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How to die to see God

Mystical Prayer in the Holy Spirit

St. Bonaventure - Doctor of the Church

This reading on mystical (contemplative) prayer, taken from St. Bonaventure's Journey of the Mind to God (Cap. 7,1 2.4.6: Opera Omnia, 5, 312-313), is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast (liturgical memorial) of St. Bonaventure on July 15.

Christ is both the way and the door. Christ is the staircase and the vehicle, like the throne of mercy over the Ark of the Covenant, and the mystery hidden from the ages. A man should turn his full attention to this throne of mercy, and should gaze at him hanging on the cross, full of faith, hope and charity, devoted, full of wonder and joy, marked by gratitude, and open to praise and jubilation. Then such a man will make with Christ a pasch, that is, a passing-over. Through the branches of the cross he will pass over the Red Sea, leaving Egypt and entering the desert. There he will taste the hidden manna, and rest with Christ in the sepulchre, as if he were dead to things outside. He will experience, as much as is possible for one who is still living, what was promised to the thief who hung beside Christ: Today you will be with me in paradise.

For this passover to be perfect, we must suspend all the operations of the mind and we must transform the peak of our affections, directing them to God alone. This is a sacred mystical experience. It cannot be comprehended by anyone unless he surrenders himself to it; nor can he surrender himself to it unless he longs for it; nor can he long for it unless the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent into the world, should come and inflame his innermost soul. Hence the Apostle says that this mystical wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit.

If you ask how such things can occur, seek the answer in God’s grace, not in doctrine; in the longing of the will, not in the understanding; in the sighs of prayer, not in research; seek the bridegroom not the teacher; God and not man; darkness not daylight; and look not to the light but rather to the raging fire that carries the soul to God with intense fervour and glowing love. The fir is God, and the furnace is in Jerusalem, fired by Christ in the ardour of his loving passion. Only he understood this who said: My soul chose hanging and my bones death. Anyone who cherishes this kind of death can see God, for it is certainly true that: No man can look upon me and live.

Let us die, then, and enter into the darkness, silencing our anxieties, our passions and all the fantasies of our imagination. Let us pass over with the crucified Christ from this world to the Father, so that, when the Father has shown himself to us, we can say with Philip: It is enough. We may hear with Paul: My grace is sufficient for you; and we can rejoice with David, saying: My flesh and my heart fail me, but God is the strength of my heart and my heritage for ever. Blessed be the Lord for ever, and let all the people say: Amen. Amen!

This is an interesting read, because in our times everything points to the opposite way of believers reaching to God's presence. Christians are trying to find God mostly by experiencing Him, and the cavalcades of worldly distractions might suggest that the same intensity of emotional engagement with "spiritual" things (think: cool, relevant Christian church) will overpower the former and bring the soothing presence of God (with His blessings = answers to my prayers). Not so, says St. Bonaventure, and many mystics. Cherishing death is the way.

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22 weeks. the movie in the making

Forerunner Films has been making a documentary about this story ( a woman having a baby in the bathroom of an abortion clinic, trying to save the baby after initially wanting to kill it). They started 3 days ago and they should be finished tomorrow night.

It started with a vision which a guy called Ángel Manuel Soto had carried for some time. Ángel is an intercessory missionary at IHOP-KC and a freelance videographer. He also attends The Call Institute (TCI) directed by Lou Engle.

He shared this story with theCall class. Lou Engle and others started to pray for the vision to become reality in the making. This vision became Angel's obsession (some people would use the more appropriate word CALLING). People prayed. In the natural it seemed impossible. No equipment, no money. People prayed. After one of the meetings one girl approached him and offered an amount which was like an injection of faith to look forward to this project.

Then the story goes wild. Through some miraculous intervention, He gets an invitation to chat with the director of Bella movie. People prayed. He flies to Hollywood, spends some time with Alejandro Monteverde, director of Bella. He promises some help. People are praying really seriously now.

That's how what was impossible a month ago, is happening right now. Cinematographer, a friend of Alejandro, flew in, and some of IHOP-KC's Media crew (including my American husband) have been engaging in everything. With the budget they have, they had only 4 days for shooting (this will be the cheapest made documentary ever). They are busy, exhausted, overtired (yesterday they were shooting till 3 am) and overworked. But it's all for His glory.

