Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Drawn to God


To say that God is Infinite is to say that He may be apprehended and described in an infinity of ways. The Circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere, may be approached from every angle with a certainty of being found.
So says, Evelyn Underhill in her book, Mysticism, P. 163
Draw me, we will run after thee. Song of Solomon 1:4a (King James’ Version)
God draws us to himself, even when we are only just beginning on the path of mystical prayer. God desires us to know him and, because each one of us is different, we can “run after God” in our own unique way and unite with God in our own unique union with the Sacred One.
The circle and circumference of God’s being is vast, in fact, it is infinite; the centre of God’s circle is where God desires each one of us to be—it is our spiritual home.
We do not have to be all the same. God does not require us, nor even want us, to be the same as one another. God delights in diverse responses and relationships with his creatures. As no two woodpeckers have exactly the same red markings on the back of their heads, and no two snowflakes have exactly the same pattern as any other snowflake, so it is with spiritual/human beings—no two have exactly the same makeup or the same relationship with God. Each one of us is created by God to be unique and therefore each one’s bond with the Sacred One is delightfully different and special from any other.
Perhaps even God would get bored with his creation if we were carbon copies of one another.
© Judith Lawrence
First published in Meditations on www.judithlawrence.ca

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Birth of God within Us


If I understand what Meister Eckhart says, the birth of God within us, within our souls, needs our passivity. No amount of our doing, asking, or pleading for God’s birth within us makes any difference; only our total passivity—being quiet in our inner selves—allows God to be born within us.

The Holy Spirit needs us to be quiet and waiting, in order for the divine being to come and reside within our souls. It is through our daily waiting in stillness, quiet, and silence that the divine will be born in us. It is not of our doing that God comes to us, but of our waiting. Even when we withdraw from the world and wait for God, it is still God’s doing whereby God is born in us.

God searches us out and knows us. God comes to us, and we allow God’s coming by our passivity. The Holy Spirit moves the waters of our passivity so that God is born within our souls. In our silent waiting God comes to us.

The divine seed is born within the soul and matures in holiness through the breath of the Holy Spirit. The daily silence is important and should not be rushed or hastened but peaceful and calm. In order to hear the voice of God we must be still, quiet, peaceful, and attentive.

In the morning stillness God’s presence is to be found. Too much hustle and bustle, too many things to do, or too many people around, gives rise to the divine life not being consummated within us. God desires to be with us. Time must be put aside for quiet where God can come and be born in us.

Lord, I desire to know your sweet presence within my soul; I am yours. Unite yourself with me; be born in me that I can be holy as you are holy.

©Judith Lawrence
First Published as Meditation for February 2011 www.judithlawrence.ca

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Striving to Know God


Bernard McGinn in The Mystical Thought of Meister Eckhart, says:
 “Striving to know God is a constant pursuit of what is by definition unattainable. ‘This not knowing draws [the soul] into amazement and keeps her on the hunt, for she clearly recognizes that he is, but she does not know what or how he is. . . . Therefore, the unknown-knowing keeps the soul constant and still on the hunt.’ ”

I would have thought that one would become discouraged by a constant pursuit of an unattainable God; a pursuit of God to know him who is unknowable, I would think, would be very discouraging and would cause one to give up on the hunt, not continue to search as Meister Eckhart suggests.

God gives us, I believe, little enticements to continue the hunt. As in the children’s game of hide and seek, the person who is hiding may give little clues as to his whereabouts, I believe God gives us little hints of where the Sacred One may be found.

It is as important for the one who is hiding to be found, as it is for the one who is seeking to find the hidden one. God hides himself to have us seek for the divine in greater depth. God gives us clues of where to find him by little encouragements such as showing God’s love for us, or God’s light shining in our dark moments, or God’s answer to prayer.

“Seek and you will find,” Christ says, “Knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

Keep on searching then for God surely wants to be found so that we can discover God’s beauty and holiness within and around us.

© Judith Lawrence
This was first published in meditations on www.judithlawrence.ca

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Holy Tryst


Evelyn Underhill says, in her book, Mysticism, The true end of [mystical prayer], like the true end of that mystical life within which it flowers, is the supreme meeting between Lover and Beloved, between God and the soul.…It means, during the hours of introversion, a retreat from and refusal of the Many, in order that the mind may be able to apprehend the One. P. 207/208
It takes much practice and patience in prayer before one experiences a few moments of union with the Sacred One. The practice and patience of this quiet waiting upon God is the “mystical life within which it flowers”.
It is a meeting with God in quiet, restful silence, day after day, in expectant waiting upon God with loving anticipation of a tryst with the Holy One.
Faithfully, the contemplative must come each day to be with God, holding herself still within her centre where God would dwell within her soul.
Joyfully she must prepare herself to be ready to receive the Sacred One who desires to live within her soul eternally, bringing her to spiritual maturity and holiness.
[The soul’s] method is the method of the mystic life, transcendence: a gradual elimination of sensible image, and bit by bit approximation of the contemplative self to reality, gradually producing within it those conditions in which union can take place. (Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism. Page 208)
© Judith Lawrence
This was first published in meditations on www.judithlawrence.ca

