystics, though certainly would never self-identify as such. The minute someone does, run like the hell the other way! Both lived ordinary lives in the world knowing that God speaks through what God creates. No need to clang cymbals and strike gongs about it.

It is in and through this yearning that one realizes how much he or she falls short of living life in God. It is only by giving EVERYTHING to the Beloved that it can be healed and the lover transfigured and transformed. But all this is quite hidden, often from the contemplative himself or herself. 

So, in faith, one keeps surrendering to the love of God. Nothing said here contradicts what was said in the previous post about liberation for the active person needs to be rooted deeply in the contemplative, always living in humility.

1 comment:

Thom, SFO said...

I adore that chapel.