Lovers can have between themselves a depth of intimacy and communication that goes beyond words. To think that communication with the Living God, our Abba, cannot involve something equivalent or even greater is ridiculous (Psa 42:7).
John Cassian describes this type of prayer as “an immeasurable fire of love. The soul settles in it and sinks into its depths” (Conferences, IX, 18). He explains further,
The prayer “Our Father” raises those who make themselves familiar with it to that prayer of fire which very few know from experience. It is an ineffable state that is far above all human feeling, without the sound of any voice, without any movement of the tongue, without any articulate word. The soul is wholly filled with light and no longer makes use of human language, which is always limited. But it engrosses the whole person and becomes an abundant spring from which prayer flows and soars in an ineffable fashion up to God. It says so many things in this brief space of time that it cannot easily express them or even remember them (IX, 25).
My wife can testify, I am not given to emotionalism, asceticism, fanaticism, Corinthian charismatic tendencies, or the like. Yet I can testify to this momentary union of the intellect and the heart ignited by the eternal flame of Trinitarian love, namely, the love shared between the Father and the Son, which is the Spirit.
There have been infrequent times in my life, and how precious they are, when, as Isaac of Nineveh describes, “my intellect becomes immersed in my heart” (Ascetic Treatises 12) without me foreseeing it, apart from me forcing it to happen. To say that this is impossible is as extreme as to say it should happen frequently and will happen to every Christian. Lest we take the above thoughts into The Cloud of Unknowing, Olivier Clément helpfully concludes the above thoughts,
This fullness, however, does not do away with the intellect, rather it fertilizes it. The spirituality of the Fathers is not anti-intellectual. For the human being is … capable of sound reasoning. The more the intellect is imbued with the light and love of God, the more it is purified, refined, broadened, and cognisant of conscientious and beautiful thoughts (p. 209).
suzanne nelson says
Thank you for sharing this with me and have missed reading the Grace Lived Out. It is always unique. I hope to see you on Sunday. God Bless you and Brenda.
Peter Dubbelman says
Brenda and I look forward to seeing you as well.
McCall Dubbelman says
Thank you for sharing Peter and I always appreciate your thoughtful perspective. You and Brenda are wonderful examples of leading others to see the importance of intimacy in marriage and in our spiritual lives. I am so thankful to have you in my life!
Peter Dubbelman says