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Requesting God’s Grace


Some mystics wait just for the pure experience of grace and the divine. Grace is the word we give to the power of God that we recognize in our lives. We long to make this power so real that we can hold it in our hands, or feel it like heat running through our bodies. We want to know that this divine substance is real and that it protects us and heals us and flows down from heaven when we request it. Caroline Myss, Entering the Castle Page 17
We have the ability to recognize that God gives us his grace—his power to heal us in body and spirit. Personally, I have never felt God’s grace in a tangible way, such as a sensation of holding his power in my hands or feeling the heat of God’s grace running through my body, though some do have this ability, I believe.
However, I do believe that God’s grace is real and can heal us from our bodily ailments and our spiritual ills and does so if it is the right thing for us in a particular moment of time.
I believe this and know this because I have experienced God’s healing grace in my life. We do not have to be mystics in order to know and believe in God’s grace and the power of his healing love; but the more we spend time in God’s presence the more we will be aware of God’s grace in our lives.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Union with God is a Union of Hearts


Plotinus the ecstatic is sure …that the union with God is a union of hearts: that ‘by love He may be gotten and holden, but by thought never.’ He, no less than the medieval contemplatives, is convinced …that the Vision is only for the desirous; for him who has ‘that loving passion’ which ‘causes the lover to rest in the object of his love.’ Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism P. 252
A union with God can be accomplished only through a joining of hearts—the heart of the mystic with the heart of God. Thus God and the mystic may be joined together through love of one another but will not find it possible to be joined through thought of one another alone.
A Vision of God may be ascertained only by that one who is desirous of the vision of God. The contemplative or mystic must have a loving passion for God and desire to rest in God, the very object of his love.
c Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Be Open to Receive God’s Plan for You

I believe that the divine is everywhere and exists within even the most intimate details of our lives. All that we experience today has its purpose in tomorrow’s events; sometimes the purpose is not evident for years of tomorrows. Yet, God prepares you for your spiritual journey, no matter how complicated, painful, or demanding it might become. For this reason, patience, trust, and faith must become constants for you. You cannot, and indeed you must not, even attempt to believe you know what is best for you. The divine will reveal its plan for you; you have to be open to receive it. Caroline Myss, Entering the Castle, P.3
If God prepares us in today’s happenings for what is to come in the future this must mean that God knows what is going to happen to us—whether what is to come into our lives is good or bad, God knows it and prepares us and trains us for what is to happen.
God prepares us as we go through our lives for whatever is to come upon us—illness or health, complicated or simple, demanding or easy. You may think that being healthy is better than being sick but if you are the healthy one you will probably have the burden of being the caregiver for others in the family. You may think that you would be happier having the simple or easy tasks to perform in life but if this is your lot you may desire to have more recognition that would come your way if you had the more complicated or demanding tasks or your spouse or your friend.
Whatever side of life you are presented with, you have to have the patience, trust, and faith in God that what is best for you is what you will be given. As you go along your spiritual journey you need to be open to receive God’s plan and trust that what happens to you is the best gift for your spiritual growth, given to you in God’s love.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Learning to Pray and Wait


Mystics are what the word implies—people called to know the divine through its mysteries. Many people today want the mysteries and challenges in their lives solved and resolved quickly, but mystics know that we all have a deeper task: to accept that some challenges come into our lives in defiance of human reason, logic, order, justice, fairness, and even common sense. They know that underlying these challenges is a divine order and sense that may be revealed in time. …you invite the sacred into your life; you learn to pray and wait, to ready yourself for direction. Mystics know that their instructions will come along with the tasks God sets for them. Caroline Myss, Entering the Castle Pages 16/17
In this day and age we are used to having things instantly. Almost as soon as we think about a meal we can pop something in the microwave and eat within a very few minutes. People who live in an urban area can go to a store close by and pick up something they forgot to get when they went grocery shopping. One can think of what one wants and it almost magically appears.
This may be less so for those that live in a rural area. When you live outside of town you can’t get Pizza or Chinese Food delivered, you have to go in to town and pick it up yourself. It is not as easy to borrow a book from the public library—you can’t just walk over—you have to get in the car and drive in to town. There isn’t even any public transportation where I live.
So those who live in rural areas may be closer to knowing how to wait for something, not expecting things to come instantly to hand or mouth. It may be easier, therefore, for rural people to learn to pray and wait.
When we receive challenges in our lives we may not immediately recognize them as coming from God. But if we are in the habit of praying to God as a regular discipline we are more likely to be aware that difficulties, mysteries, or challenges may well be sent to us from God.
Does that mean that we will understand what God expects of us right away? Not necessarily. You learn to pray and wait, to ready yourself for direction. Mystics know that their instructions will come along with the tasks God sets for them.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Contemplation is Judged by its Fruits


