Monthly Archives: February 2008

Of “Practice the Presence”, “God’s Heart”, “Pursue”, “Seek”, “Abide”, “God’s Face”

God’s WORD

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets
are gone out into the world.”—1 John 4:1

“…they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”
—2 Thessalonians 2:10,11

In the researching I’ve done and am doing, I continue to run into phrases that
are troubling because I do not find the words, the phrases or the concepts
in the Bible. Today’s post will discuss “Pursue the Heart of God” and
“Practice the Presence of God.”

Pursue, pursuit, pursuing
Verses with a form of pursue usually had to do with one’s enemy. The Hebrew word was also translated “follow after,” and several times there were verses that talked about “follow after righteousness,” and one that said “…pursue peace,”
but there were none that said pursue God or pursue God’s heart.

“I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did
I turn again till they were consumed.”—Psalm 18:37

“Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.“—Hosea 8:3

Practice the Presence of God
The words “practice” and “practicing” are not in the Bible. Being in the
Presence of God is not to be taken lightly.

“As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.“—Psalm 68:2

“The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.”—Psalm 68:8

“Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob;“—Psalm 114:7

“…and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in
the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of
the Lamb:
“—Revelation 14:10

“Heart of God”
There are only two verses that have “heart of God,” and in each case the person being talked to is prideful because he has “set his heart as the heart of God.” (Ezekiel 28:2, 6)

The Bible tells us about our hearts…and it is not a pretty picture. How can people with wicked hearts, even if they have been redeemed, even consider pursuing the “heart of God”? It is God who searches our hearts and understands our thoughts.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.“—Genesis 6:5

“And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:”—Numbers 15:39

“But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.”—Jeremiah 7:24

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”—Jeremiah 17:9

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”—Romans 1:21

“…They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.“—Hebrews 3:10

Where did the idea of Pursue God’s Heart come from?
I am wondering if the idea of “God’s Heart” is related to the “sacred heart” of Mary or Jesus. Perhaps you would be interested about the possible pagan roots of this concept. Here is a short excerpt from Hislop’s Two Babylons.

“…It is not very long since the worship of the “Sacred Heart” was first introduced; and now, everywhere it is the favourite worship. It was so in ancient Babylon, as is evident from the Babylonian system as it appeared in Egypt. There also a “Sacred Heart” was venerated. The “Heart” was one of the sacred symbols of Osiris when he was born again…borne in the arms of his mother Isis.”

“…the fruit of the Egyptian Persea was peculiarly sacred to him, from its resemblance to the “HUMAN HEART.” Hence this infant divinity was
frequently represented with a heart, or the heart-shaped fruit of the Persea,
in one of his hands…

“As the boy-god, whose symbol was the heart, was recognised as the god of childhood, this very satisfactorily accounts for one of the peculiar customs of the Romans. Kennett tells us, in his Antiquities, that the Roman youths, in their tender years, used to wear a golden ornament suspended from their necks, called bulla, which was hollow, and heart-shaped.

“The veneration of the “sacred heart” seems also to have extended to India, for there Vishnu, the Mediatorial god, in one of his forms, with the mark of the wound in his foot, in consequence of which he died, and for which such lamentation is annually made, is represented as wearing a heart suspended
on his breast.

“It is asked, How came it that the “Heart” became the recognised symbol of the Child of the great Mother? The answer is, “The Heart” in Chaldee is “BEL”; and as, at first, after the check given to idolatry, almost all the most important elements of the Chaldean system were introduced under a veil…

“Now, the worship of the “Sacred Heart” was just, under a symbol, the worship of the “Sacred Bel,” that mighty one of Babylon, who had died a martyr for idolatry; for Harpocrates, or Horus, the infant god, was regarded as Bel,
born again…

“When Bel, however was born again as a child, he was, as we have seen, represented as an incarnation of the sun. Therefore, to indicate his connection with the fiery and burning sun, the “sacred heart” was frequently represented as a “heart of flame.” So the “Sacred Heart” of Rome is actually worshipped as a flaming heart, as may be seen on the rosaries devoted to that worship…”

Correcting Error with the Bible
Reminders on Who God is

For our God is a consuming fire.”—Hebrews 12:29

“God is not a man, that he should lie…”—Numbers 23:19

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”—John 4:24

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”—Isaiah 55:8

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”—Isaiah 55:9

“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
—1 Corinthans 2:11

“…for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.”—1 Chronicles 28:9

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
—John 14:6

Seek God’s face
As so often happens with false prophets, they get God’s Words mixed up. We seek God’s face with our whole heart…we don’t pursue God’s heart.

“Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.”—1 Chronicles 16:11

“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.”—Psalm 27:8

“Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.”—Psalm 105:4

“Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.”—Psalm 119:2

“And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”—2 Chronicles 12:14

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”—Jeremiah 29:13

We abide in Jesus and His WORDS abide in us

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”—John 15:4

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
—John 15:7

Regarding the Presence of God
Jesus appears in the presence of God for us! And He is seeking us.

“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”—Hebrews 9:24

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”—Luke 19:10

The Bible does not tell us to Practice God’s Presence, or Pursue God’s Heart to get closer to Him.

