I found some of my notes, taken over the past 2+ years, on Contemplative prayer and Mysticism. These are portions of what I base my views of Contemplative spirituality on. If you’re practicing Contemplative Spirituality, you are playing with fire. You really are.
In silence - thoughts have a passive mind to hear God. Centering prayer works through silence but is this the way Jesus taught us to pray? He never taught his disciples to repeat a word or phrase over and over, did He..
Our culture has set us up to demand experience. Focus on self. Self improvement, self fulfillment. Why did Jesus speak so much about ‘flesh’? But that’s what Contemplative prayer satifies – flesh.
Ancient future – ancient spirituality is mysticism. This is the main ingredient of Catholic mysticism. So how did it make its way into the church? Jesus warned believers that in the end times, before His return, there would be a great deception that would make its way into the hearts of believers. That if it were possible…it would fool even the very elect. This is happening now. Many believers are swallowing this deception as if were coming straight from God Himself.
There is now the assumption that our western mindset is too busy to hear God. Contemplative prayer is waiting for God to speak to you. You believe that God is beyond all understanding – too far off. This is the way that you can really feel like you’re one with Him… Familiar spirits. That’s what you’re hearing when you practice this.
Mystics.. searching for a mystical union with God. Some believe that this type of mysticism is the way, but Jesus warned against it.
Catherine of Sienna: many celestial visions.. her writings – scourged herself 3X/day. Stigmata – which is occult. She had it. She scourged herself for her own self, for others and for the dead. So why is she being looked at by some as really knowing how to “press in” and really ‘be’ in God’s presence? She is only one of the many Catholic mystics referred to here.
Spiritual formation: program which uses spiritual disciplines. But they’re moving beyond communication with God to a silent union. Again, familiar spirits.
St. John of the cross: stage 1. Self cleansing – until you feel a detachment from the world.
2. mystical union – experience Oneness with God (sensual terms) Bridal paradigm
People are looking for some cutting edge spirituality. Something in which you can “feel” the working power of your spiritual practice within you and around you…
To practice Contemplative prayer, you’re to use a single word to take something from the mind to the heart. But Jesus taught us not to use vain repetitions. You’re to repeat that word or phrase for sometimes up to 20 minutes. You’re to make your mind enter a complete and utter “void”. Once in that void, you’ll hear jesus speak to you. You’ll get direction from him. But what you’re hearing when you get there is not Jesus of Nazareth. That is the voice of a familiar spirit – the kind Jesus warned us about.
Lectio davina: sacred reading; bible’s being used as a mystical device. Repeat, repeat, repeat a word and through repetition, the mind is silenced. The problem is that the context is being stripped out. The context = the meaning of it.
Brennan Manning: “Without repetition, your own thoughts get in the way.” Here is a man who is 100% into mysticism – yet he is being hearalded as one who is so close to Jesus. Where is the difference between Christian mystics and occult mystics? There is no difference – they are both occult.
Labyrinth: physical, outward demonstration/motioning yourself toward the center of the labyrinth. Which is much like contemplative – where God is within YOU. Not just living in your heart but actually within you.
Why bother discussing all of this? The reason is because if YOU are reading this and are also practicing Contemplative spirituality, then you are being given a chance to renounce it. You’re receiving a ‘warning flag’ to step away from it. The choice is yours.