John of the Cross, The Interior Mountain & Our Contemplative Prayer (Part 2) / Conclusion

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Part of "St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross and Our Vocation to Contemplative Prayer"

4. John of the Cross, The Interior Mountain & Our Contemplative Prayer (Part 2) / Conclusion

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there's one side of town of the cross that's very debated and that his whole aesthetic oxide it's so austere and he just as radical in his wanting to love god only and nothing else and he's so radical in that
that he seems and to some to get into a kind about masochistic thing where it's good to suffer and he seems to get into a man and key and thing where of creation is a bad thing and only the creator is good the key and harrison at its worst
even argue that there's two different gods who a god of the old testament who create things and things are bad things are they're basically to distract us from god that there's a god of the new testament who creates only the are exquisitely supernatural realities and that's the god we go with
for this is a heresy there's been condemned by holy mother church some would say that there seems to be something of that in john of the crop records extremely austere assassination and then again something of masochism that it is up or what does god want from us got one
this to suffer so listen to some of these classic maxims by his maxims and councils were wearing slugs as away and the most ferocious from this he writes for the combat ugh hobbies the carmelite nuns so there radical in their love and he wants to stir that up
you know reflect that it is good to suffer in any way for god who is good
well is that the case is it good to suffer in any way regard who is good but christ crucified be enough for you and with himself and take your rest and hence annihilate yourself in all inward and outward things so that's what are a christian and religious life
it's about annihilating ourselves in all inward and outward things this a kind of spiritual suicide your body says
have great love for trials and think of them as but a small way of pleasing your spouse who did not hesitate to die for you
neurosis of these cartoons about this big angry at nine who son i'm been get into the kid to run by two thousand times on the board of jesus guy because of mean years
well as son is this what it's all about this god wants us to suffer and by suffering or weeklies god kind of thing too little
if we stray a little bit if we like a little the beauty of this tree or that ocean or that now and then we really are betraying god and string up his anger he who links is hard to these delights them deserves in god's eyes intense suffering torment and bitterness you will not be capable of attack
amy the delights of the abrasives of union with god since he merit suffering and bitterness so what exactly is happening here
obviously this is that good for community life if i'm just the think of god only good though the are brothers and sisters cutting their working has a whole section on community but it tends to be in terms of the dangerous and create community can distract you from god only
so he says some amazing things about community in order to practice the first council concerning resignation to be truly resigned you should move in the monastery is though no one else we're in it so you just say alone and thus should never buy word or
i thought medal and things that happened in the community nor with individuals in it decided not to notice they're good or bad qualities or their conduct is don't notice it and in order to preserve your tranquillity of sol that's the key
even if the whole world crumbles
you should not desire to avert to this or interfere memory bots wife what's looking back that's why does it all concerned about saddam who were she's changed into salt well if you're all concerned about this brothers doing good and that brothers not doing so good and the earthquakes in l a et cetera you can't keep your mind on guy came
of thing but ah
this is a little to this certainly isn't that a chapter seventy two and the holy rule where of st benedict's exhorts to a good seal yep concern for the brethren wanting to obey each other wanting to help each other etc
so these are the questions people ask
to practice the poor council which concerned solitude you should deem everything in the world is finished it's over with thus when for not being able to avoid it you have to deal with some matter do so in as detached away ways you would as if it did not exist so i've got a brother there who suits in anguish should
dying and maybe i got gotta either with him you know but done it's better to be there is though he started america anything
so this causes problems what's happening here in terms of just christian for turtle love what's happening with the second commandment what's happening to the god who calls us to joy and to celebrate creation cetera this isn't a magic foxes
a so good some ask is this just all basically up manichaean that are creation is somehow bad and that
the entire world is not worthy of a man's thought for this belongs to god alone and he thought therefore not centered on god in stolen from him
so interesting a radical what do we got here and then you can go on and i it except it's certainly not our pleasure happy enjoy your joy culture it's up north it feels could do what he said feels good for heaven sakes don't do it
i've got a on the level
all the beauty of creatures compared with the infinite beauty of god is supreme ugliness
a solomon says in proverbs alex karachi a market varner all of creation is being
a so a person attached to the beauty of any creature is extremely ugly in god's sake