True contemplation, as the mystics are constantly assuring us, must always be judged by its fruits. If it be genuine, work has been done during the period of apparent passivity. The deeper self has escaped, has risen to freedom, and returns other than it was before. Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism P. 241
When one looks on God in contemplation, it is not just for the satisfaction of the one who contemplates. The contemplative looks with loving and adoring eyes upon the God of love, he desires to be totally at one with God, and seeks to be more like God.
Seeking to be more like God, the roots of the spiritual plant are in the soil of the essence of God. Thus the plant gets its divine spiritual nourishment, causing the spiritual fruit to grow and mature, and the contemplative to return from his time in the presence of God other than what he was before.
I have tried to express this in the following poem Cocoon.

I wind silk around my being,
Silk spun from my own inner self,
I bind myself in darkness,
To be transformed into a new being
Of light and freedom.
I am becoming a winged creature,
A being capable of spiritual flight
Into the rarer atmosphere,
Nearer to the Creator of life.
I learn to temper the once
Destructive powers of my will,
Binding them with silken bonds
In the dark, silent cocoon.
In the quiet darkness
My being is transformed;
In the silken, gold-glittered,
Chrysalis, hidden and
Protected ’neath my Creator’s hand.
Slow is the secret process within;
So much to be done; change
Cannot be rushed, if beauty
Is to be the new being’s end result—
If my transformed being,
My freed, winged being,
Is to be revealed, soaring
In rarefied air
To the glory of God.
© Judith Lawrence  September 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Divine Embrace

‘Our work is the love of God,’ says Ruysbroeck. ‘Our satisfaction lies in submission to the Divine Embrace.’ This utter and abrupt submission to the Divine Embrace is the essence of that form of contemplation which is called the Orison of Union. ‘Surrender’ is its secret: a personal surrender, not only of finite to Infinite, but of bride to Bridegroom, heart to Heart. Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism, P. 240
We sometimes consider that submission and surrender of ourselves to someone or something has rather a negative concept. We may feel that to submit or surrender ourselves to God or another human being is to give up our own will for that of another.
However, in the above quotation, I feel that submission to the Divine embrace denotes, not a surrender like that which follows a struggle, but rather a more mutual, peaceful surrender of union One with another. It is not the submission of my will to God’s stronger will but the mutual surrender of love to Love, desire to Desire, heart to Heart.
The contemplative seeks God and is embraced, encircled, and enfolded in God’s love; is united with God in the Divine Embrace; surrenders her whole being and becomes one with the essence of God in joyful bliss.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Contemplatives who Live in Realms of Day


Night Sky
God appears, and God is Light
To those poor souls who dwell in night:
But doth a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day. William Blake quoted by Evelyn Underhill in Mysticism P. 240
[T]hose contemplatives whose temperament inclines them to “dwell in realms of day”…apprehend the personal and passionate aspect of the Infinite Life, and the love, at once intimate and expansive, all-demanding and all-renouncing, which plays like lightning between it and the desirous soul. Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism P. 240
As William Blake intimates, in the lines quoted above, not all contemplatives see God in the same way; and as we have noted in Evelyn Underhill’s writing in previous blogs on this site, it much depends on the individual’s temperament as to how God is perceived in times of contemplation.
Field of Sunflowers
 I would go even further than this and say that it is not only the individual’s overall temperament but also his underlying situation, need, and mood on any particular day in which he might be practicing contemplation. This, I believe, is not only because of a contemplative’s circumstance at that time, but also because of God’s realization of that contemplative’s needs and desires at any given time.
Walking in Wind
We each have a unique relationship with God and that unique relationship may even change from moment to moment according to our present needs. God is so amazing that, knowing our need and condition at any given time, the Sacred One will change the way in which God’s revelation is given to us according to whether we currently dwell in realms of night or day.
God is love and desires to fulfil our every necessity with abundant life.
© Judith Lawrence

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Contemplative without a Cloister Blog Awarded the Liebster Award

My Blog: Contemplative without a Cloister has been awarded the Liebster Award by Jan Cox. Thank you so much for that honour Jan.  Please find Jan's blog, Under the Cover of Prayer Here




The Criteria: The Liebster Blog Award is meant to showcase bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers. This is all done in the spirit of pay-it-forward.

The Rules: You must mention and link to the person who awarded you the Liebster and mention 3 - 5 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers you think worthy of the Liebster.

I chose three other blogs to pass the award to, one of which had already been nominated, but we all agreed that it wouldn't be impossible to receive the award from two people.

