You will experience because of it great grace, helping you towards the acquisition of nakedness of mind and simplicity of heart. Indeed this One Thing is very much present with you if you have made yourself bare of imaginations and all other entanglements, and you will soon experience that this is so—namely when you can be empty and cleave to God with a naked and resolute mind. For this reason apply yourself at all times to purity, clarity and peace of heart above all things, so that, so far as possible, you can keep the doors of your heart resolutely barred to the forms and images of the physical senses and worldly imaginations by shutting off the doors of the physical senses and turning within yourself.
After all, purity of heart is recognized as the most important thing among all spiritual practices, as its final aim, and the reward for all the labours that a spiritual-minded person and true religious may undertake in this life. You must guard your understanding from daydreams and thoughts of earthly things. Augustine , to ascend to God means to enter into oneself. He who entering within and penetrating his inmost nature, goes beyond himself, he is truly ascending to God.
Above all it is important for you to keep your mind bare—without imaginations and images and free of any sort of entanglement, so that you are not concerned about either the world, friends, prosperity or adversity, or anything present, past or future, whether in yourself or in others—not even your own sins. But consider yourself with a certain pure simplicity to be alone with God outside the world, and as if your mind were already in eternity and separated from the body so that it will certainly not bother about worldly things or be concerned about the state of the world, about peace or war, about good weather or rain, or about anything at all in this world, but with complete docility will turn to God alone, be empty for him and cleave to him.
And this is the waking sleep of the Spouse , of the which the Scripture thus: I sleep, and my heart waketh. This is commonly denied; and truly so in a sense.
For it indeed cannot be so long as the soul is taking heed to the body, and the things which minister and appertain thereto, and to time and the creature, and is disturbed and troubled and distracted thereby. For if the soul shall rise to such a state, she must be quite pure, wholly stripped and bare of all images, and be entirely separate from all creatures, and above all from herself. Now many think this is not to be done and is impossible in this present time. But St.
Dionysius, that it is possible, and may happen to a man often, till he become so accustomed to it, as to be able to look into eternity whenever he will. For when a thing is at first very hard to a man and strange, and seemingly quite impossible, if he put all his strength and energy into it, and persevere therein, that will afterward grow quite light and easy, which he at first thought quite out of reach, seeing that it is of no use to begin any work, unless it may be brought to a good end.
And as soon as a man turneth himself in spirit, and with his whole heart and mind entereth into the mind of God which is above time, all that ever he hath lost is restored in a moment. And if a man were to do thus a thousand times in a day, each time a fresh and real union would take place; and in this sweet and divine work standeth the truest and fullest union that may be in this present time. For he who hath attained thereto, asketh nothing further, for he hath found the Kingdom of Heaven and Eternal Life on earth. For, as we have said, in order to attain to this state the natural operations must be completely disregarded, and this happens, as the Prophet says, when the soul comes into solitude, according to these its faculties, and God speaks to its heart.
Hosea ]. And He will fill them with peace, coming down upon the soul, as the prophet says, like a river of peace [Isaiah ], and taking it from all the misgivings and suspicions, disturbances and darknesses which caused it to fear that it was lost or was on the way to being so.
Let it not grow careless about prayer, and let it wait in detachment and emptiness, for its blessings will not tarry. This occurs without effort or exertion on its part, and for this reason contemplation is called night, in which the soul through the channel of its transformation learns in this life that it already possesses, in a supreme degree, this divine fruition, together with its beauty. The first is perfect; the second more perfect; and the third more perfect.
In the first, that is, of words, Virtue is acquired; in the second, to wit, of Desires, quietness is attained to; in the third of Thoughts, Internal Recollection is gained. By not speaking, not desiring, and not thinking, one arrives at the true and perfect Mystical Silence, wherein God speaks with the Soul, communicates himself to it, and in the Abyss of its own Depth, teaches it the most perfect and exalted Wisdom.
Thou art to keep thy self in this mystical Silence, if thou wouldest hear the sweet and divine Voice. It is not enough for gaining this Treasure, to forsake the World, nor to renounce thine own Desires, and all things created; if thou wean not thy self from all Desires and Thoughts. Rest in this mystical Silence, and open the Door, that so God may communicate himself unto thee, unite with thee, and transform thee into himself.
Thus St. It may be that at that time thou seekest more thy self, and the love of thy self, than the true Love of God, Because Love consists in Works, and not in fair Discourses. But God who searches the Hearts, standeth not in need that thou shouldest make profession and assure him of it; nor does he rest satisfied, as the Evangelist says, with Love in Word nor in Tongue, but with that which is true and indeed.
What avails it to tell them with great zeal and fervor, that thou tenderly and perfectly loveth him above all things, if at one bitter word, or slight injury, thou doest not resign thy self, nor are mortified for the love of him? A manifest proof that thy love was a love in Tongue and not in Deed. Peter most affectionately told the Lord, that for his sake he was ready, willingly to lay down his Life; but at the word of a young Damsel, he denied him, and there was an end of his Zeal.
Mary Magdelen said not a word, and yet the Lord himself taken with her perfect Love, became her Panegyrist, saying that she had loved much. It is internally, then, that with dumb Silence, the most perfect Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity are practiced, without any necessity of telling God, that thou lovest him, hopest and believest in him; because the Lord knows better than thou dost, what the internal Motions of thy Heart are.
O Incarnate Seraphim, and Deified Man! How well didst thou know how to dive into that internal and mystical Silence, and to distinguish betwixt the outward and inward Man? And how can the pure spirit be heard in the midst of Considerations and discourses of Artifice? If the Soul will not continually dye in it self, denying it self to all these Materialities and satisfactions, the Contemplation can be no more but a mere vanity, a vain complacency and Presumption.
He has even promised to come and make His abode with him that doeth His will John Augustine blames himself for the time he had lost in not having sought God, from the first, in this manner of prayer. You see that in this process the soul is led naturally, without trouble, effort, art or study. It is thus also in natural things; if you would reach the sea, embark on a river, and you will be conveyed to it insensibly and without exertion. Would you go to God, follow this sweet and simple path, and you will arrive at the desired object, with an ease and expedition that will amaze you.
Paul would have us led by the Spirit of God Romans It is no new Invention, as some will say, seeing Jesus Christ spent his whole Life in inward Prayer; and the Evangelist Luke tells us that he continued in it whole Nights. Even this I desire of you, that your Prayers may be simple, without a Multiplicity of Words, so that God, who pours out his Spirit upon the Simple, may himself be your Prayer: simple in Thoughts, abandoning and not entertaining them; simple in Understanding, depending wholly upon God. Therefore there must be no compelling to any particular Degree of Prayer, but to open the Heart to the Holy Spirit, and resign it wholly to him.
All what the Soul is and what is in her, prays through and in Jesus Christ; and being not intent upon her own Will, nor thinking discerningly on what she prays for, she receives at once what she has need of. O what Power has Prayer with God! But what Prayer? Those who perform this Prayer, obtain therein so much Strength that they are not only comforted themselves, but they also comfort others who are oppressed. For I could never yet conceive how a Man could be right in his Internals, and yet be negligent in Prayer.
I join with thee in thy Prayer which thou hast in Solitude by Night prayed; in this Prayer of God grant that we may perform no other Prayer. Let this Spirit rest on the Waters of thy usual and wonted Grace, which thou offereth to all Men; so will it distribute an overflowing Fruitfulness.
O give us new Hearts! Amen, O Jesus! Nicholas A. Motovilov recorded a conversation in the first half of the nineteenth century with the renowned Russian Orthodox mystic, Saint Seraphim of Sarov, on the subject of the purpose of the Christian life—which the saint said was one thing alone: the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Breath. And when He deigns to visit us, we must stop praying.
Though it is not commonly recognized, the British novelist, Emily Bronte, was a highly developed mystic, as is shown in her poetry. We acknowledge that God is beyond our human knowing, while believing that God desires only that which is eternally good for us. Only God is permanent; everything else is changing, moment by moment. Trying to hold on to anything merely frustrates us and makes us anxious. It is not so much that things have changed, as it is that our relationship to things has changed.
Therefore we do not get exasperated with ourselves that our attentiveness wanders; rather, we simply, gently, as soon as we become aware of wandering, return to God, paying attention to our breath. Let the thought be, and return to the breath. In the eighteenth century, two saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and Saint Makarios of Corinth, compiled a five-volume collection of writings from the fourth to fifteenth centuries on Hesychia which they entitled The Philokalia —The Love of the Good.
All the following extracts relevant to Breath Meditation are from that collection.
Carving Out A Realm | Katie Souza Ministries
Through silence you come to understanding: having understood, you give expression. For where there is emptiness, ignorance is also to be found, but where there is richness of the Spirit, no speech is possible. At such a time the soul is drunk with the love of God and, with voice silent, delights in His glory. She would have to care for him in a wicked world and, eventually, see him die on the Cross. However, in his Word he gives us ample reasons to trust him, to place ourselves in his hands as Mary did. Will we? That is the real question of Advent. Tuesday, December 10 Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand; Ponder nothing earthly-minded, for with blessing in His hand, Christ our God to earth descendeth, our full homage to demand.
Luke 2:14 TPT
And if ever there were a hymn to remind us of the seriousness of the season, this is it. In the first-century Church, when there were more adult converts than children being baptized, candidates for baptism were made very aware of the seriousness of their actions in becoming Christian. This is what Advent announces: that we are called to cut the ties with our previous lives of darkness and ignorance, and breathe the new life of Christ.
It is earth-shattering, life- affirming, and can even be scary to contemplate. The liturgical year is the product of an evolution that has undergone many reforms. In the very early Church, it was anticipated that the resurrected Christ would return soon. But as time went by, the Church spread and the return of Christ was understood in a different way. Then a liturgical year began to evolve.