if you're struck by the beauty of the ocean or the mountain to the birds or another person maybe your spouse your extreme ugliness you gotta it seems to say what are we doing here
all the grace and elegance of creatures compared with god's grace is other coarseness and crudity or there's none of this in teresa and should this be here that's why
here are we completely out of the christian round here and we got into some kind of buff pre christian thing now the defenders of china the cross who are many can now let's remember we gotta read this in the context he's not talking about creatures in and of themselves he's talking about creature
as in so far as we are inclined to them with a disordered and a kind of addictive personality that's the thing
it's like a wonderful bottle of fun italian tuscan wine in and of itself that's a wonderful thing but if you push that in the face of a recovering addict this could be destruction for them this could be a diabolic for them so have kept that darn bottle
out of here it's a dreadful thing but get nagging and of itself not for someone who's ordered etc but for someone who has that addiction
gerald may says we are all addicts every one of us towards something or other now i think trying to cross codes quite far than that and he says our tendency is for all of us to be addicts towards everything and anything anything other than god will take if it'll distract us from the one thing necessary so that's where
he's coming from with this radical midst of a of of spaniard and the mad lover et cetera so it isn't manichaean he's not saying that creation in and of itself is ugly you saying that we when we get into are addictive mode are craving mode having to claim
not to be ineffable infinite god who created us for god's self but to this chocolate bar or that glass of wine or that women are that man or something that's when things go well so john on the cross with real reddit conduct radical this is calling us
right to freedom of spirit so in our freedom of spirit we can give ourselves totally to god is calling us to purity of heart its radicals and this is the radical to be some parts of jesus as gospel you cannot serve two masters
ah give everything up for the pearl of great beauty so that's where he's coming from a savings defenders and so one doesn't want to take some of these phrases in kind of a literal way
freedom cannot abide in a heart dominated by the appetites that is a slaves hard
freedom dwells in a liberated heart
which is the son's or daughter's heart to make this crew superior so and it's were not slaves were now hold to the sons and daughters and that means we can be of enslaved to whatever but we inevitably will want to be he's much more rigorous in his analysis
of our tendency to of desire crave want whether to things whether it be glory honors again whether in the world or in the church or whatever he's got this extremely rigorous prophetic vision the profit when seek it out there and break every idle where we just make an eye
idol of anything and everything and so this is the rigor of is some cynicism he writes the heart must be purified of all creatures with the fire of divine bug
i get not at all creatures certainly comes from god or bad but because what we do with them in our effective dimension
i felt so free and empty of all possessions so they can be totally receptive of god only that's the first and great commandment ah there's another side to this also and that's a something that thomas merton argues with great eloquence
it's it's not just that he's clenching his teeth and wanting to wipe all these things out so that are you create a place for god but god is already moving in his heart this man is already patiently in love with god and especially love with him and calling him to total union with god so there is this man
mad crazy radical this out the lover and even of the spanish puckered than to say up
romantic love is a crate kind of man was and i'm done so he's just not going to brooke any distract should not going to broke any obstacle any substitute you need a divided heart he wants her heart totally for christ
so that's the defense of his scepticism
he did that doesn't totally satisfy people but up
certainly is awesome in his single minded commitment to the spouse only a single mighty commitment to that straight and narrow right up narrow is the way that leads to salvation jesus says and throw the cost a any man imagines that we have not
not not a lot of another nothing nothing that the not wandering off to the left to all these nice constellations and things and rest and security and all that not wandering off to the right to all the nice things whether again up the church or of the world
so well that's where he said but because the lover calls wanted to go to the most direct immediate way and that's pure faith in the lover only not anything else
so still after you for the defense in these terms up at very least it's are
not the approach of lots of scripture when can argue scripture for instance regarded creatures does insist that creatures who created by god a he says don't even look at creatures don't even consider them when you can argue that god himself herself looks at creatures and genesis declare some all good and then if
we were at all attended to the songs mechanical as we were praying this morning as as well the heavens glorify god in the skies and the see and all animals wild and tame and it's always a canticle of praise to god jesus as consider the lilies of the field and
don see francis is canticle of the creatures brother sun sister moon if you move this into the dimension of our ecological awareness today especially deep ecology i can't isolate myself up from creation and part of this living events web
and it's the whole that glorifies god not just created in god we believe but if we take the new testament seriously recreated in christ redeemed called to an eternal glory so up we have to take very seriously
