Epilogue of Pray! (Use the Power God Gave YOU to Change the World Through Prayer!): Introduction to the Gift of Prayer with a Selection of Prayers of the Founder
The Bible teaches us the mystery of the utterly transcendent and ultimately incomprehensible God who paradoxically is nevertheless also intimately immanent and dwelling in us, personally accessible to us in a wonderful and empowering personal relationship of love. Prayer is our talking lovingly with God who loves us. The mystic saints, our older brothers and sisters in God’s Family the Church, can lead us to ever-more-deeply appreciate and delve into both the mystery of the utter transcendence and the intimate immanence of God, as far as our capacity to know Him goes. We will never exhaustively know the infinite God – no matter how much we get to know Him, no matter how much we ever progress spiritually, there will always be a higher “rung of the ladder” we have yet to climb, as the great early mystic saint and master of the spiritual life Saint Gregory of Nyssa notes. Yet whatever stage of the journey we are on we can love God who has nevertheless made Himself immanent to us, right now.
Thus Christian mysticism is the exciting and never-ending love affair of the members of the Bride of Jesus Christ the Church with Jesus, the Bride’s Heavenly Spouse, who, because of His humanity like ours, draws us human beings into the intimate and exciting life of passionate love of the Holy Trinitarian Family who IS love itself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our baptism is a spiritual wedding which makes us part of the Bride of Christ, and therefore, through the mysterious “one flesh” marital union of Christ and His Bride (Ephesians 5:22-32), part of the Body of Christ Himself, and therefore, as part of the Body of God’s only-begotten Son, we become also (adopted) children of His Father through the work of the Spirit of Adoption (Romans 8:15). Thus the three ways the Bible describes the Church made up of us individual Christians, as the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, and as Children of God, are all different ways to describe one mysterious and wonderful reality of union with God by which we are the Spouse of the Son, the Children of the Father, and the Body united to the Head by the Holy Spirit. The “Spiritual Wedding” of baptism can be likened to an “arranged marriage” when we are still just spiritual babes, which we gradually “grow up” into and mature in, such that the mystic saints describe the later, advanced stages of Christian Spirituality as an intimate “spiritual marriage” with Jesus Christ, which is not meant to be unique to such mystic saints but which is merely a maturation of the intimate love relationship with God which began in each Christian with the “spiritual wedding” of our baptism. As we exercise our power of prayer in new adventures in prayer, may we mature in our eternal loving relationship with God as children of the Father, intimate Bride of Jesus Christ, made into His Body as well as into children of His Father by His indwelling Holy Spirit.
© 2013 Peter William John Baptiste SFO
To explore Christian Spirituality further through great Christian spiritual masters, one might read:
The Way of Renewal of Saint Francis: Poverty, Simplicity, Humility, and Obedience
The Dark Nights on the Road to Christian Maturity: Saint John of the Cross’s Principal Contribution to the Understanding of Christian Spirituality
“Be Ye Perfect” by Never Ceasing to Lovingly Pursue the Limitless God (into “the Luminous Darkness”): A Review of Saint Gregory of Nyssa’s The Life of Moses, or, Concerning Perfection in Virtue
These works of the founder are in the Christian Spirituality and Maturity section of the Catalog of The Institute for Promoting the Gift of Truth which can be perused here on the Christian Unity in Diversity Central Website.