Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Christian Experience is a Mystical One

As I was reading some of my book yesterday at work, I came to a very interesting insight of not only the Theology of the Body, but of the entire Catholic experience.

Grace, according to JP II, is defined as experiencing the mysteries of God in the Holy Spirit. In other words, every time we experience grace, we experience God. Our main goal in life is to grow in the various virtues, living a Christ-like life. This entire growth process can be summed up as growing in purity of heart. It is through that purity of heart that we see the world as we are meant to see it, as Christ sees it, and thus are able to act the way we are supposed to act, just as Christ acts.

Now, a mystical experience is simply, and broadly, defined as experiencing God. Thus, the logical conclusion is that everytime we experience grace, we are experiencing God, we are having a mystical experience. This seems to go quite right with any of the great mystics of the Church, as well as the teaching of the Church itself and what the Bible has to teach us. I just realized yesterday, however, just how common it is. How beautiful it is that we are opportuned to have a mystical experience every time we go to Confession, every time we receive the Eucharist, every time a special grace is granted to us from God, every time we grow in virtue thanks to God's help, and so forth.

The great mystics like St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross describe the mystical experience in many different ways, because there are many steps to it. The reason we don't see it as the awesome experience that it is is because we are still deeply stained by sin. This explains periods of dryness and so forth. What we see as being almost painful sometimes when praying is actually the Holy Spirit, which dwells within us, purging us of our iniquities, of our faults, of those things which limit our true experience of God. God is meant to be experienced, if He wasn't, then He would never have revealed Himself to us and would remain a distant unknowable object instead of the Divine Subject that He is.

The only way to truly perceive the experience that one is truly having when receiving grace by God is simply put in one word: perseverance. When we persevere in prayer and in following God, it is at those times that we are purged of all that holds us back from God. We are all called to experience God in the most wonderful way, however, most of us seem to be satisfied with a mediocre experience of God. God calls us to love, but we sit back being happy with where we're at, because we don't like those dry periods of prayer. It isn't supposed to be easy, though, remember, Christ said "If you want to be my disciple you must take up your cross and follow me." If we want to be a disciple of Christ, to have that personal and intimate relationship with Him, we must remember that we are going to have to suffer, because it is through suffering, through a trial by fire, that we are able to be purged of all that holds us back, and thus be able to see Him as He is. We are all called to be great saints, we are all called to holiness, we are all called to experiencing God, to have that mystical experience, we must simply remind ourselves that God expects that of us because God wants the best for us.



Gregaria said...

Thanks so much for this post! It makes several things clearer to me :)

I am a new reader and I found your blog via The Propaganda Machine (www.mike2theg.blogspot.com).

God bless!

Harrison said...

Glad it could help!