Seeing God in all things
Desire is answered
Perhaps unsurprisingly the last post on “Purification” was the least read post of all that I have posted! Hopefully the title of “Illumination” will attract more readers. However, without the desire to be a better person reflected in the step of purification, the next rung of the ladder leading to illumination can hardly be climbed. One spiritual writer noted that a person cannot reach the top of the ladder without stepping on the first rung.
Perhaps to understand what the mystics meant by illumination we need to go back to the ground level where awakening occurs. Because of our awakening, a desire to draw near and unite with God is born within us. As the desire grows, more and more is revealed to us. The more that is revealed to us, the greater the desire grows. However, it is not as automatic as that makes it sound. I find that I often must pray for an increase in my flagging desire.
In this stage of mystic growth, we concentrate our will, intellect and feeling on God. Good works or virtues are performed almost spontaneously. St. Paul might call this growing in the image of Christ. St. Peter named it acquiring the divine nature.
Evelyn Underhill noted that in this stage of illumination three elements may be found. The first, is a joyous apprehension of the Divine or God. The nearness of God is enjoyed. The second is experiencing an added significance and reality to all natural things. The Divine is seen in nature and/or in other persons. And third, a kind of spiritual energy is released that may result in visions, voices, etc.
One word of warning about the last one: visions and voices are never to be sought. If they come, they come. And if they come but do not increase a person’s humility and love, they do not come from God.
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May God be more real to all of us this day.