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”—Acts 3:19

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”—Isaiah 59:2

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”—Isaiah 1:18

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”—James 4:8

“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:”—Acts 17:27

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”—Psalm 139:23, 24

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”—Hebrews 4:12

“I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.”—1 John 2:12

Revisiting Brother Lawrence, Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

God’s WORD

” To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
—Jude 1:25

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”—Hebrews 12:2

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”—John 3:30

“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”—Jude 1:21

We have discussed Brother Lawrence, his “Practice the Presence of God” book, his reference to “the All” and the tie in with paganism, specifically, Hermitic beliefs which would seem to be the basis of about every false belief system. You may also have noticed an aspect of mysteries or keeping things in secret.

Two Babylons, written by Alexander Hislop initially in 1853, gives much research relating to the roots of this all encompassing pagan system. I am going to quote from his book, giving links to the chapters that are online. Rev. Hislop wrote at a time where vocabulary and content of books took more than a casual glance. Here are a few excerpts from “Two Babylons” regarding the roots of this false system that continues to this day.

Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop
Preface to the second edition.
“…the Babylonian legends…were all intended primarily to commemorate facts that took place in the early history for the post-diluvian world. But along with them were mixed up the momentous events in the history of our first parents. These events as can be distinctly proved, were commemorated in the secret system of Babylon with a minuteness and particularity of detail of which the ordinary student of antiquity can have little conception.

The post-diluvian divinities were connected with the ante-diluvian patriarchs, and the first progenitors of the human race, by means of the mete-psychosis; and the names given to them were skillfully selected, so as to be capable of divers meanings, each of these meanings having reference to some remarkable feature in the history of the different patriarchs referred to. The knowledge of this fact is indispensable to the unravelling of the labyrintine subject of Pagan mythology, which, with all its absurdities and abominations…”

Chapter II Section II The Child in Assyria p. 25-26
“…Cush, as the son of Ham, was Her-mes or Mercury; for Hermes is just an Egyptian synonym for the “son of Ham.”**

** The composition of Her-mes is, first, from “Her,” which, in Chaldee, is synonymous with Ham, or Khem, “the burnt one.” As “her” also, like Ham, signified “The hot or burning one,” this name formed a foundation for covertly identifying Ham with the “Sun,” and so deifying the great patriarch, after whose name the land of Egypt was called, in connection with the sun…

“…Hermes… the great original prophet of idolatry…was recognised by the pagans as the author of their religious rites, and the interpreter of the gods…after that Mercury interpreted the speeches of men (whence an interpreter is called Hermeneutes), the same individual distributed the nations. Then discord began.”

Chapter 1 Distinctive Character of the 2 Systems
“…Their primary object was to introduce privately, by little and little, under the seal of secrecy and the sanction of an oath, what it would not have been safe all at once and openly to propound…The Chaldean Mysteries can be traced up to the days of Semiramis, who lived only a few centuries after the flood, and who is known to have impressed upon them the image of her own depraved and polluted mind…she was worshipped as Rhea, the great MOTHER of the gods, with such atrocious rites as identified her with Venus, the MOTHER of all impurity…”

* Even among the initiated there was a difference. Some were admitted only to the “Lesser Mysteries”; the “Greater” were for a favoured few. Wilkinson: “Ancient Egyptians”

“…That object was to bind all mankind in blind and absolute submission to a hierarchy entirely dependent on the sovereigns of Babylon…all knowledge, sacred and profane, came to be monopolised by the priesthood, who dealt it out to those who were initiated in the Mysteries exactly as they saw fit…Thus the people, wherever the Babylonian system spread, were bound neck and heel to
the priests. The priests were the only depositaries of religious knowledge…”

“But this feature of Mystery has adhered to it throughout its whole course.
When it had once succeeded in dimming the light of the Gospel, obscuring the
fulness and freeness of the grace of God, and drawing away the souls of men
from direct and immediate dealings with the One Grand Prophet and High
Priest of our profession, a mysterious power was attributed to the clergy,
which gave them dominion over the faith of the people—a dominion directly
disclaimed by apostolic men (2 Cor 1:24), but which, in connection with the
confessional, has become at least as absolute and complete as was ever
possessed by Babylonian priest over those initiated in the ancient Mysteries…Salverte refer(s) to this confession as observed in Greece, in rites that can be clearly traced to a Babylonian origin: “All the Greeks, from Delphi to Thermopylae, were initiated in the Mysteries of the temple of Delphi…”

Chapter II Section II The Deification of the Child
“…It was easy for those who controlled the Mysteries, having discovered secrets that were then unknown to the mass of mankind, and which they carefully preserved in their own exclusive keeping, to give them what might seem ocular demonstration, that Tammuz, who had been slain, and for whom such lamentations had been made, was still alive, and encompassed with divine and heavenly glory…

“Thus the whole system of the secret Mysteries of Babylon was intended to glorify a dead man; and when once the worship of one dead man was established, the worship of many more was sure to follow…Thus, too, the way was paved for bringing in all the abominations and crimes of which the Mysteries became the scenes; for, to those who liked not to retain God in their knowledge, who preferred some visible object of worship, suited to the sensuous feelings of their carnal minds, nothing could seem a more cogent reason for faith or practice than to hear with their own ears a command given forth amid so glorious a manifestation apparently by the very divinity they adored.