Violet Nesdoly
Violet blogs at Other Food. This blog contains daily devotionals for adults. Violet is the person whose blog was nominated twice and well-deserving she is to receive this double honour.

Rose McCormick
Rose's blog, Listening to my Hair Grow came from a search to regain quietness in her life. Rose says, "I’m always striving to hear my hair growing". Readers will find a rich assortment of inspiring posts to enrich their lives here.


Peter Black
Peter's blog, Writing to Raise the Gaze  
is written in hopes that the reader's "focus be elevated to see, amidst the negative happenings taking place in the world around you, shafts of light that assure you there is much good to be found, and that it reflects the glory of God Himself - our Creator Redeemer, and Friend."
.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No Fear in Love


The group of contemplatives who are governed by that “Love which casteth out fear”: by a predominating sense of the nearness, intimacy, and sweetness [of God] …These contemplatives tell us of their attainment of That which Is, as the closest and most joyous of all communions; a coming of the Bridegroom; a rapturous immersion in the Uncreated Light. Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism P.231
I try to reach Thee but, except my longing and my yearning, there is nothing there. Yet, I know that I am resting in Thy love. Purple sparks explode like fire balls of light. My right hand rises up, cupped to receive Thee. Pure Gift Thou art; vessel I am, to receive Thy love. Unpublished Journals of Judith Lawrence, September, 2011 
Nearness, intimacy, and sweetness of God, Evelyn Underhill tells us, is what mystics who experience the contemplations of Immanence receive; whereas mystics who experience the contemplations of Transcendence, perceive themselves as unworthy to receive the ineffable greatness of the Absolute Godhead in which they desire to lose themselves.
The way in which an individual contemplates God has much to do with his personality and, perhaps, the way of his religious upbringing. One person may be drawn to the love of God which casts out all fear; another may be drawn to the Absolute Godhead of whose Being he feels totally unworthy to approach and yet in whom he desires to be present.
The important thing is that one does approach God in whatever way one is drawn to do so.
© Judith Lawrence

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Learning to Pray and Wait


Mystics are what the word implies—people called to know the divine through its mysteries. Many people today want the mysteries and challenges in their lives solved and resolved quickly, but mystics know that we all have a deeper task: to accept that some challenges come into our lives in defiance of human reason, logic, order, justice, fairness, and even common sense. They know that underlying these challenges is a divine order and sense that may be revealed in time. …you invite the sacred into your life; you learn to pray and wait, to ready yourself for direction. Mystics know that their instructions will come along with the tasks God sets for them. Caroline Myss, Entering the Castle Pages 16/17
In this day and age we are used to having things instantly. Almost as soon as we think about a meal we can pop something in the microwave and eat within a very few minutes. People who live in an urban area can go to a store close by and pick up something they forgot to get when they went grocery shopping. One can think of what one wants and it almost magically appears.
This may be less so for those that live in a rural area. When you live outside of town you can’t get Pizza or Chinese Food delivered, you have to go in to town and pick it up yourself. It is not as easy to borrow a book from the public library—you can’t just walk over—you have to get in the car and drive in to town. There isn’t even any public transportation where I live.
So those who live in rural areas may be closer to knowing how to wait for something, not expecting things to come instantly to hand or mouth. It may be easier, therefore, for rural people to learn to pray and wait.
When we receive challenges in our lives we may not immediately recognize them as coming from God. But if we are in the habit of praying to God as a regular discipline we are more likely to be aware that difficulties, mysteries, or challenges may well be sent to us from God.
Does that mean that we will understand what God expects of us right away? Not necessarily. You learn to pray and wait, to ready yourself for direction. Mystics know that their instructions will come along with the tasks God sets for them.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Character of the Soul


The spiritual journey is the journey of the soul. At its core, the character of the soul is holiness. As we go along our spiritual path, our whole being is reaching towards holiness. It is as if at the core of our souls a spiritual seed dwells—a seed of holiness—and, as it grows, it develops into a sacred plant, flower, and fruit of holiness. Judith Lawrence, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey, Page 17/18
Foxgloves and Lupines, 2011
When we plant seeds in a flower garden they come up in due time, they give us flowers of various kinds according to the type of seed we planted; later they produce seeds, which either produce flowers where they fell in the following year or which we can harvest and plant ourselves next spring where we desire that they will grow.
Animals and birds also harvest these seeds, either for their immediate sustenance or for storage for their upcoming winter nourishment.
Over a person’s lifetime, a soul doesn’t produce one flower only but, out of the original seed of holiness with which it was born and its resultant first bloom, many more seeds are formed and grow into a beautiful garden of holiness. From the seeds of lessons learned, difficulties and joys experienced, and gifts given as we go along our spiritual journey, an abundance of fruits of the spirit are formed and mature along our pathway to eternal life.
So it is the character of our soul grows strong and evolves into the next stage of becoming a spiritual being.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Unique Spiritual Growth