the possibility of glorify god in and through creatures since we always do what we do in the through our body using the through the language we receive from a community and it through of the login support the community etc so
at least some of us would argue that the way of st benedict seems more evangelical it's interesting to reflect on just a john's name and patron
this is john the beloved disciple who is china the cross as peter
no this is john the baptist with course is this rigorous setting and it's jesus himself who contrasts himself and his own path with the path and john the baptist remember that john the baptist comes neither eating or drinking
and the son of man comes both eating and drinking and saw them son of man is accused of being a glutton and doubt drunkard and the son of man not just for himself when he goes into these banquets he brings all his parcels in with him not that they've attained the seventh mansion to the mystical marriage they're still at the beginning but
this is their journey with their master and it's not the path of the disciples john the baptist john the baptist himself the name nodded and so the questions had come up in the synoptics why don't your disciples fast and all the show up it can be argued that jesus didn't
come preaching and imposing a rigorous kind of as asceticism of this sort for whatever reason but is an unchristian of i don't think what would argue that but it's at least let's say only one proposal among others and others want to save
the whole value of the of the whole of creation as glorifying god and are intricate part in that creation and how this creation is being restored renewed for an eternal glory it's not just heard that our spiritual solace will be saved and haven't been
all creation etc etc
but having said that i think we have to admit there's something exhilarating there's something purifying about reading journal across certainly against our grabs flabby hedonistic culture very much of supported and encouraged by madison avenue and all this stuff about sure just indo
bulge get the latest big car get the latest fancy big computer attend your latest new retreat in vacation after wherever etc ours is a society built on indulgence and the more you indulge of the better
and we need this new john the baptist come in and way this fisted us etc and up we're all going to have to follow his way and know another at the moment of death we're going to have to go through the active night out the senses and the active night of the spirit and
the passive negative researchers and the passive night of the script so he's john out of the crops not of the empty cross but at the cross will be yeah
our lord hanging there of and that's where work and as we're all gonna be disciples so john willing or not in that decisive moment and if you take seriously what's impulses that we must die daily in that moment of time i think there's no other way
ah and so daily we've got to be disciples of john it's just pat daly we don't just die daily we also live and me dying we then rise from the dead so up there says whole picture but he offers an extremely
rigorous cleansing medicine for our time first of all and second of all he directly i think guides us into the decisive task and challenge ahead of us that is our own dying i came away that's probably more helpful than anything else
what's the movie that writer who wrote the book holiness who himself just died down precisely we have some of his writings and published just in his last time when he was suffering he knew what total this lucidity that he would die so he wrote his reflections how do i go
i'll prove this moment well it's just pecos adjournment across when you're in that place you don't want me matthew fox and touch of a trippy bird use etc you like said
welcome back time a hero i have the needle
oh and get destiny pass were being drawn on to resurrect should match the a-hole presupposition by this mysterious presence and touch in our souls of the beloved and so we shouldn't get all caught up uses islam to up extent that we've
get what the asceticism is for it's not an end in itself he is masochist begin that said it's just that we need to make more space for the lord we need to be more focused with that queer eye on the lord because the lord is acting within us and the all board might well be as
acting within us in the a special supernatural contemplative way that how do we discern that we've seen that with theresa now he gives three classic sign six spiritual directors regular come back to
the first is presumably and soul has been turning on gotten into a active prayer active meditation wanting to be more and more filled with the spirit of christ the spirit of the gospel through a commitment to discursive formal prayer to discursive meditation etc
within a certain point this becomes more and more difficult
indeed of the soul to usually we can do it anymore at zippers sign or can do it only with great effort with great force it doesn't come naturally very often at the beginning it does come into joy to learn why can meditate on being there with our lord and his preaching on the
sermon on the mounted being there at this healing etc the only nation that the door something on it it feels when with an enthusiasm to bring in the sensors and the considerations etc the time comes at least for some that just doesn't work
at the second sign is not only doesn't work when doesn't want to do it not only can't one but when have no desire to
now these are too negative signs and aren't there that explicitly and theresa but the third is the key one for theresa and that this mysterious being attracted beyond them to something else which one can hardly name it's a realm of mysterious silence in