“The scheme, thus skilfully formed, took effect. Semiramis gained glory from
her dead and deified husband; and in course of time both of them, under the
names of Rhea and Nin, or Goddess-Mother and Son, were worshipped with
an enthusiasm that was incredible, and their images were everywhere set up
and adored.”

Chapter IV Section II Justification by works
“…[I]n regard to justification, the Chaldean doctrine was that it was by works
and merits of men themselves that they must be justified and accepted of God.

“The following remarks of Christie in his observations appended to Ouvaroff’s Eleusinian Mysteries, show that such was the case: “Mr. Ouvaroff has suggested that one of the great objects of the Mysteries was the presenting to fallen man the means of his return to God. These means were the cathartic virtues–(i.e., the virtues by which sin is removed), by the exercise of which a corporeal life was to be vanquished.

“Accordingly the Mysteries were termed Teletae, ‘perfections,’ because they were supposed to induce a perfectness of life. Those who were purified by them were styled Teloumenoi and Tetelesmenoi, that is, ‘brought…to perfection,’ which depended on the exertions of the individual.”

Chapter VI Section I The Sovereign Pontiff p. 208-209
“…The priest who explained the Mysteries to the initiated was sometimes called by a Greek term, the Hierophant; but in primitive Chaldee, the real language of the Mysteries, his title, as pronounced without the points, was Peter–i.e., “the interpreter.” As the revealer of that which was hidden, nothing was more natural than that, while opening up the esoteric doctrine of the Mysteries, he should be decorated with the keys of the two divinities whose mysteries he unfolded…

“…[W]e have the strongest evidence that, in countries far removed from one another, and far distant from Rome, these keys were known by initiated Pagans not merely as the keys of Peter, but as the keys of a Peter identified with Rome.

“In the Eleusinian Mysteries at Athens, when the candidates for initiation were instructed in the secret doctrine of Paganism, the explanation of that doctrine was read to them out of a book called by ordinary writers the Book Petroma;
that is, as we are told, a book formed of stone. But this is evidently just a play
upon words, according to the usual spirit of Paganism, intended to amuse the
vulgar. The nature of the case, and the history of the Mysteries, alike show that this book could be none other than the Book Pet-Roma; that is, the Book of the
Grand Interpreter
, in other words, of Hermes Trismegistus, the great Interpreter
of the Gods
.”

God’s WORD

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”—2 Thessalonians 2:8–10

“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.”—Revelation 21:22

“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”—Revelation 21:27

Revisiting Brother Lawrence, Part 2

Part 1

God’s WORD

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”—Ephesians 2:13

The All for the All
Not only is there no reference to the shed blood of our LORD and Saviour,
Jesus Christ, in Brother Lawrence’s, “Practicing the Presence of God,” but in
the First Letter, there is a reference to the occult, pagan, mystical, “the All”.

Excerpt from Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
“Having found in many books different methods of going to God and diverse practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become wholly God’s. This made me resolve to give the all for the All.” 


Part 2, and Part 3 will discuss the roots of “the All” that Lawrence mentioned. In Part 1, it was said that Brother Lawrence spent time in the desert like the Desert Fathers. You may remember the Desert Fathers were ascetics and mystics—the definitions of the terms you can read on my 2000 Year 6 A post. This post will add some terms to that list.

The All
The All (also called The One, The Absolute, The Great One, The Creator, The Supreme Mind, The Supreme Good, The Father, and The Universal Mother) is the Hermetic or panentheistic view of God, which is that everything that is, or at least that can be experienced, collectively makes up The All…the All can also seen to be androgenous, possessing both masculine and feminine qualities…”

Hermeticism
In Hermetic religion the supreme Deity, or Principle, is referred to variously as ‘God’, ‘The All’, or ‘The One’. Many Hermeticists also align their beliefs and mystical ideas with other religions, “Christianity”, Buddhism, Judaism, mainstream Paganism, or Islam. Many hold that all great religions have equivalent mystical truths at their core, and that all religions share an understanding of esoteric tenets with Hermeticism.

Hermetic beliefs
Hermeticism encompasses both panentheism and Monistic-polytheism within its belief system, which teaches that there is The All, or one “Cause”, of which we, and the entire universe, are all a part. These beliefs are claimed to have come from Egypt…

The All and reality
In the Hermetic belief system, all is in the mind of The All. Hermeticism acknowledges that there exist many gods, but that these deities, along with all other beings, exist within, and are created by, The ALL…

Hermes Trismegistus
Hermes Trismegistus (Greek: “thrice-great Hermes”; Latin: Mercurius ter Maximus) is the syncretism of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth…

Hermetic Qabalah
Hermetic Qabalah is a Western esoteric and mystical tradition. It forms the underlying philosophy and framework for magical societies such as the Golden Dawn and Thelemic orders, mystical societies such as the Builders of the Adytum and the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, and is a precursor to the Neopagan, Wiccan and New Age

It draws on a great many influences, most notably: Jewish Kabbalah, Western astrology, tarot, alchemy, pagan religions (especially Egyptian and Greco-roman), neoplatonism, gnosticism, the Enochian system of angelic magic of John Dee, hermeticism, rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and tantra…

