Today, in our series of "Life, Love, & Light" podcasts on The Mystical Path, we consider the Path of Illumination. We hear Julian of Norwich describe her own experience of illumination when she saw the sudden and blissful transformation of Christ on the cross -- from suffering to perfect joy. Julian herself was lifted up in a transport of ecstasy. This is the illumination that the disciples, male and female, experienced at Easter. Like them, Julian was overwhelmed by the reality of resurrection -- that Christ had conquered suffering and death once and for all. Yet she understood that right now we still abide in the reality of the cross; we still live within the passion of Christ: “in our pains and in our passion, dying.” However, Julian envisioned that, at the last moment of our lives, suddenly Christ will “change his countenance toward us, and we shall be with him in heaven.” By this she meant that Christ will instantaneously convert all our suffering into joy, simply by transforming our mind’s ability to perceive him.
We reflect on the fact that as we move from the Path of Purgation onto the Path of Illumination, we, too, may experience moments of deep inspiration, vivid images, graces that come pouring out upon us, voices telling us what to do, all good things. We may have glimpses of light and momentary “beholdings,” as Julian of Norwich called them. However, we must not think we have already reached perfect union with God. There’s a big distinction between the glimpses that arise in our minds in the early and later stages of the Path of Illumination. So as not to be misled, we must continue to be faithful to our contemplative practice, morning and evening -- becoming aware of our thoughts but not grasping onto any of them. We must remain open to the presence of God and not crave spiritual "perks." We don’t want to be satisfied by the insights and inspirations that come from our own mind; we want only those that arise direct from the Divine Source. Cultivating greater awareness and stillness in our meditation practice will also enable us to deal more capably with the life situations in which we find ourselves -- after meditation. Teresa of Avila linked the Path of Illumination with the Prayer of Quiet. At this point, we are able to remain silent and focused more easily in meditation -- and for longer and longer periods of time. We begin to experience a different level of Divine Reality and to rest in this "divine milieu." Then, as our awareness of Divine Presence becomes sustainable, we learn to trust it more and more. Perhaps for the first time, we feel truly "alive"!
PLEASE SHARE these podcasts with family member and friends who are seeking a mystical path and a contemplative practice in their lives. And let them know about the upcoming Virtual Retreat I will be leading on the Revelations of Julian of Norwich: "All Shall Be Well" (May 1st-2nd, 2021). Information and Registration are on my website: https://www.veronicamaryrolf.com/retreats.html ALL ARE WELCOME!