Mysticism and Prophecy

October 9, 2012

Today’s topic on “Mysticism and Prophecy” is another reflective process offered to those who want to make JPIC a way of life.

Sr. Sanny Bruijns, O.Carm., our resource person, was born in the Netherlands.  She is a Carmelite religious who studied Theology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen in Holland.  She joined the Carmelites in 1980 at the age of 24 and worked as a formator for both women  and men  members of the congregation.  She is at present the Assistant Provincial of the Dutch Province.   A book on Mariology which she authored was published in 2004.

Sr. Sanny introduced her topic with several definitions of mysticism from different writers:

  • Mysticism is  a secret wisdom which is communicated and infused into the soul through love (John of the Cross)
  • Mysticism is  the footprints of His passing (Kees Waaijman, O Carm, 1992)
  • Mysticism is wisdom or knowledge that is found through love; it is loving knowledge. (William Johnston, 1997)

The Louisville experience of Thomas Merton was described as an example of a mystical experience.

Bp. Oscar Romero, Bp. Helder Camara, Sr. Dorothy Stang and many others become inspiring examples for those who are committed to the cause of JPIC.   They have discovered the presence of God that transforms the heart and makes it burn with passion for those who suffer.  The same passion inspires many people in our present time to offer their lives for those who have no voice and whose rights are violated because of oppressive structures.

Characteristics of the Mystical way:

  • Illumination or enlightenment
  • Purification – the dark night of the senses and of the soul
  • Union

Many saints have walked this path and not only become people touched by God, but also made important contributions to society.

Some examples of mystics:

  1. Elijah, a mystic and prophet
  2. Mary in her Magnificat
  3. Jesus’ passion for God, passion for people
  4. Thomas Merton
  5. Blessed Titus Brandsma
  6. St. Arnold Janssen – doing normal daily things in a special way – Apostleship of Prayer

Definitions of Prophecy:

  • Living out of a consciousness of God’s presence
  • Looking from tomorrow’s world into the now.
  • Accusing the Pharaohs and false gods.

Martha and Mary – a tradition of contemplative action (Lk 10, 38-42)

Sr. Sanny proposed the story of Martha and Mary to facilitate a reflection on action and contemplation.  These two significant characters in the Gospel are inseparable and should form part of every person who hopes to find integration between his/her experience of God and service in JPIC.

Powerpoint on Mysticism and Prophecy (click here)

Sr. Sanny presented the view of some mystics on the relationship between action and contemplation.  In his interpretation of the story of Martha and Mary, Msgr. Johannes Zwijsen (1794-1877) compares Martha to the one who loves in a human way and he compares Mary to the one who is in the process of receiving the divine love that is given to her by Christ.  This love transforms her into a human being who is on the way to be an instrument of God’s endless transforming love.

Powerpoint on Martha and Mary (click here)

Fr. Francisco (facilitator) made a synthesis of the day.  He explains the importance of contemplation for JPIC promoters.  Unless our actions come from a deeper place, we tend to react rather than respond.  JPIC promoters are invited to be contemplatives.  The more persons are involved in the world, the deeper they have to go within themselves and in God.

Video of Fr. Francisco’s synthesis (click here)

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