As above, so below
Hermes Trismegistus’s axiom, “As Above, So Below” is a key metaphysical concept that is captured in various forms in addition to Hermes’ Emerald Tablet. These words circulate throughout occult and magical circles, and they come from Hermetic texts…

Mystical Union
Unio Mystica is a term meaning ‘Mystical Union’ describing the concept common to all mystical traditions—Kabbalah, Sufism, Vedanta, Esoteric Christianity…A common theme in mysticism is that the mystic and all of reality are One…The state of oneness has many names depending on the mystical system: Illumination, Union (Christianity), Irfan (Islam), Nirvana (Buddhism), Moksha (Jainism), Samadhi (Hinduism), to name a few…

Mysticism
Mysticism is from the Greek mystikos—an initiate of the Eleusinian Mysteries; mysteria meaning “initiation” is the pursuit of achieving communion, identity with, or conscious awareness of ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight.

Eleusinian Mysteries
The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. Begun in the c. 1500 BC, they later spread to Rome. The rites, cultist worships, and beliefs were kept secret, as initiation was believed to unite the worshipper with the gods and included promises of divine power…

Secrets
“…For example, only initiates knew what the kiste, a sacred chest, and the kalathos, a lidded basket, contained. The contents, like so much about the Mysteries, are unknown. However, one researcher writes that this Cista (“kiste”) contained a golden mystical serpent, egg, a phallus and possibly also seeds sacred to Demeter.[9]

Some traditions and philosophies with strong elements of mysticism
Bahá’í Faith, The Fourth Way, Ghost Dance (Nineteenth Century Native American), Gnosticism (“Christian”), Hesychasm (Eastern Orthodox), Kabbalah (“Judaism”, “Christianity”, Occult), Mormonism, Mystery religions, National mysticism, Nazi mysticism, Occult, Religious Society of Friends, The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception (Rosicrucian), Sufism (Islam), Taoism, Theistic Satanism, Thelemic mysticism (Thelema), Tibetan Buddhism, Transcendentalism (Unitarianism), Vedanta (Hinduism), Yoga (Hinduism), Zen (Buddhism).

God’s WORD

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”—Hebrews 11:6

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
“—Acts 17:30, 31

Part 3

Revisiting Brother Lawrence, Part 1

God’s WORD

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”—Ephesians 2:13

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”—Hebrews 9:14

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”—1 Peter 1:18, 19

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”—1 John 1:7

“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”—1 John 5:6

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”—Revelation 1:5

In the next three posts, I will revisit Brother Lawrence, write some more about his life, quote some excerpts from his book, “Practice the Presence of God,” (including his statement regarding “the All”), and then discuss the Satanic roots
of “the All,” which has been such a part of mysticism from around the world and throughout the ages.

Nicholas Herman aka Brother Lawrence (abt 1610 to 1691)
Nicholas (Brother Lawrence) was born in France, and when a young man, fought in the Thirty Years War in which a near fatal injury to his sciatic nerve left him quite crippled and in chronic pain. Nicholas received some of his education from the parish priest he admired, and whose first name was Lawrence. After leaving the army, Nicholas spent time living like the early desert fathers, afterwhich, he served as a footman in private service before entering a monastery in Paris at mid-life. In this newly established monastery, Brother Lawrence became the community cook. After 15 years, he changed to repairing sandals, but often returned to the kitchen to help.

After his death, a few of Brother Lawrence’s letters were published by Joseph De Beaufort, counsel to the Paris archbishop, who had interviewed Brother Lawrence when he was in his late fifties and in charge of upkeep of 100 pairs of sandals. The next year, when Beaufort published the letters, he titled the small book, “Practice the Presence of God”, and added four conversations he had had with Brother Lawrence as an introduction.

From the First Conversation:
The first time I saw Brother Lawrence was on the 3rd of August, 1666. He told me that God had done him a singular favor in his conversion at the age of eighteen. During that winter, upon seeing a tree stripped of its leaves and considering that, within a little time, the leaves would be renewed and, after that, the flowers and fruit appear; Brother Lawrence received a high view of the providence and power of God which has never since been effaced from his soul. This view had perfectly set him free from the world and kindled in him such a love for God, that he could not tell whether it had increased in the forty years that he had lived since.

My comment
A conversion is when you acknowledge you are a sinner, and trust in Jesus’ shed blood on the cross as your only way to God. There is no relationship with God except through Jesus. This is a Christ-less, cross-less conversion, and hence, not a conversion. There is no good in us.

God’s WORD

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”—Jeremiah 17:9

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth
no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how
to perform that which is good I find not.”—Romans 7:18

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade
as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken
us away.”—Isaiah 64:6

“They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good,
no, not one.”—Romans 3:12

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
—John 14:6

Second Conversation:
“Brother Lawrence told me he had always been governed by love without selfish views. Since he resolved to make the love of God the end of all his actions, he had found reasons to be well satisfied with his method…He said he had been long troubled in mind from a certain belief that he should be damned…This trouble of mind lasted four years, during which time he suffered greatly.
Finally he reasoned: I did not engage in a religious life but for the love of God. I have endeavored to act only for Him. Whatever becomes of me, whether I be lost or saved, I will always continue to act purely for the love of God. I shall have this good at least that until death I shall have done all that is in me to love Him…”

Skipping to the Letters
Introduction: Brother Lawrence’s letters are the very heart and soul of what is titled ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’. All of these letters were written during the last ten years of his life. Many of them were to long-time friends, a Carmelite sister and another nun at a nearby convent. One or both of these friends were from his native village, perhaps relatives.

