Union with Christ is the purpose of Mystacism.
“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.”
Christ’s disciples have been considered by most to be the first Mystics. They were called disciples because, as with mystics of other religions, they followed a discipline prescribed by their teacher—in this case Jesus himself. Jesus’ disciples lived their lives in accordance with Jesus’ doctrine of the Kingdom. This doctrine was explained in terms of parables and similes concerning the manner in which a human being should live their life in order to achieve spiritual perfection and inherit eternal life with God. Jesus referred to himself as “the Way, the Truth and the Life,” described himself as the bread of heaven and as the true vine where both suggest types of union with Christ, and, in his “farewell discourse“, prayed that the disciples may be one with each other and with him just as he was one with the Father. Asked by a disciple how he would reveal himself to them and not to the world, Jesus answers: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.” (Jn 14,23)” This describes a mystical way of life, not just a limited mystical experience. Other scriptural texts testify to mystical experiences, INCLUDING mystical union: the apostle Paul mentions the mystical experience of a person who was caught up into the Third Heaven, and John the Revelator describes a vision he had of the end times.
Many if not all of the world’s great religions have arisen around the teachings of mystics including Jesus himself.
Unfortunately many in today’s society who teach the doctrine of Jesus, live far from the way Jesus lived and taught while mystics often times reside to be deprecated or persecuted just as Jesus was. Jesus did not build “Churches” where he held weekly meetings to remind people how they should live their lives. He went out and preached the truth. He went to the people, the broken, the hurting, the poor, the hungry, the heartbroken and the sick. He went out and met them in their conditions where they were, He did not deny them love and healing because they did not attend his meetings on a regular basis and profess to be a part of his meetings. He did not deny feeding the hungry simply because they didn’t pay him each week. Jesus GAVE all he had, including his life to save the lives of all who were hungry for this truth. Jesus said, “I send you out to make disciples of many nations.” The church is the Body of Christ, not four walls. The body of Christ is intended to go beyond walls and proceed beyond human limitations. Walls create limits to the very doctrine Jesus taught. “I send you out,” not in.
We are called to “Go out and make disciples” because Jesus did, and in doing so Jesus gives the disciples miraculous power to heal and cleanse, as well as authority over demons. Yet, because he gives these spiritual gifts to them freely, Christ told them to carry out His instructions without seeking monetary or material compensation. God’s workers are worthy of their hire but should not build personal fortunes through the services they render for Him. God is certainly generous, and provides for His servants as He sees fit, but He prohibits them from using His gifts for their own gain. He will bless them as it pleases Him! By not following these instructions we are hindering his will by not going out and making disciples and allowing these disciples the miraculous power to heal, cleanse and power over demons. Hindering the kingdom of heaven on earth.
Jesus wasn’t concerned with his car, his mortgage, his bills, his Rolex, budgeting his guesstimated weekly tithes to care for walls built to create limitations on Gods true intention for mankind. The focus and basis of his teachings did not center around the importance of how much money those who came to listen should give him. Jesus GAVE all. He said “He who wants to be the greatest amongst you must be your servant.” This was not a justification for the demand of being served.
Unfortunately today many have conformed Jesus’ doctrine to their own comfort zone. How many people in charge of these limiting walls would actually be willing to do what Jesus said and sell all they had and give to the poor and follow him? Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19;21) How many of really want to be perfect and would do this while only concerning themselves with the word of God despite what others said or did, even to the death, like Jesus did?
Jesus had told them not to be concerned with procuring extra provisions for their journeys as they went to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. He specifically instructed them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece” (Luke 9:3). A short time later, He gave similar instructions: “Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road” (Luke 10:4). The parallel account in Matthew 10:7-10 mirrors these directives:
And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
Jesus Christ directed them to travel lightly, for a number of reasons.
First, for these initial activities, Christ did not want His disciples to be concerned about physical preparations. He wanted them to focus on the job that He had given them to do—preach the gospel and report back to Him— His emphasis was on the mission he was sending them on, but He knew human nature’s tendency to worry about the details of its own comfort and existence. He did not want the disciples caught up in any preparations that would delay or distract them from His work through them.
Second, Christ was helping them to build faith in God as their Provider. He was teaching them to live and do His work without concern for their physical lives. He states clearly that if we are seeking His Kingdom first, and all that it entails, God will provide for all of our real needs (Matthew 6:33).
