explore

- Lumen Fidei 36 -

 

amazed

- Evangelii Gaudium 11 -



E X P L O R E R

searcher of God


       

1. As the one who, approaching the borders of a new land, looks for the way to enter and carefully inspects all the borders, so does the one who is progressing along the mystic path, searching for new dimensions in the spirit (2N 16,8), using two exploratory methods, already tested by "others" (2N 16,8).

 

  • With "order and sweetness" (2S 17,2), he inspects the "path of contemplation so solitary and secret" (2N 25,2) in order to enter the new land from the "door" and, crossing the threshold, begins to explore the mystic path.
  • With "self-denial and purity" (2S 7,5), he takes vision of the "first precept" (2N 11,4) and in a continuous "conversation with God" (2S 17,5), starts the wonderful exploration of the mystic path.

 

By these words we have presented the two theological methods, or better, the two theological methods - twin methods - have presented themselves. They are a point of reference, two precise and clear coordinates, which freely show themselves - with grace - saying in a gentle and smiling way "be faithful and don't worry, we are the only ones who can lead you along the mystic path towards new unknown and unexplored dimensions in the spirit".

As soon as we looked at both methods with "perfect faith" (3S 42,6), immediately we began to love them.

 

in theological act


 

1.   St. John of the Cross, giving a theological value and meaning to the necessary path of "negation or spiritual purity, which are all one" (2S 7,5) contained in the famous “nada”, suggests to the humans where they can find again their dignity: in the “purity and love” (2S 5,8).

It is interesting to notice how, for the Saint Doctor, the negation is the same as the spiritual purity; so, the same spiritual exercise of negation reveals and shows a longing for spiritual purity, for the "state of innocence which was Adam's" (2N 24,2); and the human of St. John of the Cross enters the "nada", walks along the negation/purity "which the Lord commends to us"(2S 7,5), because he is led by God “for love of him alone, enkindled in love of Him" (1S 1,4).

 

Walking through this evangelical self-denial, the Christian who desires to rise in the Christian life, gradually destroys those carnal toxic attitudes which "oppose to God and offer Him greater resistance than does nothingness" (1S 6,4): the instincts, whose injury, privative and positive (1S 6-12), are a lot.

In this wonderful doctrine of the "nada", which doesn't hinder the action of the grace of God (1S 6,4), "is contained all the necessary doctrine to reach the summit of the Mount" (1S 13,10). In fact, according to St. John of the Cross, the importance of the evangelical self-denial is lived not only in the ascetic aspect, but first of all in the mystery of grace of the theological communion, the mystic experience, the discovery that our inner being is uninhabited by the divine Presence.

That is to say: the "nada" of St. John of the Cross are a divine initiative, they are a mystery of grace and a Christian answer, they are for those who have the fortune of "having being posed <<en la senda di este monte>>" (S prologue 9)

 

2.   Driven by the well-ordered and sweet action of God, the human of St. John of the Cross is aware of his own imperfections; so the theological attitude towards the "nada", summarized in the advices at the end of the first book of the "Ascent of Mount Carmel" (1S 13,4), since they don't oppose, they don't resist to God: "for the will that is negatively inclined cannot resist supernatural infusions" (2S 16,10); they are for the soul an active and effective "giving" a contemplative "shape" [1] to their own spiritual identity, cooperating with God, with His giving shape, so that His well-ordered and sweet action, from a "greater work" (1S 6,4) engenders "less work".

 

3.   All this can be understood by the human who "is in conversation with God". In fact, only in the "trato con Dios" the soul is charmed and then led  - "being led by God" (1S 1,4) - along the rugged path of the "nada", which doesn't hinder Him, "it doesn't resist" (1S 6,4).

So, in a continuous conversation with God the human finds himself again, finds again the path of Christ, finds himself in the paths of the contemplative attitude which lead him "perfectly to spiritual conversation with God" (2S 17,5), that is "the delight of delectable knowledge of God" (3S 26,5). We find here again, at the "summit of the Mount" (1S 13,10), the "pure essence of the soul", the purity, which is typical of the blessed, who "for love of Him alone" (1S 1,4), walking in the faith, in conversation with God, which is "perfect faith" (3S 42,6), "faith in act" [2], contemplative attitude, they behaved "negatively with loving and humble resignation" (2S 16,10), being purified (1S 6,4) by the well-ordered and sweet action of God.