First Letter: You so earnestly desire that I describe the method by which I arrived at that habitual sense of God’s presence, which our merciful Lord has been pleased to grant me…The account I can give you is: Having found in many books different methods of going to God and diverse practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become wholly God’s. This made me resolve to give the all for the All. After having given myself wholly to God to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not God; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world…

My comment
The LORD Jesus gave everything for me, I have NOTHING to give Him. He offers me forgiveness and a new life with His righteousness—something Brother Lawrence didn’t seem to understand.

From Letter 2
For the first years, I commonly employed myself during the time set apart for devotion with thoughts of death, judgment, hell, heaven, and my sins. I continued, for some years, applying my mind carefully the rest of the day, and even in the midst of my work, to the presence of God, whom I considered always as with me, often as in my heart…Ever since that time I walk before God simply, in faith, with humility, and with love. I apply myself diligently to do nothing and think nothing which may displease Him. I hope that when I have done what I can, He will do with me what He pleases.

Fourth Letter
I am taking this opportunity to tell you about the sentiments of one of our society concerning the admirable effects and continual assistance he receives from the presence of God. May we both profit by them. For the past forty years his continual care has been to be always with God; and to do nothing, say nothing, and think nothing which may displease Him. He does this without any view or motive except pure love of Him and because God deserves infinitely more. He is now so accustomed to that divine presence that he receives from God continual comfort and peace. For about thirty years his soul has been filled with joy and delight so continual, and sometimes so great, that he is forced to find ways to hide their appearing outwardly to others who may not understand.

My Comment
The biblical idea is that only God is glorified, not how devoted I am to Him.

God’s WORD

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

“And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 1:28–31

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”—Romans 3:19, 20

Part 2

Part 3

Contemplative Prayer and “House of Prayer” Websites, Part 2

(Updated March 2009)
God’s WORD

    “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”—Acts 26:18

    “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith
    to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
    —Romans 1:17

    “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…”
    —Romans 3:22

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;”—Romans 1:16–18

    “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

    “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an
    angel of light.

    “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end
    shall be according to their works.”—2 Corinthians 11:13–15

International House of Prayer, Mike Bickle/Lou Engle (ihop.org)
Part 2 of Contemplative Prayer and “House of Prayer” Websites, compares the
IHOP website which focuses on prayer (24 hours/day and 365 days/year and in the night), instructions of how to pray scripture (known as lectio divina on monastic sites and in the emergent and Roman churches), directions on contemplative prayer, the bride of Christ, the heart of God, intimacy with Jesus, and intimacy with God, with the Carmelites, and the experience and writings of mystics, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross who seek a mystical union with God through contemplative prayer. [You may be interested in reading 2000 Years of Deception and Error Part 9 A–E: Carmelites, just click on the “2000 Years of the Church category.”]

The IHOP group is especially troublesome because of its major wresting of scriptures and hence, bad doctrine. The following are quotes from the IHOP website showing IHOPs similarity to the Carmelite beliefs.

Bridal Paradigm

The Bridegroom Message is a Call to Active Intimacy with God. The Bridal message speaks of God’s invitation for us to experience the deep things of His heart…To enjoy active intimacy with Jesus includes feeling His heart for us. The Bridal message speaks of experiencing Jesus’ emotions..

OneThing Young Adult Internship

“…This program is a prophetic call to the abandoned pursuit of the heart of God…for single young adults 18–25 years of age…by equipping this generation in the place of prayer… full-time intercessors

Fire in the Night

“… Fire in the Night (FITN)…young adults between the ages of 18–30…Track I is an introduction to theological concepts such as the Bride of Christ…We are calling young adults…intensively seek the face of Jesus.

Intro to IHOP

Intro to IHOP-KC is…targeting those that are committing the next 6-12 months to prayer…an intention to join staff at IHOP-KC. The program includes training in IHOP-KC’s worship and prayer model, the message of intimacy with God…new paradigms in healing and prophecy.

Simeon Company

The Simeon Company internship…intense training for mature adults, calling them to renewed abandonment in pursuing the heart of God.…the call to radical lives of prayerEmphasis is given to the themes of intimacy with our Bridegroom-King …Our goal is to see each intern renewed in fiery passion for Jesus

Summer Teen Intensive

Students ages 13–18 will pursue Jesus…to be equipped for a greater awakening of prayer…IHOP–KC Student Ministries is committed to the purposes of God for a generation that hungers to be captured by the love of the beautiful King, Jesus Christ.…The Summer Teen Intensive will be centered around the prayer room

Prayer Room

“…The prayer room is the heartbeat—the essence and the origin—of all that goes on at the IHOP Missions Base…We are offering Jesus unremitting adoration and contending for the manifestation of justice in every realm of life.

