Trinitarian Contemplation

The revelation of the Trinity is the heart of the Christian mystery. Therefore by meditating on the essence of this mystery a contemplative’s understanding can be transformed by the very grace of and mystery of this sacred Trinity.

The twelfth century Christian mystic Jan Ruusbroec (1293 – 1381) wonderfully articulated his understanding of the ineffable in his classic text, The Spiritual Espousals. “ Having contemplated this mystery he left us some bread crumbs in his writings that we can follow back to where the feast of the heart occurs. Below are some excerpts from his writings on the Trinity and how the Father God invites the Disciple to behold.”

Three conditions for beholding the Son of God.
“If it is intended that the human spirit should, together with god, behold god without intermediary in this deifying light, there are three conditions which are necessary to man.

1. The first is that he must be well-ordered outwardly in all the virtues and that inwardly he be unencumbered and as empty of every external activity as if he has not been performing it at all. For if within he is preoccupied with any virtuous act, he is then distracted by his imagination. And so long as this lasts he is unable to contemplate.

2. Secondly, he must cleave to god interiorly with devoted intention and love, like kindled and glowing fire that can never again be extinguished. So long as he feels himself to be in this state, he is able to contemplate.

3. Thirdly, he must lose himself in a mental state devoid of specific form or measure, lose himself in a darkness wherein all contemplatives wander blissfully, unable ever again to find their way on a merely human path."

In the abyss of this darkness, in which the devout spirit has died to itself, god’s revelation and eternal life have their origin. For in this darkness there shines and is born an incomprehensible light. This is the son of god, in whom we behold eternal life. In this light, one becomes seeing. His spirit receives the resplendence which is god himself, above and beyond all charisms and creaturely activity.
In this empty idleness, the spirit, though blissful love, has gotten lost. It receives the resplendence of god without an intermediary, and it ceaselessly becomes the very resplendence which it receives.

Behold this mysterious resplendence, in which I contemplate everything that I am able to desire in proportion to the emptiness of my spirit. This resplendence is so vast that the devout contemplative, in the depths wherein we rest, sees and feels nothing except an incomprehensible light.

Through the simple bareness which envelops all things. As a contemplative, we discover that we are the very light that we behold, and nothing else. We become capable of seeing within this holy and deifying light.

Merry Christmas

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