SEASONS OF THE SOUL : The Liturgical Year as Mystical Journey Epiphany 2
Epiphany as a season of the church year evolved during my lifetime.I’m grateful for this innovation.The church celebrates a season characterized by increasing increments of light, love, and insight, from the shining of a star to the brilliance of the Transfiguration. The story of the manifestation of Christ progresses through the miracles, teachings, and healings in the Galilean ministry.The theophany over the Jordan and the theophany over the mountain begins and completes this chapter of Jesus’ life. Epiphanytide provides a sustained meditation on the person of Jesus, the call to discipleship, and perception of the Divine Presence among us and, as a season of the soul, a way to reflect upon Christ’s radiant manifestation within the interior life. –S.G
This week's meditation prompts for Epiphany II: "cleanse the doors of perception" "the inner choir" "to know and be known"
Epiphany from the Greek phainein to bring to light, to cause to appear, to show; epiphainein to manifest, epiphainea appearance Latin epiphania. Epiphany n: a festival observed on January 6, commemorating the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles; an appearance of manifestation esp.of a divine being, a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something; an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking. WORD STORM: manifestations, appearances, evidences, awareness, inspiration, glimpses, intuitions, insights, presences, signs, realizations, radiant light, illuminations, consciousness, epiphanies. Light, brightness, ray, beam, dawn, shine, shimmer, splendor, illumine, radiance, glow.
Meditation Prompt 1 "cleanse the doors of perception"
Jesus says to Nathanael in this week's Gospel, "Very truly, I tell you you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." John 1:51
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.” William Blake (1757-1827)
Meditation Prompt 3 "to know and be known"
"You have searched me out and known me, you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar." Psalm 139:1 "Samuel did not yet know the Lord..." 1 Sam.3:7 "Where did you get to know me?" Nathanael to Jesus, John 1:48
(sentences from the propers for Epiphany 2, year B)
Arise, shine, for your light has come. (photo by Sr.CatherineGraceCHS)
The Illuminative Way
The very object of the Church’s teaching is never to supply the soul’s need, but to start it upon the following of Jesus, in order that it may meet our Lord face to face, receive His invitation, and follow on with Him to the personal manifestation of Himself. - George Congreve, The Spiritual Order, 1905. p.83
We may, perhaps, come to recognize that all human faculties are faculties for receiving this light of the higher life, the personal manifestation of Christ to the soul. ibid. p 88
Once the soul is purified from past faults by a long and arduous penance, in keeping with the number and gravity of those faults, once it has been grounded in virtue through the practice of meditation, of mortification, and resistance to the disordered inclinations and to temptations, then it enters into the illuminative way.This state of the spiritual life is thus named because the great aim of the soul is now the imitation, the Following of Christ, by the positive exercise of the Christian virtues; Jesus is the Light of the World, and whosoever follows Him walks not in darkness: “He that followeth me walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”John 8:12 - Adolphe Tanquerey,The Spiritual Life:A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology ,1923, p.454
...such a lifting of consciousness from a self-centered to a God-centered world, is of the essence of illumination. Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism, p.234
Heavenly Bridegroom and Bride, Unknown, Flemish Master c.1465
Meditation Prompt 2 “the inner choir” The noble Sophia draweth near in the essence of the soul, and kisseth it in a friendly manner and tinctureth; it is a dark fire with her rays of love, and shineth through it with her bright and powerful influence. Penetrating with the strong sense and feeling of which, the soul skippeth in its body for great joy and in the strength of this virgin love exulteth and praiseth the great God for His blessed gift of grace. I will set down here a short description how it is. When the bride thus embraceth the bridegroom, for the consideration of the reader who perhaps hath not yet been in this wedding chamber. It may be he will be desirous to follow us and to enter into the inner Choir, where the soul joineth hands and danceth with Sophia or the Divine Wisdom."Jacob Boehme (1575-1624) The Way to Christ
Anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1Corinthians 6:17 (from Sunday's epistle)
Jacob's Dream, Jusepe de Ribera, 1639, Museo del Prado
Collect for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illuminedby your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.