Spiritual growth is unique to each one of us and cannot be compared to or measured alongside another’s growth. God is not looking for conformity but a special, one-of-a-kind relationship with each individual. Judith Lawrence Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey, P. 17
Each one of us is an individual; physically, mentally, and spirituality we are each different from one another. Even though we may compete with one another in our physical and mental fields, in our spiritual side each one of us is precious in God’s sight and should own our own God-given uniqueness and that of others; our spiritual growth is individual and unique and there can be no competition between us, no vying for God’s attention over another’s relationship with God; each one of us is as important to God as is the next person.
God desires a bond with each human being on the earth; God desires a relationship with each one of us; God loves us each one. God created us and formed us in our mother’s womb and desires that we would search after God and our special relationship with the Sacred One, not trying to conform to others or vie with others to appear better in God’s eyes than the next spiritual being.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Planting and Reaping a Spiritual Harvest


Jesus said, “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike” (John 4:35-36)!
The planting and the harvesting cannot be separated from one another; the journeying and the arrival at the journey’s end are one and the same. The spiritual planting time and harvesting time have one destiny—people being brought to eternal life, the purpose of the pilgrimage process is our continued maturity in the spirit and our union with God. P. 16 Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey, Judith Lawrence.  
When the farmer plants his seeds in the spring of the year he hopes for the right conditions for favourable growth leading to a bumper harvest in the fall. When we are born here on earth we are God’s planting and God knows and sees already, at the time of our birth, the prospects of a good harvest.
Those who act as the farmers of these God-planted seeds will rejoice with those who tend our needs at the time of spiritual harvest. Parents, teachers, religious ministers who planted spiritual seeds within us at God’s direction will rejoice with those who assisted in our spiritual growth throughout our lives and those who bring us into eternal life at the time of spiritual harvest.
God who is the planter of the seed and the harvester of the crop will rejoice most of all, as we are brought to eternal life.
© Judith Lawrence Sept. 2011  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Goal of Soul Pilgrimage



The goal of a soul pilgrimage is to grow in spiritual maturity and become totally at one with God. In order to arrive at that goal we have to walk the daily pilgrimage path. We walk step by step, hour by hour, day by day, taking care to learn our spiritual lessons as they are presented to us along the way. Judith Lawrence. Highway ofHoliness: Soul Journey P. 15

Soul pilgrimage is not something to be rushed. The time allowed for this journey is God’s time. It is a slow, steady process that allows for us to learn the lessons presented to us by God in small steps. We learn the lessons by degrees, discovering different nuances as we are presented with the same lessons many times over.
When we are young we learn simple lessons with simple messages. As we journey along our spiritual path we meet up with the same lessons many times over and discover more depth and wisdom in the teachings each time we are confronted with the repeated messages.
We need never get tired of receiving the same lessons or get frustrated by going through the same curriculum. Each time we learn the same lessons we come closer to our spiritual maturity discovering the teaching’s many different facets.
© Judith Lawrence  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seeing God with the Eye of the Soul


Let all that I am wait quietly before God. Ps 62:5a
In bringing my whole being—all that I am—before God and waiting quietly, I can begin to see beyond surface seeing: I can begin to see with the eye of the soul. In contemplation, the eye of the soul sees beyond the surface; it sees with depth and height; in breadth and length; out to the horizon and beyond where prayer is not trapped in a box of our conformity. The eye of the soul sees with unpredictability; it sees God untamed by human images; it sees God in out of the ordinary reflections. The eye of the soul sees things in the wild, in the wilderness, and beyond the ordinary, where wild creatures, blossoms, and ideas are seen through God’s amazing freedom, in all the Creator’s beauty and generosity. P.12 Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey, by Judith Lawrence
Hold a small pebble, a small flower, or a small leaf in your hands. Concentrate the eye of your soul on this small creation by God. Concentrate all that you are on this small creation and see God in all God’s beauty, love, generosity, and glorious humility. Just wait quietly and see God’s humble power in this glorious one-of-a-kind creation. Know that God made you with this same one-of-a-kind creativity and give thanks for the sacredness with which you are blessed. 
c Judith Lawrence 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Drawn to God

To say that God is Infinite is to say that He may be apprehended and described in an infinity of ways. The Circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere, may be approached from every angle with a certainty of being found.
So says, Evelyn Underhill in her book, Mysticism, P. 163
Draw me, we will run after thee. Song of Solomon 1:4a (King James’ Version)
God draws us to himself, even when we are only just beginning on the path of mystical prayer. God desires us to know him and, because each one of us is different, we can “run after God” in our own unique way and unite with God in our own unique union with the Sacred One.
The circle and circumference of God’s being is vast, in fact, it is infinite; the centre of God’s circle is where God desires each one of us to be—it is our spiritual home.
We do not have to be all the same. God does not require us, nor even want us, to be the same as one another. God delights in diverse responses and relationships with his creatures. As no two woodpeckers have exactly the same red markings on the back of their heads, and no two snowflakes have exactly the same pattern as any other snowflake, so it is with spiritual/human beings—no two have exactly the same makeup or the same relationship with God. Each one of us is created by God to be unique and therefore each one’s bond with the Sacred One is delightfully different and special from any other.
Perhaps even God would get bored with his creation if we were carbon copies of one another.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Glimpsing God


