In this post I want again to start with a quote. This is from William Shannon, “Wordless prayer…..is humble, simple, lowly, prayer in which we experience our total dependence on God and our awareness that we are in God. Wordless prayer is not an effort to ‘get anywhere,’ for we are already there (in God’s presence). It is just that we are not sufficiently conscious of our being there.” When you are either at the threshold or have now gone through, you are being drawn by the voice of love. You are there in the presence of love. Remember it learning to receive this love, not try to analyze or experience love in a certain way. Just sit there and receive love. Two of the sure indicators that you are being drawn beyond your usual way of relating to God is first; the realization that the manner in which you have related to God no longer bring satisfaction. This is an indication that God is calling you to a different place. You are being called to leave the safety of the familiar. It is the call to come home. Many pull back at this point. The second indicator is the presence of an underlying peace. Even though you might feel confused, uncertain and even somewhat fearful, there is an unlying peace that you should keep the journey. Benner makes the interest observation that “the thing we fear the most is what we need to most.” Of cours, that is the love of God. A third indictor is the awareness that you can’t go back. Don’t go back. Stay there with you gaze upon Jesus. Make Psalm 27: 4 and Psalm 105:4 your daily prayer.
In a real sense you are leaving the known and going into the “unknown.” It is like leaving the old country for a new country. Be assured that someone else is holding you and guiding you. Remember you are coming home. Paul are reminds us, “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ (I Cor 2:9). There is much more to reality then you had assumed with your small, isolated, ego-centered minds. With the mind you have only material eyes to see what is there. You can get caught up in a “mass cultural trance’ (Rohr) that causes you to accept the illusions of your own thinking and the culture as reality. You are trapped in a kind of normalcy which says “this is the way it is.” God is now trying to “wake” you up to what is really there. He wants you to have spiritual eyes. You could say that you need to have your spiritual lens cleansed so you can see. You cannot do this on your own. You have to allow it to be done to and for you
Richard Rohr calls this movement the gaining of a “beginner’s mind.” It involves knowledge that can be felt. He compares it to the first experience of learning for an infant. It is primarily felt in the body (kinesthetic knowing). The child knows self by being held and gazed upon by the mother. It infant and mother are not separate but one. It is not seen, heard or thought. It’s felt. It is beyond words and discrption. It just is. Similarly God wants us to know him in the same “felt” way. No separation with our mind but oneness at the heart level. Our problem is that we are dualistic. We are split from our hearts, where we experience knowing God’s love. Instead of usual comparing, judging, and controlling of our minds, we simple learn to rest in the love of God. In this regard I have found real comfort in Psalm 130:2, “But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
So in this post, I want to assure that one man who I am writing for, that going through the threshold might be rather frightening. It sure was for me. All my fears, the illusions of my mind, and the protective attitudes of my fragile ego all cried out to stop and turn back to the familiar. I was not comfortable with not knowing and walking in the darkness. It could be that you will pull back at times. That’s o.k. But go through again and again. Learn to stay for a longer period of time. This is sacred space beyond ordinary normalcy. Be assured that if you have your gaze upon Jesus, trusting that He is bringing you home to the Father by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and if you are storing up basic promises from scripture for assurance, and if you hold unto the Apostles’ Creed as your statement of faith, and if you are seeking out the fellowship of like-minded pilgrims, you are being lead by the Spirit of love. Make Eph 3:16-20 your daily prayer. Don’t let some well-meaning man or woman who has not crossed the threshold, hold you back with some kind of nonsense about “new age thinking.” I have fought many of those battles over the years. My journey began as a Lutheran. Then I embraced fully the evangelical movement. I have been deeply involved in the charismatic movement. They are all still a part of my journey. But it has been the contemplative journey that has allowed me to learn how to receive the love of God and know deep within heart that “I have a Father in heaven who delights in me.”
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Richard Rohr encourages us to repeat this mantra throughout the day: “God’s life is living itself in me. I am aware of life living itself in me. God’s life is living itself in me. I am aware of life living in me.