22 weeks on MySpace22 weeks on Facebook22 weeks Website

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cherubims are still

My favorite state to pray is that of stillness. It does not mean quietness, although a lot of times it requires a peaceful place to achieve this desirable positioning of heart. In these moments I just let me be me and let Him be Him. This free flow of spiritual conversing enables me to leave the world behind, unload my burdens, come to a place of safety and surrender. The place of surrender is costly, sometimes nerve racking and quite risky. But there is no other way, there is no going back, there is no quicker solution.

In Ezekiel's vision even the cherubims (cherubim - to be near) had moments of stillness. These throne-bearers would lower they wings and pause, for the voice of El Shaddai was about to be heard. Cherubims are the ones who were placed to guard the garden after the fatal choice of Adam which brought the curse to all humankind. Cherubims were the ones carved on the ark of the covenant, and that's where God promised to meet with his people (Ex 25, 22; Num 7:89). They were portrayed in the temple's curtains, carved on the temple's walls. The glory of the Lord was rising from above them(Ez 9:3)They were entrusted to overshadow the burning coals (Ez 10,2). They were present in the temple, while the cloud of God's glory would fill it.

The phrase "enthroned between the cherubim" is repeated several times in the OT, describing the position the Most High takes. The eternal service of those angels is to cry "Holy" day and night without end, to worship unceasingly, to be present everlastingly before the Creator and to live in His presence. What an existence.

In my yet unredeemed imagination, I am thinking about some weird sci-fi looking hybrids (lion, ox, eagle, human), flying, singing constantly, watching, moving swiftly like a lightning, making noise with their wings that sounded like a voice or waterfalls... quite ecstatic scenes and all of that is going on in the throne room. I'm taking to consideration that these were the visions Ezekiel had. Which parts are literal and which are not, I will not know.

The only time mentioned in Ezekiel's vision where cherubims are becoming still is, when Almighty Himself is ready to speak. They cease, they fold their wings, they pause in humble and holy attention. They quite down their holy songs, they calm down their swirl of worship and become still when the Voice of the Holy One is about to resound. That tells me one thing: the messengers and beholders of God's glory, created and positioned before El Shaddai, having worshipping The Creator from everlasting timeless times, by gloriously expressing their adoration proclaiming: Holy, holy, holy! - they become still whenever the Adored One is about to reveal the Word. The reception of This revealed Word requires stillness.

Ez 1:24-28

When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.

Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell face down, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

St. Augustine in his sublime comment on Ps., lxxix, 2, "Who sitteth upon the Cherubim":

Cherubim means the Seat of the Glory of God and is interpreted: Fullness of Knowledge. Though we realize that cherubim are exalted heavenly powers and virtues; yet if thou wilt, thou too shalt be one of the cherubim. For if cherubim means, Seat of God, remember what the Scripture says: The soul of the just is the Seat of Wisdom.

That comment is a striking one, for it implicates that through the ministry of the Holy Spirit within my heart, I can have an access to the same mystery as the Cherubim do: to behold the Most Holy One in the temple of my body, inside the inner parts of my spirit. The stillness is necessary on order to be attentive and to hear.

Stillness invigorates my spirit to receive with gratitude everything what comes from the All-and-better-than-I-Knowing God. It brings consolation.

by d ha rm e sh

I am praying trough these verses lately:

Exodus 14:14

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

I mostly worry, then panic.

1 Samuel 12:16 "Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!

I mostly try to do or say something before He does.

Psalm 37:7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

I mostly do that, although it costs me a lot of internal discussion going between my spirit and the flesh.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

I mostly expect that.

Psalm 131:2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

I mostly pray for this kind of trust.

Zechariah 2:13 Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling."

I mostly probably surely don't know what I would do if God would do that.

Psalm 4:4 Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah

I mostly meditate in my heart (while doing household stuff) and not upon my bed, but it still leads me to the same result.

God, help me.

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przestań mnie oswajać * stop taming me

picture by Bizarro

umorzyłeś przekleństwa you've retired my debts

przekopałes ugory you've cut through the fallow

zaciągnąłeś mnie na siłę pod sklepienie przymierza you've dragged me by force under the canopy of covenant

a ja nawet powieką ruszyć nie mogę and I am not able even to blink

przestań mnie oswajać stop taming me

nie jestem ze szkła i am not a piece of glass

poniewierka zaszczutego wondering of the afflicted one

też nie dla mnie is also not for me

przymierzę się i will try on

do przymierza the covenant

rozchodzę powołanie i will break through my calling

jak nowe buty na obcasach like new high heel shoes

przymierzę strój kontemplacji will try on the frame of contemplation

w końcu będę sobą finally myself i'll become

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