Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Aha and Ha Ha!

After listening to music of amazing singers on internet, which after awhile realized not necessary and wasted time, began what thought would be the skimming and scanning of the next chapters in the book the young spiritual friend and this nothing Catholic hermit are reading, per her spiritual director's recommendation.

Was figuring it would continue to go on and on with tertiary-source wordage by the author, after his reading of the two saints' primary source writings and then the secondary source research and writings of the past, per the saints' writings.

But an "aha" moment met the eyes, mind, and heart in the first paragraph in the next chapters we had agreed upon to read, and then laughter.  The ha-ha-ha is on this hermit, and in a fun and good way, for His Real Presence (and no doubt the late author of this book on John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, and maybe the saints themselves) were letting this nothing here know would not want to skim or scan further.

Actually, what the late author of the book writes of the saints contains details this nothing had stuffed too far back in to recall.  Marvelous it is to now recall them--encouraging and inspiring.  Have more tidbits to relate with regarding their daily lives, and am reminded of the great kinship with them, and the personality linkage, too, here and there.

Plus, what he writes based upon what other authors had researched and learned of these two saints, is helpful, too.  So am reading contextually and fully engaged.  Now must make up for lost time and catch up!  Thought could just skim or scan it this morning, and be on point.  Yet even that was all right in a humbling way, very good.  Had to rely on the friend to do the talking and pointing out, even though she wanted this nothing to comment, particularly on the chapter of their mystical experiences.  But no, was not prepared, and how laughable yet instructive, all this!  Aha and ha, ha, ha.

One thing that stands out of just a minor point:  the late author confuses mystics with contemplatives.  He comments that Teresa of Avila became spiritual director to her own father and her brother, and that they each ended up being mystics.  It is just a confusion of term definition, but it seems worth explaining.  Mystics are born as mystics; it is nothing one can learn or become.  Contemplatives is the word the author no doubt meant.  

Everyone is called to be a contemplative and can learn and grow into more contemplative prayer and natures, even if not all will receive the same graces or levels of contemplative prayer.  At a certain point, union with God is His choice, timing, and doing.  He desires it for all of us, though, and we can and ought desire and grow toward His desire and will for us into contemplation of His Real Presence.

If make the space in the daily life to re-read the excellent book by scholar David Knowles, Mystics and Mysticism, can clarify better the difference between mystics and contemplatives.  Even mystics ought learn contemplation.  While they may be disposed instinctively toward it, they are not born contemplatives but are born as mystics.  There are mystics who conceivably might not be contemplatives in life, although like all of us, they should desire and strive in contemplation.

All in all, it is so marvelous that His Real Presence and the late author of the book now reading, and the saints themselves, and perhaps some of the authors who provided secondary source research for the third-source late author, have shown this nothing Catholic hermit not to assume a thing about books or style of writing.  Yes, Teresa of Avila tended to write at length, herself.  An interesting tidbit gleaned today in reading is that she said she wished she could write with a pen in both hands; the thoughts came to her that fast and wished to get them all down.

An Episcopalian spiritual friend many years ago wrote saying he could not stand reading Teresa of Avila's writings because she would go on and on in one topic and then lose the trail and head off in another direction, writing on and on, sometimes not returning to her original points.  Also, the sisters of St. Teresa's discalced Carmelite convent, well into the reform, asked John of the Cross to write an explanation of his three spiritually profound poems.  (Yes, what some think are books, like Dark Night of the Soul, are actually poems.)  So he wrote a few hundred pages explaining the meaning of the poems, which combined account for a few pages (depending upon print and if in verse and stanza format).   

The aha and ha ha ha are on this nothing Catholic hermit!  Love it!  Happy reading!  Will love it, too.  Still tiny print and oodles of words, but the information can be helpful and useful in various aspects.  At least the late author is by no means a bloviator.  Bloviating is something all writers should avoid.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Little children, let us love one another.

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