“It is our desire to worship Jesus… pouring out our lives before Him. We long for IHOP to be a place of encounter—a place for personal transformation, fresh revelation…”

The Room Setup

“… Devotional Worship meetings provide an atmosphere of “soaking” in the Word of God, having our hearts refreshed in intimacy…

Prayer Room Dynamics

I. What is intercession? (Intercession pdf)
Intercession is intimate partnership and agreement with God—it is intimacy. Prayer is an exchange of romance.  God speaks to us and it moves our hearts. When we speak back to God, His heart is moved.  God desires to establish or deepen this romantic relationship with us. He desires intimacy with us. He wants us to know His heart and more so, to feel the very emotions of His heart, and then He wants to hear us cry out for the longings of His heart to come to pass. His longings become our longings. It’s partnership at the most intimate level possible.

1a. We begin to feel and do what God feels and does.

2. Intercession is partnership. Intercession is the means by which God’s will is established on earth. God does not act apart from human beings partnering with His heart. Intercession expresses the bridal identity of the church. There is nothing more powerful that can fuel God’s heart to move upon the earth than the cry of His bride, whose desires reflect His own.

Prayer Room Resource Manual: Devotional Worship pdf

I. What is Devotional Worship?
Devotional Worship is a prayer format designed to provide an anointed atmosphere of meditation on scripture and for lingering in the presence of God

II. What do I do during a devotional worship set?
A. Contemplative Prayer—Enjoying intimacy with the Godhead by communing with the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, resulting in personal transformation.

Directions follow including praying the Bible or what is commonly called lectio divina on monastic sites I’ve visited.
c. “Behold the Holy Spirit within you. The goal now is to search for and experience God’s presence inside of you, not to only understand God’s Word.”

c.2 ” Once you feel God’s presence, you no longer need to focus on the Scripture. Begin to focus on Jesus’ presence within you.”

c.5 “The outward senses are quiet and your suface thoughts are gone. You are beginning to be consumed by the Spirit of Jesus.”

c.6 “In this time you can stay quiet or silently ask the Spirit to show you a vision.”

My comment
Wow! This is scary stuff! Where in the Bible is this from? If this isn’t from the Bible and the Lord, even though they say it is and make it sound spiritual, then
it must be from Satan and his spiritual kingdom of darkness.

God’s WORD

    “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”—Hebrews 11:6

    “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that
    we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
    —Hebrews 4:16

    “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto
    us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”—1 Corinthians 1:30

    “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
    —Philippians 1:11

    “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”—2 Corinthians 1:12

    “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”—1 John 5:20

Some of the IHOP Books available on ihop.org/Shop/
Categories: Intimacy with Jesus (47) and Contemplative books (23)

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

The Way Of The Heart by Henri Nouwen
Nouwen…interweaves the solitude, silence and prayer of the fourth and fifth century Egyptian Desert fathers with our contemporary search for authentic spirituality…

Longing For You: The Journey from Intercession to Intimacy
by D L Cossu

Clowning In Rome by Nouwen, Henri

Fire Within by Thomas Dubay
Mike Bickle…recommends this book: “I want this book to be the manual for IHOP.” Writings that touch the pure-flaming heart of God.

Collected Works of St. John of the Cross by John of the Cross
Kristen, General Manager…”A must have for any fan of the mystics…It is an excellent book for devotional or contemplative times…

Ascent of Mount Carmel by John of the Cross
“… the latest addition to Paraclete’s distinguished Christian Classics series.

Side Note about Paraclete Press
I will talk about Paraclete Press in a future post. Paraclete Press offers emerging books, monastic spirituality books, Benedictine books as well as others. Basil Pennington, Scot McKnight and Lauren Winner are featured authors.

From their site: Paraclete Press offers ideas, wisdom, and beauty from authors, composers, and artists, drawing from Christian traditions through the centuries and from today, providing resources for those desiring wholeness through Christ. We are the publishing house of the Community of Jesus, a monastic, Christian community in the Benedictine tradition

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers by Benedicta Ward
God is now awakening a worldwide desire among His people to seek the spiritual principles of those early monks and so to increase the quality of their own spiritual lives.

The Lives of the Desert Fathers by Benedicta Ward
Eyewitness accounts of the lives and teachings of the fourth-century Desert Fathers…

A Call To The Secret Place, by Michal Ann Goll
Meet seven remarkable women who said “yes” to A Call to the Secret Place close to God’s heart…. insight into the lives of Jeanne Guyon, Teresa of Avila…

Deep Unto Deep: The Journey of His Embrace by Dana Candler
We are on a wondrous journey of intimacy with God and He… arranged…to bring us into the fullness of His love…exploring the themes of communion with the Holy Spirit and union with God…the very mystical dimensions of connecting with God in a life of prayer.

The Pleasures of God by John Piper
“…John Piper explores a life-changing essential —’We will be most satisfied in God when we know why God himself is most satisfied in God.'”

Jeanne Guyon: An Autobiography by Jeanne Guyon

Experiencing The Depths of Jesus Christ by Jeanne Guyon

Final Steps In Christian Maturity by Jeanne Guyon

The Best of Fenelon by Francois Fenelon
Three of this prolific author’s most famous works: Maxims of the Saints, Spiritual Letters, and Christian Counsel.

