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