In your time of meditation and quiet with the Sacred One, you glimpse God and receive God’s love and light. As a relationship with your special partner grows by being with that special person, talking to that special person, spending time quietly with that one special one, so does your relationship with God grow by making time to be with the Lord. In so doing, you grow in the Spirit; your soul expands and has more room for God’s love. Judith Lawrence, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey Page 6

Have you taken that step yet, that step to being with God each day if only for a very short time?
Why not give it a try this week. Come to God early in the morning. Be silent in God’s presence. Look to God and be amazed. Even five minutes of complete silence with God in the morning quiet will bring you a peace that you didn’t think possible.
I pray that your time with God will grow and be blessed; your heart and soul expand in God’s grace.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In the Morning Silence


It is in the silence that you come to be aware of God’s purpose in everything you experience; it is in the morning silence that you come to grow in spiritual maturity and in gratitude for God’s love and the Lord’s indwelling; and it is in the morning silence that you respond in love to God, grow in love to God, and begin to experience a mutual love between God and your soul. Judith Lawrence, Highway ofHoliness: Soul Journey Page 5.

What a precious gift is the morning silence. This time of morning stillness is not always easy to come by. Some can only find it by searching diligently for it. It may be that some will only find a morning time of quiet by altering their schedule—by getting up before the activity of the whole household begins.
I live in a rural area and early mornings are quiet and peaceful with very little traffic noise and only the sweet sound of birds to enhance the silence with their special morning praise songs.
However, even in urban areas there is a lull of street sounds in the time before dawn. I discovered this when I worked on night duty as a registered nurse—around four in the morning, the cars would stop their continuous roar, the buses would have finished their night runs and not yet begun their morning schedule.
This would be the moment that time stood still, and quiet peace hung in the air, before the rush and tumble of activity revved up again.
If you can bring yourself to rise from the warmth and comfort of your bed this early in the morning, you will discover the morning silence wherein you will find God and begin to experience the mutual love between God and your soul.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Modern Day Spiritual Pilgrim

We are all pilgrims on life’s road. What is the modern day pilgrim seeking? What are you seeking? What is God seeking from us? God desires that we come to know the Lord’s love for us and that we understand that God’s love is within us; we are to love God and ourselves, and to share God’s love with others. Judith Lawrence, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey Page 2

Many modern day pilgrims, I think, are lacking peace and quiet in their lives. Therefore, I think that this is what we are seeking. In today’s world, even though we have so many things that can assist us in our daily lives—washing machines, microwaves, technologies that assist us in easing our burden—yet there seems to be less peace within.

Perhaps it is because of all the machines and toys that we possess that we find ourselves spending more time doing and less time looking and being quiet. We rush from one thing to another in order to do them all before the day passes—our e-mails, our Facebook page, our apps, and our TV programs to name a few.

We have no time to pause and see nature, to stop and think of God, to just be in God’s presence and love. This rushing about makes for an internal restlessness and turbulence; we can no longer be at peace or be with God.

We may want all these things but that is not what we need. What we need is to know God’s love and peace, we need to be quiet and at rest. Even if we spend an hour each day being quiet with God, with nature, with a domestic animal we will begin to find an inner peace and tranquility; we will, in fact, find God.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Journeying to a Sacred Place

A pilgrim is one who journeys to a sacred place of a future life. Those of us who are set on this journeying process are joyful. Judith Lawrence, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey, Page 2

Do you find yourself joyful as you walk your daily pilgrimage? If you are aware that you are a pilgrim journeying to a sacred place or to a future life, you should find yourself in a joyful state. No matter if your life is difficult, if you know that you are journeying toward spiritual maturity you will be joyful.
We are walking toward a future life, one that is eternal—a life totally lived with God. This is a sacred place, a holy place, a place where God is ever at the centre of our lives. There are so many things we have to do that it is easy to neglect the time apart from the world, the time to be wholly with God, not just partly but totally.
The time to go into the special place, to close the door, shut out the world, the telephone, the Blackberry, the internet—we must unplug, for a time, all the things that would pull us away from the one thing that is necessary, the chosen part of the Spirit.
We like to be seen to be busy. This makes us look good in other people’s eyes. They see that we are busy, filling our moments with good works and good deeds. To be seen sitting quietly makes us look bad in other’s eyes; we look lazy, we have nothing tangible to show for our quiet work, and no way to explain that our quiet time with God is a spiritual endeavour, a growth in relationship with our Creator, a time of healing of the world.
The peace that grows in these times apart with God, not only increases the peace within us but the peace around us, so that others may receive God’s healing peace.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Walking our Spiritual Journey