Jesus concerned himself with the word of God alone, his purpose and teaching by words and by being an example. ”There is no greater love then a man to lay down his life for his friend.” How many in the church would be willing to do that outside of the walls of their self created comfort zone? How many in this place would actually get up and leave everything behind this very second if Jesus showed up and said “ Go, and take nothing but the word of God with you and make disciples of men.” He did come and say this. Unfortunately many of these same people can’t wait for his return to make all things new with heaven on earth not realizing the part their hand plays in the hindrance of his will being done “on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
We are called to seek the trut h. ” I am the way, the truth,” “Come, follow me.” and go out making disciples of this world. Seeking the truth means seeking Jesus, not something hidden behind walls. Seeking the truth is seeking “Union with God.” Which is the point of it all. How did he do it?
Matthew 22;27-40 Jesus replied: “‘ LOVE (verb) the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘LOVE (verb) your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
He did it by love, a verb that proves actions speak louder then words.
Instead people today are being told to preform rituals that must be preformed each week in hopes that one day just maybe they may be able to experience this union that mystics experience, crave and concern themselves with while being persecuted as Jesus himself was for doing the same thing. You will not find in the Yellow pages a Church for Mystics nor do you hear where they will be teaching their ways next. They are busy either in union or out doing what God has said for so long to do. Part of that is also not letting what is good be called evil, or what is evil, good.
Special notes for rememberance;
Jesus was never depicted wearing a suit or tie.
Many if not all of the world’s great religions have arisen around the teachings of mystics (including Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tze, and Krishna); and most religious traditions describe fundamental mystical experiences, at least esoterically. Enlightenment or Illumination are generic English terms for the experience, derived from the Latin illuminatio (applied to Christian prayer in the 15th century) and adopted in English translations of Buddhist texts, but used loosely to describe the state of mystical attainment regardless of faith.
Conventional religions, by definition, have strong institutional structures, including formal hierarchies and mandated sacred texts and/or creeds. Adherents of the faith are expected to respect or respect and follow these closely, so mysticism is often deprecated or persecuted.”
Famous Quotes by Thomas Merton
Persons are not known by intellect alone, not by principles alone, but only by love. It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who he is, and who we are.
~Thomas Merton – Letter to Dorothy Day (20 December 1961)
“It is almost impossible to overestimate the value of true humility and its power in the spiritual life. For the beginning of humility is the beginning of blessedness and the consummation of humility is the perfection of all joy. Humility contains in itself the answer to all the great problems of the life of the soul. It is the only key to faith, with which the spiritual life begins: for faith and humility are inseparable. In perfect humility all selfishness disappears and your soul no longer lives for itself or in itself for God: and it is lost and submerged in Him and transformed INTO him”
~Thomas Merton -Seeds of Contemplation
Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny….To work out our identity IN God.
~Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation (1962)
Paradoxically, I have found peace because I have always been dissatisfied. My moments of depression and despair turn out to be renewals, new beginnings. If I were once to settle down and be satisfied with the surface of life, with its divisions and its clichés, it would be time to call in the undertaker…. So, then, this dissatisfaction which sometimes used to worry me and has certainly, I know, worried others, has helped me in fact to move freely and even gaily with the stream of life.
~ Thomas Merton
Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.
Reason is in fact the path to faith, and faith takes over when reason can say no more.
The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. He can make them fear the means of grace the way they do not fear sin. And he does so, not by light but by obscurity, not by realities but by shadows, not by clarity and substance but by dreams and the creatures of psychosis. And men are so poor in intellect that a few cold chills down their spine will be enough to keep them from ever finding out the truth about anything.
~Thomas Merton – The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else’s imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!
~Thomas Merton – The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
“In order to find God in ourselves, we must stop looking at ourselves, stop checking and verifying ourselves in the mirror of our own futility, and be content to be in Him and to do whatever He wills, according to our limitations, judging our acts not in the light of our own illusions, but in the light of His reality which is all around us in the things and people we live with.”
~Thomas Merton- “No Man is an Island”
“here must be a new force, the power of love, the power of understanding and human compassion, the strength of selflessness and cooperation, and the creative dynamism of the will to live and to build, and the will to forgive. The will for reconciliation.”
- from Introductions East & West. The Foreign Prefaces of Thomas Merton
“If we want to be spiritual, then, let us first of all live our lives. Let us not fear the responsibilities and the inevitable distractions of the work appointed for us by the will of God. Let us embrace reality and thus find ourselves immersed in the life-giving will and wisdom of God which surrounds us everywhere.
~Thomas Merton – Thoughts in Solitude
“What we are asked to do is to love; and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbor worthy if anything can.”
By: Thomas Merton
and The Heart of a Mystic