a bull peace quiet
and when wants to be there india's general loving awareness of god he brings it i think is fascinating to remind didn't find entry to a general love again not a look specifically focused on jesus they're preaching at the last supper or christ on the cross or what
never put this mysterious just love
what's that all about well i'll me not about anything it's probably just illusion know be there let that happen you've seen something very important is happening there
the third and surest sign is that a person likes to remain alone in this loving awareness of god without particular considerations in interior peace and quiet and repose and without the axe and exercises
at least discursive those in which when progressive from point to point of the intellect memory and will and but he prefers to remain only in the general loving awareness and knowledge we mentioned without any particular knowledge or understanding so if there is this
this in oneself or in someone else at one's journey when a from man
don't say that distribution branch of people ancient does take some careful discernment up three if it's drug into styptic some very careful because you can get a place with drugs isn't some like this well those who had been in both places say no this is entirely different
this has of lucidity and a deep peace about it the other up were aware there's something on chemical and artificial about it
so this is where we want to be some times at the very beginning this third sign isn't even a verdant to by the person why because normally our awareness is not in fact most subtle summit of our spirit of the interior belt nor do we were
down here below the sentence at the base of the mountain where all the villages and towns are that and the crowds and the pub plazas and all the rest so the person might only be aware of those first two i can't do this other and i don't even wanna do this other and that is particularly delicate to try to deepen their
consciousness of well maybe you can and you don't want to because there's something else happening that wants to replace it wants to go beyond these particular works that are a lower down on the mountain to use his kind of them so are we need
prayer is nothing other than a are we finding a our awareness of our consciousness of these mysterious ways god is speaking to us in god's language which we get it's totally different from the languages where you still it's not that hard metal for and rock called a africa
it's a quite more settlement
i'm happy that often
actually at the beginning of the state of loving i'm surprised you would do that
i carried on the internet
so regarding the top kb the person it's hardly even aware of this laugh decisive element a john writes actually at the beginning of this state the loving knowledge is almost unnoticeable there are two reasons for this is such a jade's was structured first
ordinarily the incipient buggy knowledge is extremely subtle and delicate and almost imperceptible and second a person who is habituated to the exercise and meditation which is wholly sensible hard to be perceived or feel this new insensible purely spiritual experience
when to failure to understand it he does not permit himself and quietude but strides after the other more sensory experience although the interior piece is more abundant the individual allows no room for its experience in enjoyment so here we get extremely subtle
in our with it phenomenology in our attentiveness to what is being experienced and that's what happens in love just note these signs of love from the other of birth to them and satisfied a lot of other noisy stuff that made yeah is mister that the key thing is
this deep quiet and peace here is an absolute accord with theresa however different of his by which methodology might be to get at not get there because you can't get there but get at disposing the hearts so that the heart of truly and solidly received this gift
but the more a bitch waited he becomes to this call the deeper his experience of the general loving knowledge of god will grow this knowledge but more subtle is more enjoyable than all other things because without the sold labour it affords peace
rest saber and delight to things to motive without the soul labor this is clearly that were somewhere on this side of the fourth mansions this is this infusion now of the supernatural gift of contemplation
and the other more enjoyable than all other things this is why he sounds so wildly disdainful of creation know but cheaply because he has the greater he has the one thing necessary and he wants to go for it it doesn't want to be the unfaithful lover he doesn't want to walk
flirt around on the side of this one patient at love affair but the whole such the feathered as with theresa is the this is a wildly spousal mysticism as with heard ah here's the whole bernini statue when this can be drawn across all
so nice as wildly romantic and patient and she and up we want to come back to that again to understand the context of all the rest what god wants especially and you can almost say the only thing god wants from us the only thing is our love and this is the whole thing
and the way to love if you want to be wildly the lobby if you call and also how we both did you call this contemplative way is through contemplative loving not will immediately rushed down to the piazza and start preaching or rushing to up i don't know know
just stay there in silence he's very much merit rather than martha
the sole indeed last to all things because one over to love no longer occupies her spirit in anything else she even withdraws and matters pertinent to the active life and exterior occupations for the sake of fulfilling the one thing the bridegroom said was necessary