Madame Jeanne Guyon and Francois Fenelon
I am including information on two of the above authors, Jeanne Guyon
(Madame Guyon) and Fenelon.

Madame Jeanne Guyon 1648-1717
Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon (Madame Guyon), was a French mystic and one of the key advocates of Quietism.

    Quietism was a Christian philosophy that swept through France,
    Italy and Spain during the 17th century, but it had much earlier
    origins. The mystics known as Quietists insist with more or less
    emphasis on intellectual stillness and interior passivity as
    essential conditions of perfection.

    The state of imperturbable serenity or ataraxia was seen as a desirable state of mind by Epicurus and the Stoic philosophers alike, and by their Roman followers…

    Quietism has been compared to the Buddhist doctrine of Nirvana.

    Quietism states that man’s highest perfection consists of a self-annihilation, and subsequent absorption, of the soul into the Divine,
    even during the present life. In this way, the mind is withdrawn
    from worldly interests to passively and constantly contemplate God…

Note: Notice how wiki comments that Quietism is heretical to the Roman Catholic Church, when, if the matter is studied, the belief system has been absorbed into monastic thought, and very much a part of the Roman Catholic related prayer movements, such as IHOP in this post.

François Fénelon b. 1651
François Fénelon was educated by the Jesuits, became a priest, and spent 3 years preaching to Protestants. In 1688, Fénelon met Madame Guyon, who claimed to have mystical experiences and to have the secret of loving God. She had been imprisoned by the archbishop of Paris in a convent because he feared that she was in error. Fénelon believed in her stoutly; he visited her infrequently but corresponded with her voluminously…In 1695, Fénelon was made archbishop of Cambrai and from then until his death he spent his time in writing, teaching, and preaching. He was appointed tutor to Louis XIV’s grandson…Fenelon’s political ideas were based on the universal brotherhood of man…

God’s WORD

    “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”—Ephesians 5:11

    “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
    —2 Corinthians 11:3, 4

    “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”—Mark 16:15

    “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”—Isaiah 40:8

Contemplative Prayer and “House of Prayer” Websites, Part 1

God’s WORD

“And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save
the world.

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”—John 12:47, 48

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
—John 14:23

The “Contemplative Prayer” and “House of Prayer” Connection
In my “2000 Years of Deception and Error” monastic posts (Desert Fathers, Benedictines and Carmelites so far) I have tried to show the monastic connection with asceticism and mysticism. As I research, I see that asceticism and mysticism are involved in the contemplative prayer and the unbiblical “goal” of a spiritual union with Jesus/God. Because of their experience with the world of darkness, John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila (and others), are elevated to Catholic “Sainthood” and recommended as people to emulate. The focus is on ones experience, even though the Bible tells us our focus is the LORD Jesus Christ
and His WORDS.

The Charism or spiritual focus of the Carmelite Order is Contemplative Prayer. The Discalced Carmelites have a strong prayer emphasis “guided by the teachings and experience of St Teresa of Ávila and St John of the Cross.” Notice: “Each day is marked by silence to create an environment for a house of prayer.”

This got me to wondering about a connection between Contemplative and “Houses of Prayer.” I first googled “house of prayer” and read through the first couple pages. Some of the “houses of prayer” were obviously contemplative. Some of the code words seem to be, intimacy with Jesus, spiritual transformation, intimacy with God, intimate encounter, spiritual warfare, fire, heart, contemplative.

I then googled, “house of prayer”, contemplative. There were 13,100 English pages. Of course, not every listing was a contemplative “house of prayer”, but quite a high percentage seemed to be. Here are a few of the Contemplative “Houses of Prayer” that I found.

Arkansas House of Prayer arkansashouseofprayer.org/calendar.html

An interfaith haven set apart in nature, dedicated to contemplative prayer, meditation and quiet…

Desert House of Prayer deserthouseofprayer.org/index.html

Desert House of Prayer is a center for contemplative prayer in the Christian, Catholic tradition. Located on 31 acres of Sonoran Desert outside Tucson, Arizona, Desert House of Prayer, founded in 1974, is a place and community committed to silence…he accommodations are named after the saints of the mystical tradition (Francis, Teresa, Juan de la Cruz, etc.)

Episcopal House of Prayer ehouseofprayer.org/

Our Vision is to be a ministry of spiritual transformation at the heart of the Episcopal diocese of Minnesota.

Our Mission is assisting in the ongoing work of discerning God’s voice, both within ourselves and in the world; providing guidance
in the search for wisdom; teaching forms of contemplative prayer; and offering training in the inner work of the spiritual life.

The Episcopal House of Prayer is situated on five acres of wooded land provided by St. John’s Abbey, a Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery in Collegeville, Minnesota….

Francis House of Prayer fhop.org/about.html

Francis House of Prayer serves the people of the Diocese of Trenton and beyond by providing a contemplative environment for prayer, spiritual direction, retreats and programs that foster a deepening relationship with God and ongoing spiritual growth.