 

4.   And so,"the clean of heart are called by our Saviour blessed: which is as if He had called them 'enkindled with love', since blessedness is given by nothing else than love" (2N 12, 1).  All things considered, we are created for this (CB 28,3), we are created for "the purity and the love" (2S 5,8).

 

________________

 

[1] BENEDICT XVI, Sacramentum caritatis, Apostolic Exhortation, 22ndFebruary 2007, n. 80.

[2] J. CARD. RATZINGER, Una parola di chiarificazione, Conference for the journalists of the Sala Stampa of the Santa Sede  about the Letter to the Bishops "Orationis Formas", in Osservatore Romano, 14th December 1989.

 

por nuevos caminos


       

1.   The mystic path of St. John of the Cross looks as an evangelical path of perfection; it is very close to the message of  the Church at the beginning of the third millennium  and it promotes a double focus that has to be realized gradually, at the explorer pace, our searcher of God:

  • the search of what is authentic in the Christian life: the search of the worship to the living God, realized through a continuous "conversation with God";
  • the theological method with whom we carry out the sequela Christi: the evangelical abnegation that the Mystic doctor calls "admirable doctrine".

 

In fact, the mystic path, placed inside the doctrinal system of St. John of the Cross, unfolds like a wonderful vertical line in a form of exploratory mysticism, and it progresses towards new dimensions in the spirit: "nuevos caminos".

 

2.  Our main character, the explorer well-disposed towards God, progresses to the summit of the Mount Carmel, driven by four dynamic terms: an impulse; an aim; a way; a path.

  • An impulse: the well-disposed in the spirit explorer starts - in a dark night - the wonderful vertical line  of the path which, according to its degrees, unfolds into three moments: preparation for the divine infusion; the divine infusion; the phases which follow the infusion.
  • An aim: the explorer decides to follow the project of the mystic path with "determination" (1N 1,2) and with a fundamental and final aim of his life: to reach "the summit of the union with God" (1S 13,10). 
  • way: the searcher of God progresses along the mystic path in a continuous relationship with God; St. John of the Cross calls this relationship or contemplative attitude "conversation with God" (2S 17,5); it is the way of a totalizing relationship which is lived in the mysticism in evolution. 
  • path: with the help of the well-ordered divine pedagogy (2S 17), the explorer, along the path of this Mount, rises in the sequela Christi, which is "the spiritual exercise of the narrow path of the eternal life" (N, prologue), so that the worship to the living God is accomplished that we can find in the first precept: "Thou shalt love thy God with all thy heart" (2N 11,4).

 

3.  These dynamic terms of the mystic path are directed  towards new dimensions, "nuevos caminos". They take their vitality from three doctrinal elements: evangelical abnegation: "admirable doctrine" (2S 7,4); theological life: "preparation for the union of the soul with God" (2N 21,11); Christian prayer: conversation with God.

In the living experience, in a theological act, the new dimensions in the spirit are summarized in that mystic theology "according to the Faith" (CB prologue 2), which "has no way" (2S 4,5), it is a secret wisdom that God communicates to the soul "for love" (2N 5,3) and "with perfect Faith" (3S 42,6).

The explorer well-disposed along the "path of obscure contemplation" (2S 7,13), feeds himself with this mystic theology, as the Mystic Doctor would say; he supports himself with the "admirable doctrine" (2N 11,4) whose contents are the "substantial" (1N 1,2) foods, "bread with crust" (1N 12, 1), which is the "food of robust person" (1N 12,1).

 

4.  To those who ask the "reasons for hope" (1Pt 3,15) inscribed in the mystic path, we can answer that the "way of perfection" (1S 13,10), as an expression of the Teresian charisma of the third millennium, has got in itself the theological hope  of combining two evangelical dynamics:

  • the dynamic inclination, "in Verbo tuo" (Lc 5,5), to put out to sea: "duc in altum" (Lc 5,4), to brave choices. 
  • the contemplative dynamics: "Let adore The Lord, Christ, in thy heart" (1 Pt 3,15) in order to realize the connection between the evangelical essential, the sequela Christi, and the evangelical polarity: starting again from the essential.

 

Combining these two evangelical dynamics is the reason of the hope of the mystic path, the "senda oscura" of St. John of the Cross, "a high" [1] and totalizing [2] level for the children of the Church of the new millennium.

 

_____________________

 

[1] JOHN PAUL II, Message to the Plenary of the Congregation for the Institute of  Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 21stSeptember 2011, nn. 3-4.

[2] BENEDICT XVI, Address to Superiors General of the Institutes of Consecrated Life, 22 May 2006.