MYSTICISM: See by John Ruysbroeck

See by John Ruysbroeck

From The Spiritual Espousals

Our Heavenly Father wishes us to see, for he is the Father of light, (cf. James 1:17).  Accordingly, in the hidden depths of our spirit he eternally, ceaselessly, and without intermediary utters a single, fathomless word, and only that word.  In this word he gives utterance to himself and all things.  This word, which is none other than, “See,” is the generation and birth of the Son, the eternal light, in whom all blessedness is seen and known.

If our spirit is to contemplate God with God without intermediary in this divine light, three things are necessary.  The first is that a person must be exteriorly well ordered, interiorly unhindered, and as empty of all his exterior works as if he were not even performing them, for if he is interiorly disturbed through any virtuous work he will be troubled by images, and as long as this lasts he will not be able to contemplate.  Secondly, he must interiorly cleave to God with devoted intention and love, just as if he were a burning, glowing fire which can never be extinguished.  As long as he feels himself to be in this state, he will be able to contemplate.  Thirdly, he must lose himself in a state devoid of particular form or measure, a state of darkness in which all contemplatives blissfully lose their way and are never again able to find themselves in a creaturely way.

In the abyss of this darkness in which the loving spirit has died to itself, God’s revelation and eternal life have their origin, for in this darkness an incomprehensible light is born and shines forth; this is the Son of God, in whom a person becomes able to see and to contemplate eternal life.  This divine light is shed upon a person in the simple being of his spirit, where the spirit receives the resplendence which is God himself above and beyond all gifts and creaturely activity in the empty idleness of the spirit, where the spirit has lost itself in blissful love and receives God’s resplendence without intermediary.  The spirit ceaselessly becomes the very resplendence which it receives.  See, this hidden resplendence, in which a person contemplates all that he desires in accordance with his spirit’s mode of emptiness, is so great a resplendence that the loving contemplative neither sees nor feels in the ground of his being, in which he is at rest, anything other than an incomprehensible light.  In the simple bareness which envelops all things, he feels and finds himself to be nothing other than the same light with which he sees.

This is the first point, describing how a person is made capable of seeing in the divine light.  Blessed are the eyes that see in this way, for they possess eternal life.


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