 
It is the soul that walks our spiritual journey; it is the soul that is holy from the time before we were born, it is the soul that remains our core of holiness throughout our life on earth; it is the soul that re-enters heaven in holiness, having matured and expanded through our spiritual pilgrimage. Judith Lawrence, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey, Pg. xv

The soul is our very being, the being that is our core essence before, during, and after our life on earth. The soul, however, is not loud and obtrusive; and, at first, when we are born, we are hardly aware of its presence even though it is the entity of our being.
We are most aware of our physical body with which we identify ourselves while here on earth along with our mental acuity and ego. These are the parts of our being that we are most aware of and, it may be some time before we recognize our soul and give it its true place and value within.
When we do recognize the soul as our centre then we begin to hear and listen to its voice; we begin to follow the soul’s leading and grow in sanctity; we begin to become more fully who we are meant to be—holy as God is holy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crossing the Threshold of Christ

When we go across the threshold and out through the gate, which is Christ, we proceed along our path to holiness, growing in spiritual maturity until we reach the highest sanctity we can achieve on earth. Whether we are on a spiritual back road, foot path, or paved highway, if we are searching for a closer relationship with God, we are on the Highway of Holiness. Judith Lawrence, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey, Pg. xiv

I have said before, in previous blogs and in my latest book, that we were born in holiness—when we are born we are already holy. That fact doesn’t preclude us from continuing to grow in holiness.
As we go along our daily journey towards spiritual maturity, we go across the threshold of the gate, which is Christ. We go out through the door of Christ each day, walk our spiritual journey as we go along our road of daily work and play, and at the end of the day, come back across the threshold of Christ’s door and, in Christ, examine how our day went.
We thank God for being with us, guiding and guarding us; we recall the things and events for which we are grateful; we remember our transgressions and ask for forgiveness from God; we ask for protection through the coming night and prepare to sleep in Christ’s loving arms and continue on the Highway of Holiness once more when we wake.
Jesus said, Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. John 10:9 (New Living Translation.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pilgrimage of the Soul


A spiritual pilgrimage is ongoing. It is the pilgrimage of the soul and we may not be aware that it is happening at first. From time to time we may get some holy intuition of this pilgrimage and, as we mature, we become more in tune with the soul’s journey. We begin the spiritual pilgrimage in holiness, we walk the highway of holiness, and the goal is holiness. Judith Lawrence,  Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey, Pg. xiv
The moment we are born we immediately and inevitably begin the journey of life. This journey includes our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual path.
In order to grow physically we need bodily nourishment; to grow intellectually we need to be given food for thought; to grow emotionally we need guidance from our parents, teachers, and caregivers in how to respond to circumstances we meet in life.
To grow spiritually there is no set way for each one of us to follow other than the daily necessity to draw ourselves apart for a time of  prayer, reading of the scriptures and books of spiritual content. Spiritual growth follows a unique path for each of us. Each of us is given an inner guide, our soul, who quietly calls us to follow our special path to the Sacred One.
Perhaps those who are born into a religious household become aware of our spiritual pilgrimage earlier in life than those who are not given any religious upbringing, but each of us will be led along our own unique spiritual journey or path by our soul. Before each of us was born on earth, our soul was already in existence. The soul takes on a physical body for the duration of our time here on earth dispensing with it at the end of our physical existence. Our soul remains at the core of our being and is our internal guide, leading us toward spiritual maturity during our time on earth, and showing us our own special relationship with the Sacred One.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Spiritual Pilgrimage


A spiritual pilgrimage begins with one step. The pilgrimage we are on is one of holiness. The first step is taken in love and faith. The first step we make requires that we step across the threshold from the place where we are now and into the unknown. Judith Lawrence, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey, Pg. xiii
Stepping across the threshold and beginning a pilgrimage from our old life into the new and unknown can be a little scary. We might want to be on this holy path, we might desire to live a life of holiness, but something may be holding us back.
What is it we are afraid of? Perhaps we are afraid to take that first step towards spiritual maturity because we are afraid that we won’t be able to finish what we started.
The beauty and wonder of life in this world is that every morning we get a new start. We are not expected to complete our spiritual pilgrimage in one day but to keep walking the path, “to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” [Heb 12:2] and to steadfastly continue on the journey with Christ by our side. We are at one with Christ; Christ lives in us and we live In Christ; there is no separation from Christ.
This is the journey: the journey has its beginning in God; the journey is God; the end of the journey is God. There is no separation from the Sacred One nor do we want to be separated from the Lord. Each step we take on the Highway of Holiness is a step taken with Christ at our side and we have nothing to fear as long as we keep our eyes on the Lord.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Art of Contemplation


The art of contemplation often begins with the practice of meditation such as thinking about some aspect of the life of Christ, or a verse of scripture read in the morning readings.

