Mystical ecstasy is a great clue to the soul's destiny: transformation into the One Eternal Christ

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Mystical ecstasy is a great clue to the soul's destiny: transformation into the One Eternal Christ

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:10 am

Mystical Ecstasy: Raised beyond Self's Knowing

Imagine coming home one day and being greeted by your dog. But today is different. Instead his excited barking as you turn the key, silence; and when you open the door, your dog calmly says with perfect articulation, “How are you?”
Somehow taking this magic in stride, you answer him, then sit with a cup of tea and talk together. He listens to you with full understanding, nods his head empathetically, and interjects thoughtful comments like: “I’m glad you told your boss how you felt about the extra paperwork.”

For your dog to so communicate with you, his power of knowing would have to be miraculously raised to a human level. That is because to truly know someone, one has to share her nature, participate in her level of being-- experience the same dimension of life that she is in. That is why only human beings can truly communicate with each other, and deeply know each other: our pets, of course, are dear to us, and they know us in a certain manner, but not with full human understanding. We humans know each other because we inhabit a distinctly human dimension of thoughts and words and self-consciousness.

This delivers us to an incredible, but unavoidable conclusion: Just as your dog could only be raised to your deepest human feelings and thoughts through magic , so for us to really know God, you and I will have to be raised by divine magic to God’s own level. To really know God --not from the outside-in but from the inside-out-- God will have to raise us by grace to a full participation in divine nature. This is the fulfillment of the Way, the Way of Christ’s Mysteries: by recapitulating His Mysteries in us, the Holy Spirit transforms us into the One Christ. Beyond self, there is just one Knowing, that is the Mind of Christ, the Logos' own very Knowing, that our Knowing will be exactly that, by grace, no less. “We will be just like him, for we will see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

“Whosoever wants to know must wait until he becomes what he knows” (Theologia Germanica). Anything less than being raised to God’s level will not afford us a true knowledge of God. In heaven we will know the Trinity exactly as Christ’s knows the Trinity, having been transformed into Christ!

And why would God want to give us anything less than the complete Divine Life if God could? Who will put a lid on the generosity of Generosity Itself?

Will God say, “You can know half of me, but that’s all.”
“Please, more!” we say, following Abraham’s lead, who begged and bargained with God to save a doomed city (Genesis 18:22-32).
We say: “How about seven-five percent, Lord-- let us know seventy-five percent of your Being!”
“No more than seventy-five.”
“Eighty, Lord?”
“No more than eighty percent of Me.”
“Please: ninety-nine!”
“Your shall know ninety-nine percent of Me, but no more.”
“A hundred! A hundred! A hundred!”
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

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Re: Mystical ecstasy is a great clue to the soul's destiny: transformation into the One Eternal Christ

Post by Admin on Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:45 pm

In a post a few days ago, I linked the image of Bernini’s sculpture, “Ecstasy of St. Theresa” to the question:

“What important implications for Christology can be found in accounts in contemplative literature of “mystical ecstasy”?

The brief answer, I think, is:
Yes, mystical ecstasy offers clarify on Christology in two ways:
It clarifies the nature of the Christ’s final Mysteries --his death, Resurrection, through glorification of human nature as the Heavenly Christ....
And mystical ecstasy also clarifies the human nature of the One Christ of Heaven-- it tells us we are being transformed beyond all self-knowing of God --even given in union with God-- to God’s Own Knowing, which is the Knowing of the One Heavenly Christ.


Too some, accounts of mystical ecstasy may seem to be a fantastic esoteric curios interesting in themselves, but without major implications for the our journey to God. Indeed, the word “ecstasy”, as commonly used, signifies an experience of vast delight, but this affective definition is not the heart of mystical ecstasy; it is almost its opposite. “Ecstasy,” in the contemplative literature is a grace by which God completely suspends consciousness, which is our human knowing, to impart to the soul another kind of knowing. Let us hear a description of it by St. Bernard, born of his own experience:

Blessed and holy, I would say,
is he to whom it has been given
to experience such a thing
in this mortal life at rare intervals or even once,
and this suddenly and scarcely
for the space of a single moment.

In a certain manner to lose yourself
as though you were not,
and to be utterly unconscious of yourself
and to be emptied
and, as it were, brought to nothing....

What is the significance to this in terms of Christology?
It clarifies the nature of the Christ’s final Mysteries --his death, Resurrection, through glorification of human nature as the Heavenly Christ; mystical ecstasy also clarifies the human nature of the One Christ of Heaven-- it tells us are being transformed beyond all self-knowing of God --even given in union with God-- to God’s Own Knowing, which is the Knowing of the One Heavenly Christ.

The First Seasons of the Journey

The first seasons of the journey are not clarified by ecstasy, but by the witness of contemplatives of every age to “union with God.”

St. John of the Cross clarifies inimitably the first movement of our journey to God. Enriched by the sacramental grace, the rightly oriented ego (a will for God) is brought by the Holy Spirit through seasons of delight in prayer and aridity, finally through the “dark night” of the soul, whereby God definitely ends in a stroke of grace the ego-for-itself. With the ego-center gone, the new self is re-integrated by grace God, it new and true Center.

Whereas Jesus was conceived miraculously by God and Mary, and was born into the unitive state, he is “like us in all but sin”, we may come to this soul-union with God if God so wills it, and have by grace what Jesus was given by nature. Because of the Holy Spirit recapitulates this union in us, the literature of Christian mysticism gives us great Christological clues to the inner life of the Jesus of Nazareth-- what has been termed by Bernadette Roberts the “first movement” of the spiritual journey.

But union with God is not the end of the journey. Jesus was born into union with God (as he was “like us in all things but sin”)-- but surely that wasn’t his final union with God! Church fathers such as Gregory of Nyssa posit a “trans-elementation” at death and Resurrection. ‘Jesus died” (as has been said) and Christ, Resurrected. The Resurrection is hardly a ‘merely’ a miraculous recusitation but the most radical change in being and knowing, from Jesus’ human knowing of God, to Christ’s Divine, and finally Glorified Knowing of God. Jesus’ human knowing and even sense of being (which knew God as self-experience) was dissolved by Holy Spirit, for the Resurrection. What arose was Christ’s omnipresent “spiritual body” co-extensive with the All, for it is God’s Body; and what ‘arose’ was the Logos’ own Knowing of God, supplanting Jesus’ unitive consciousness of God.

“Transformed in God,
these blessed will live the life of God
and not their own...
The will proclaim: We live, not yet we,
but God lives in us."
-John of the Cross

“As it goes for Christ, it goes for us”
-Bernadette Roberts, "The Real Christ" (2017)

“Christ is the Way. We must be raised from his humanity to his Trinity"
-Fr. Jules Monchanin

In sum:
Whereas the contemplative mystical theology of “union with God” tells us a great deal about the first movement toward God...
“Mystical ecstasy” gives us invaluable clues to the final Mysteries of Christ, and the trans-elemented humanity of Christ. The glorified Christ of Heaven is not a myriad eternal self’s united to God, but the mystery of our common humanity without any self at all, given by grace God’s own Knowing AS the Eternal Christ of Heaven.

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