eric your he quotes loop with martha and mary martha martha you're busy about so many things one only is necessary what is this what only he says love
and that is a tentative to god continual love with him not a intermittent not every now and then when i'm in the mood or feeling pious this is where begin with him miss with her it's linked to the will the wheel schenley faithfully in faith attempting to god
it's presence as above
so this is what it's all about this
being there in but is worth more to the person and is worth more to the church he insists that all the active a postulates that all the active breaching some miracles and healings and now you might believe this should not but a this i think is at least a healthy counter poised
to all the emphasis in our time on action to doing and workaholic and achievement et cetera and he says just sit there just be there in love with god and his is useless this is everything this is this is truly what is a value to the whole church the whole
the human family
it should be noted that until the sole reaches a state of union of love she should practice love in both the active and contemplative life yet once she arrives she should not become involved other works in an exterior exercises that might be up the slightest hindrance to the attentiveness above
toward god even though the work be of great service to god for a little of this pure love is more precious to god and the soul and more beneficial to the entire church even though it seems that one is doing nothing and all these other works put together so this
is quite different from the up and so see the active a postulate
kind dr it's up in so many so ah he establishes on a ladder god wants only love god wants nothing else
this love until it totally transforms us
if anything pleases god it is the exaltation of the soul god is the as to what god wants to free us up and to exalt us exalt us we would say it eastern language to demonize us to make us entirely equal to god since
there is no way by which god can exalt her more than by making are equal to himself he is pleased only with her love for the property of love is to make the lover equal to the object lot since the soul in this state possesses perfect love she is called the bride of the son of god
which signifies it signifies quality with him fascinating aspects just about his view of relation of a woman man here in full equality in the love
ah yes equality of friendship your he shifts now just spousal love but love of friendship this is another modality of love which are also has something about equality with it in this equality of friendship the processions of both are held
in common as the bride groom himself said to his disciples i have now call you my friends because all that i have heard from my father had manifested to you so then she recites the stands at you he scored his own stand supreme spiritual canticle that is commonly known now i occupy my soul
and all my energies in his service nor have i any other work now and my every act as love so this is where he wants to take us and done so it's pretty exciting and passionate stuff
so he establishes a ladder of we shipped up that nada nada not alive becomes a ladder that safely gets straight up the ladder is another great archetype it starts with the jacob's ladder of course of the old testament jesus himself assumes that are type and says he himself
is that matter when he says you know what you will see the angels of god ascending and descending on the son of man is such a well the ladder is very much in the rule benedict and this basic bitching of romuald so ladders for us aren't good up benedict sets up a ladder of humility china
cross sets up a ladder of love different took me ascend by loving more
we mentioned that there are ten successive steps on this ladder of love by which the solar sense to god this is still in the dark knight such it's not all darkness and gloom in the dark knight this is sub book two chapter nineteen the first step of love makes the so sick in an advantageous way the bride speak
so this step of love when she says i could do you daughters of jerusalem if you encounter my love tell him that i am love sick canticle date yet this sickness is not a debt but for the glory of god you're you're quoting john cetera so yeah we're no longer normal were no longer say
see in a kind of bug a sameness of this world and a practical calculating way we're just
sick were we've fallen in love the second step causes a person to search regard unceasingly of like the bride and the canticle of canticles seeking a night and day
the third step of the slope of this loving ladder prompts the song the performance of works gives it fervor that it might not fail here echoes i hear of teresa here the point good job job may makes that this love is fruitful and i'll just stop bears fruit
for the community does was stress the the that much but that would be their fourth on the first step of this ladder of love a habitual yet on wearisome suffering is engendered on account of the beloved as st augustine says love makes all burdensome and heavy things as
so there's is pining after god this nostalgia for phone union and this kind of soft gentle suffering for which all the other sufferings are aren't that bad and indeed can help detaches from the other stuff it's kind of holding us down and we've got all these
psych octopuses are trying to hold us down and we're trying to a well what's the plural of octopuses
caring about were trying to ascend the ladder of well of its this a suffering that that causes us to ascend the fifth step of this ladder of love in parts an impatient desire and longing for god again he wants to get there soon he wants to go by the shortwave not
wandering around and done
six the six step makes us whole run swiftly toward god and experienced many touches in him i were getting to the point where these moments of averting to god's being actively the so they come with a certain frequency they can maybe