“The self, concentrated upon the image or idea, dwelling upon it more than thinking about it—as one may gaze upon a picture that one loves—falls gradually and insensibly into the condition of reverie . . . and becomes gathered together.” Mysticism, Evelyn Underhill, Page 213.

You might find a prayer journal helpful, where you can write each day, noting a special verse of scripture that you read that morning, or a paragraph from your spiritual reading book that grabs your attention. Then when you come to your time of contemplation you can take these words and dwell on them in your heart and spirit, listening to what your soul tells you about them, until such time as you become lost in God’s silent love.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Adventures of the Spiritual Life


“Recollection,” says Evelyn Underhill, “is the traditional term by which mystical writers define the voluntary concentration, a first collecting or gathering in of the attention of the self to its most hidden cell. That self is as yet unacquainted with the strange plane of silence which so soon becomes familiar to those who attempt even the lowest activities of the contemplative life, where the self is released from [constant thought], and the noises of the world are never heard, and the great adventures of the spirit take place.” Mysticism Page 212.

We have to gather ourselves in to the centre of our being in order to prepare ourselves for the contemplative life. This is where we find the silent place where God dwells in us. Silence is not a familiar place for many of us but as we seek to be with God silence becomes a sought after and familiar venue.

First we must turn off the outward noises that may surround us—the radio, the T.V., the telephone, the cell phone—we get so used to these being a part of our life that we may be afraid we might miss something if we turn these things off. But, when our prayer time is finished and we turn these sound makers back on we will soon catch up on any missed communications.

During our tryst with God, even our thoughts need to be quieted. We may not be aware of how much our brain chatters on in continuous thought as we go about our tasks, but when we come to be with God in contemplation we become very aware of how our thoughts get in the way of just being with God.

Don’t fret about it; just keep returning to the silence where you desire to be with God and God desires to be with you. It will happen; it takes preparation, time, and practice.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Discovering the Soul


“We discover the soul,” says Richard Rohr. “We don’t go there to make ourselves holy; we wake our souls up. We’re already united with God; the problem is, we don’t believe it. . . We continually try to be good people. In reality we are not always good, but we are holy . . . we’re holy because we came forth from God.” Simplicity Page 93.

We were born in holiness; we were already holy in God when we came to earth. That’s who we were before we were born—we were holy—and that’s who we were when we were born; before we did anything good or bad, we were holy. And that’s who we still are; we are holy. This is what really is.

“The best definition I know for contemplation,” Richard Rohr tells us, “is as follows: Contemplation is a long loving look at what really is.” Simplicity Page 92.

The practise of the art of contemplation for the Christian begins with small steps. It requires first of all a discipline of daily attendance at a time of prayer. We have to discover a routine through which we can find God and hear God’s voice. Through Bible reading, spiritual reading, and prayer, we come to know God’s loving purpose for us and begin to remember the holiness with which we were born, who we were before we came into the world, and who we really are now. 

Who we really are now is “holy”. Don’t be afraid to claim this holiness that is God’s gift to each one of us.

© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Journey of the Soul

The journey of the soul begins with the daily attendance at private prayer. This is where the soul fills its pouch for the day’s travel and tops itself up for life’s pilgrimage. This is where the soul receives its spiritual food and drink for its daily strength and nourishment.

As in any physical pilgrimage one couldn’t get very far without rest, water, and food, so it is in the spiritual pilgrimage—one needs time to rest in God, and nourishment in the form of Bible reading and prayer.

It is best to make a regular time and place, if that is possible, for your prayer time with God. After a while, this routine time and place becomes a special part of your tryst with God, a time and place that you don’t want to miss, a time and place to which you look forward, and a time and place that builds a relationship between you and the Sacred One.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Being a Mystic in an Everyday Life

Caroline Myss says, "We don't want to renounce family or friends. In short, we want to be mystics without monasteries." (Entering the Castle P. 14)

We want to pray; we want to be contemplatives; we want to be united with God, each in our own unique way, while still living in the world.

"They (contemplatives) are here," says Eckhart Tolle, "to generate consciousness through the activities of daily life, through their interactions with others as well as through 'just being'. . . . Their task is to bring spacious stillness into the world by being absolutely present in whatever they do. There is consciousness and therefore quality in what they do, even the simplest task. Their purpose is to do everything in a sacred manner." (A New Earth P. 307)

What I write here in this blog is for the purpose of sharing with readers a way of living and praying the contemplative Christian life without it being necessary to enter a convent or leave your everyday life.

I will also expand on what I have written in my newest spiritual book, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey.