Do we see it? The mysterious God of love is everywhere. It is all around us – if we will only let down our learned behaviors to judge and separate. All is whole in the very seeing. Joy is more of the see-er than in what is seen. When we just be – letting down our guard we can be open to the relationships available with others and nature all around us. Jesus was a model of “God with us”. We too can be “God with others” if we can just be without our judgment and in communion with those around us. But, it takes our willingness to see.
Forgiveness has many days. Some days we must learn to forgive those who offend and hurt us. Other days we must seek forgiveness from others we have hurt. Most days involve both. Which means each day involves the mystery of love and forgiveness. The Christ story is all about both kinds of forgiveness. And Jesus showed the way forward. When we forgive and ask for forgiveness we set ourselves and others free. Seek forgiveness and in doing so save others and yourself the pain that occurs when we hold on to hurts.
Each day we live offers us mystery. Each person and each situation is a chance to see God’s gifts and opportunities. We are called to see with the eyes of hope and joy. If we do so, we can see mystery. If we do so, we can offer hope. If we do so, we can find love. I did so today. Did you?
We need to listen to our own feelings and emotions. How we feel is neither good or bad – it just is. When we take time to acknowledge how we feel – we get some insight into what is going on with us right now. Are we sad, mad, happy, joyous or numb? What’s causing it? What do I feel like doing? These questions allow us to step back and make smart choices with what to do with our feelings. We can make better choices when we know what is going on within us. Our feelings give us great insights – if we pay attention to them. To be a mystic means to be aware of all that is around us and within us – and to see how it is sacred because of the Maker. Our emotions and feelings help us tremendously in doing that.
We don’t usually talk a lot about forgiveness in today’s world. To forgive can be seen as a sign of weakness. But, it certainly is not. It is the ultimate sign of strength- and love. Jesus lived His life forgiving – and loving others. On the cross, He forgave His crucifiers and the “Good Thief”. After His resurrection, He forgave His followers who abandoned Him. We too can be set free if we follow His example and forgive. To do so, we receive the blessing God intended for us, We too can be set free – if we forgive.
Being a mystic can happen anywhere – as long as we are aware of God’s Presence. You do not need to be at Church or in your prayer space. You can be at work, at home, at the dry cleaners, and at your child’s ball game. It is all whole and holy in the seeing. Can we be open? That is the key question. Find God – and God’s Present – everywhere!
In my experience, it starts with being quiet. There is usually noise everywhere. But, can you find quiet among the noise? For me, it starts with deep breaths and finding quiet within me. Then, I just see what is around me. In the people, in the space, in the noise – we can find God. Can you find God now? Just keep trying – it will surprise you just where you can find God’s presence!
One of the best historical texts on mysticism is from John of the Cross. John of the Cross is a 15th Century Friar who is the author of poetry and other writings that speak to our need for a mature spirituality. He was the author of The Dark Night of the Soul. Even today, this text can help invite and illustrate for us how we can seek to go beyond our mere feelings and emotions to experience God directly. This experience can best be seen in its outcomes because while in the “Dark Night” we are without the normal words and feels we normally experience. Mystics, then and now, seek to be centered in God and to go beyond mere feelings and words.
My life is not about me; it is about God, and God is about love. When we don’t know love, when we experience only the insecurity and fragility of the small self, we become restless, violent, and hateful. But in contemplation we move to a different space where we see the illusion of separateness. We experience what my recently deceased friend Sister Paula Gonzalez referred to as “a self surrounded by a semipermeable membrane.” There’s a constant flow, in both directions, through that membrane. – Richard Rohr
Don’t wait your time on useless activities. We all only get so much life. And, usually, we do not know when our time will end. We need to live life knowing the mystery that it is. To do so, we must learn to be silent and listen to our Triune God speak to our hearts. Centering Prayer or meditation can help us to do this. It is never a waste of time to be silent with an intent to listen and learn from our Triune Lord. In this silence, we will discover our passions, our joys and our next steps. Stop and listen daily. Stop and listen often. Stop and hear the joy in your heart and soul.
I did not like it. In fact, it was so hard at first. Centering Prayer feels like nothingness. But, I began to notice a difference in me. One that I really like. I was calm and less judgmental. I was more alive and joyful. I was more – me. It became worth the struggle. I began to long for it.
These days I usually spend 45 minutes each day in Centering Prayer. I spend 20 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes midday and 20 minutes in the evening. It brackets my day in time listening to Our Lord. It is a great blessing now. Thank you Lord!