surprise that you're not that wrote rare now and it runs without fainting by reason of its hope the love that has invigorated it makes it fly swiftly remember when peter and the beloved disciple because will judge here that to is empty you start
i'm running this is this a wonderful running the seven step of the latter gives it an ardent bonus and this stage bob either profits by the judgments to wait nor makes use of the council to retreat kind of a worldly reasonable nurse or a cash
a not know you just go for it
common sense doesn't enter here you just go for him neither can it be curbed through shame look at that person who does he think he owes them
for the favor god now shows the parts this arden daring
a biblical scholars know that this astonishing difference between the apostles after pentecost and before before they're all terrorized and they're in their room it's locked and free to the jews etc with the descent of the spirit there is his boldness
now this boat to love god it's not boldness to a for oneself for advance one so i don't know stock portfolio or something so there's a aggressiveness of the world that's entirely different from this but this is the boldness again of the impatient lover the eight step
of love and pellets a soul to lay hold of the beloved without letting him go as the bride proclaims i found him in my heart and soul loves i held him and did not let him go canticle three for this is the key book that he loves to come back to again and again because it directly describes what is about
to the night step of love causes a soul to burn gently it is a step of the perfect who burned gently in god so it's no wild crazy but it's not even above of ecstasy or rapture of there's very little about each other across he's faring to
ebs have any and every vision in in every the tution prophecy any of that stuff
so here he said an interesting rigorous the straightway if you all get into what these prophecies are of those vision you're just going to wander away go the way of nada nada nada not a right into god by naked dark faith that and then you will have this gentle soft quiet
i love
the tenth last step of the secret matter of love assimilate the soul to god completely because of the clear vision of god which a person possesses as soon as he reaches it
it's a strong assumption that of the cross again attain to this and from this level wrote a handle the rest and this then up is to last wonderful walks up with spiritual canticle and done living flame of love of our about that
or about up the point where we're yearning to attain to
so this is the other side of the sean was extremely an invigorating now to say are you only way there is through the cross and so it's not an easy soft
blessing out that he proposes but a a a full
freedom and joy in the beloved having given up everything else for the beloved having given up everything else what happens and he says there's on as map and necessity this portrait than you recover everything else
because all is in the beloved the beloved is everything he falls into a delightful pantheism in the at the end he says my beloved is the mountains that is not just the mountains remind me of my beloved or the mountains are like the beloved are some of my beloved is the mountain so suddenly it's ah
all the stops
soak there can be a no doubt that he not manichaean because no manichaean would ever write what he did at the end that is all of creation is glorious and somehow all the creation is christ from that final perspective unfortunately down here when we're still in our fallen state all of creation is tempting
the two wandered off not again because creation is bad in and of itself but because simply of this a sick worked tendency you know us because we miss you start freedom is children of god but with the healing it has something that the rigor of the twelve step program indeed goes probably quite beyond
it up with the healing than everything is recovered
and then we can enjoy that bottle of tuscany area and on the resume so why don't we end with them just some of these passages from his spiritual canticle then we'll have turn off the tape and entertain all ques
kitchens discussions objections et cetera
in the classic thomas view of the causalities of there's this principle that the final cause is the cause of causes that shapes all the others we don't have to do a lot of totally disappear but out china the cross was a classic thomas that means that all the a
other causes whether be why of this or wherefore what it is are made it ultimately it's tending towards that final cause with the final cause is this total spousal friendship union with god and it's in the light of this that i think we can say john does see all
all the rest he sees it extremely soberly and austerely but it's in this very quiet
silence about that he sees all the rest
so now to conclude from the spiritual canticle of passengers here in there it's a very long sublime canticle and it's just an ethical echo of the canticle of category subscription
my beloved is the mountains and lonely wooded valleys strange islands and resounding rivers the whistling of love stirring greece's the tranquil night at the time of the rising dawn silent music sound
ding solitude the supper that refreshes and deepened slow
our bed is in flower bound round with linking dems of lions hung with purple built up in peace and crowned with a thousand shields a gold
there he gave me his breast their you taught me a sweet and living knowledge and i gave myself to him keeping nothing back there i promise to be his bride
now i occupy my soul and all my energies in his servants i no longer tend to heard nor have i any other work now that my every act his islam