Novice Embracing the Mystics: a Journey of Faith

by Sister Regina Rose on February 8, 2013

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Novice Sister Regina Rose reflects on Franciscan Friar of the Sacred Heart Province Father Charlie Smiech’s recent class on mysticism.

“Faith sees all things in the action of the Creator. There is not a moment in which God does not present Himself under the cover of some pain to be endured, some consolation to be enjoyed, or of some duty to be performed. All that takes place within us, around us, or through us, contains and conceals His divine action” (Jean-Pierre de Caussade). These are the convictions of a true mystic.

From January 28th – Feb 1st , we were blessed with the reflections of Father Charlie Smiech, OFM, as he shared the wisdom and insights of mystics such as St John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila,  St. Catherine of Siena , Blessed Theresa of Calcutta and more.  Residing in the very core of their lives was a desire to experience intimacy with Christ through the complete and total abandonment of their will to His. In their questing, they discovered Christ in every moment and every circumstance, knowing that that it is only when we fully possess and are attached to God alone are we truly free. They knew that the journey towards Christ cannot be forced and so sought to fall in love with Him over and over again.

Mystics, as they provide us with a treasure of devotion, inspiration and spiritual guidance, show us first-hand how God is to be loved with all one’s heart, in all times and seasons, and especially during times of suffering, trial and sacrifice. While we look to these mystics for encouragement, we must know that we, too, are all called to imitate them.  Christ calls us to “come and see (John 1:35-39),” to be seekers of what we cannot see but we believe, to embrace the ordinary that we might receive something new, and to do our own falling in love with Him. Herein lies the journey toward becoming a mystic. It is, as Fr. Charlie said, “faith seeking understanding.”

For those of us who are abundantly aware of the distance we must travel to reach the level of “mystic,” Fr. Charlie and the mystics assure us that all of us must undergo an ongoing and radical change to reach said goal, a change that asks us to evaluate our “inner sanctuary” and “clean out the junk.” We are all on a road to holiness and that path is unique to each person traveling it. The journey requires discipline but also caution in what we choose to cling to, holding on to the knowledge that the more God strips us, the more He showers us with gifts.

So how do we begin? Throughout the week, Fr. Charlie discussed some principles that will enrich the development of holiness and aid us on our trek. First, we are encouraged to commence by abandoning ourselves totally to Divine Providence. Then we endeavor to seek Christ in every moment and strive to display exteriorly what we believe interiorly. Flowing from this, we learn to “bend low” to embrace the holiness of others, always asking what God is doing in and for us in our daily experiences with others. Lastly, we must try to embrace the present moment as a source of holiness and always contemplate Gospel values as an avenue toward healthy relationships. Through these, we can all take our first steps toward fuller intimacy with the Christ who calls us to Himself.

“If we could lift the veil that covers the profound mysteries of divine operation, and if we were attentive and watchful, God would continually reveal Himself to us. It is by faith that God reveals and manifests Himself in all things. By faith, the veil is torn aside to reveal the eternal truth. By means of faith, we should be able to aspire after God and live for Him alone” (de Caussade). Here is where we discover authentic intimacy with God and where we truly embrace the attitudes and examples of the mystics.

13 thoughts on “Novice Embracing the Mystics: a Journey of Faith”

  1. PHILIP says:

    Brother Andre of St. Joseph’s,Montreal,Canada was a mystic & heavily relied on the teachings of St. John of the Cross & contemplation of Our Lord’s passion for his inspiration and strength to carry out his ministry.

  2. Because of timing issues, I was able to listen to just one of Fr. Charlie’s sessions. Although he did give examples of faith-filled people who are recognized saints (God seekers), I felt inspired to be aware of mystics in my own midst-my own Sisters in community-whose example offer proof of God’s nearness and love. Thanks, Sister Regina Rose, for sharing your own profound mystical reflections with all of us.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Thank you, Sister Regina Rose for this witness. I am a catholic convert desperate to unite more closely with Christ. Your writing is very helpful.

  4. Jacqueleen says:

    We can do nothing without the grace and power of the Holy Spirit who is the secret of all holiness. Pray to the Holy Spirit to dwell within you and empower you with His gifts and fruits. This is the heart of holiness……Jesus’ gift to us, our Helper. Attend a Life in the Spirit seminar. You will be so happy that you found out about the Holy Spirit and how He works in our lives.
    Come Holy Spirit, Come! Allow the Holy Spirit to transform your life.

  5. Sister Natalie says:

    Thank you, Sister Regina Rose, for summarizing the class on Mysticism so well.Yes, awareness is basic to being open to the daily invitations that Our Lord offers us to grow in deeper relationship with Him.

  6. Sister Mary Ann says:

    Jesus does call us to be “seekers of what we cannot see but believe, to embrace the ordinary that we might see something new.” Thank you Sister Regina Rose for sharing that we are all called to be mystics, Jesus is always desiring for us to go deeper to discover Him as our center!

  7. Susan Martin says:

    Thank you, Sister Regina Rose. I wrote a few notes to help me focus on my journey during Lent.

  8. There’s someone advertising that I don’t think you want to be associated with. “News from comedy central Bro-Dependent….” it’s under a title of “Recommended Content” from your blog.This perverse sort of thing is happening all over Catholic sites…

  9. Sister Mariella says:

    Sister Regina Rose, you did a wonderful job in summarizing the class by Father Charlie. Yes, we are all called to mysticism at varying degrees. Cleaning out our “junk: isn’t easy and when we do it we must allow God to fill in the emptiness with Himself. We are on a life-long journey of love. God is Love and He is with us all the way inviting us to share His very life and to witness to others on the journey. We are made for God and our hearts are restless until they rest in God.
    Today so many people are looking for fulfillment in emptiness. We are in relationship with God who created us and when we choose not to need God we chose a life of slow self-destruction. Your writing inspires all who read it ti seek the True and the Good and The Beautiful -GOD.
    Thank you and God bless.

  10. Sister Annette says:

    Sister Regina Rose, your words summarizing your week with Father on Mysticism are so full of food for thought and prayer. It is good to be reminded of that “mindfulness” which we all need to work to attain. Father de Caussade’s writings are as meaningful to us today as when he first wrote them. And your words are so well put. You have a gift! Thank you for sharing it.

  11. We’ll look into this. Thank you.

  12. We did some changing of settings. Thanks, Kathleen, for taking the time to point this out to us.

  13. Ramanie says:

    Dear Sister Regina Rose,
    Thank you for this wonderful article. I have read the book “Abandonment to Divine Providence” by Jean-Pierre De Caussade which is a wonderful classic. Hope others can read too. May God Bless you.

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