International House of Prayer, Atlanta
ihop-atlanta.com/page.php?p=encounter_service

The IHOP-Atlanta Encounter Service is a unique gathering that provides an atmosphere of freedom of worship…Each service is geared to call individuals to a depth of the knowledge of God, intimacy with Jesus, urgency for the hour, and the Sermon on the Mount lifestyle. We desire that each service would be a “heaven-opening” event contributing to the corporate prayer movement throughout the city…

Lebh Shomea House of Prayer lebhshomea.org/overview.htm

As we continue our spiritual journey, we join with all people who have faith in a loving God: Christians, Moslems, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and all other spiritual seekers in the family of God.

Lebh Shomea (pronounced in Hebrew “lev show-mae-a”) is a Christian community of men and women under the auspices of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. (omiusa.org/) Our lifestyle is contemplative-eremitical.
 
Everyone at Lebh Shomea—guests included—participates in the contemplative-eremitical life of the House of Prayer.  Moreover, there are hermits living in permanent hermitages situated at remote sites on the property.
 
Guests who share our desert silence for indefinite periods are welcome year ’round.  With the exception of meals and the Celebration of the Eucharist each day, there is no predetermined schedule, no imposed structure, only the freedom and creativity of solitude.…we are always available to listen heartfully to anyone seeking spiritual direction.  One of the few more structured programs that we do offer is an Individual Desert Experience of forty days and forty nights.

House of Prayer for All Nations, Madison, Wisconsin houseofprayerforallnationsmadison.org/

What is the House of Prayer for All Nations?
It is a place for personal, intimate encounter with God… with a heart to minister to an audience of One. Prayer and worship ministry will have a variety of expressions reflecting the various expressions in the body of Christ. Our dream is that this house will become a place where the furnace of worship and prayer ignites a greater passion for God throughout the body of Christ in our community.

God’s WORD

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”—John 14:15

“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another,
as I have loved you.”—John 15:10–12

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.—Galatians 5:22–26

“For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;”—Ephesians 5:9

2000 Years of Deception and Error, Part 9 E: Carmelites: In their own Words

God’s Holy WORD

“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:”
—Acts 13:38

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”—Acts 26:18

“And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”—Hebrews 12:24

In doing the research for these posts in Part 9: Carmelite Order and John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, I was surprised at the emphasis on and acceptance of a mystical union with God and the contemplative prayer which seems to be the vehicle by which one would attain that unbiblical goal.

To prove that this is really the focus (although there are other unbiblical ideas, too), I am going to quote from different Carmelite Sites. How can it be that nuns marry Jesus/God. Is this achieved through this mystical spiritual union that Teresa of Avila achieved? Too sad for words. This is Satan’s kingdom of darkness.

God’s WORD testifies of the LORD Jesus Christ, of his coming to earth to rescue sinners from Satan’s world of darkness by shedding his blood.

God’s WORD

“…and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
—Hebrews 9:22

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest
by the blood of Jesus,
“—Hebrews 10:19

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
—Ephesians 1:7

Now for quotes from different Carmelite sites, a list of some Carmelite Monasteries around the world, and of course, some Bible verses. Sometimes Jesus is mentioned, and even a Bible verse…DO NOT be deceived.

carmelitemonastery.com/about/about.html

In the 16th century, laxity had crept into many of the religious Orders. At that critical point, the Holy Spirit raised up two great Spanish saints, Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross, to restore to its primitive fervor the Order of Carmel.  To this day, through the example of their lives and their spiritual writings, they continue to stir up the fire of Divine Love in the hearts of many throughout the world. They draw willing souls after them in the pursuit of union with God, in imitation of Mary, who first showed us how to love and serve the Son of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Carmelite Nuns do not engage in apostolic works per se. Their mission in the Church is that of prayer.  For this reason, they seek a place apart, so that they may live a life of intense prayer at the service of the Church and all humankind.

The nuns take Solemn Vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  Since their ministry in the Church is solely one of prayer and silent witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ…Perhaps you feel that the Lord is calling you to a life of deeper prayer and greater intimacy with Himself

carmelnet.org/html/aboutus.html

The Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary is a religious community of men in the Catholic Church, whose members, responding to the hunger for God in themselves and in the world, answer an interior call to prayer, community and ministry.

We embrace an eight century contemplative prophetic tradition of Gospel living, patterned on the Carmelite Rule and inspired by Elijah and Mary. As contemplatives, we seek to live consciously in the presence of God and to affirm and challenge one another by living a prayerful life in common. As prophets, we walk with people, announcing God’s presence, denouncing oppression, and promoting the well-being of the human family…in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Peru.

ocd.or.at/eng/ocd.htm

The Carmelites are a religious order within the Catholic Church…Our order, the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, received its Rule at the beginning of the 13th century from Albert, the patriarch of Jerusalem, and takes the prophet Elijah and Mary, the Mother of God, as its models for following in the footsteps of Christ (in obsequio Jesu Christi).
Our community was reformed in the 16th Century by Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, and our vocation is to foster the contemplative life and to show people the way to friendship with God. Therese of Lisieux, Elisabeth of the Holy Trinity, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, and Edith Stein, along with many other holy Carmelite men and women, both guide us and serve as shining examples of our spirit.

carmelitemonastery.com/los/los.html
Following Jesus our Spouse and being in His company

Jesus calls us to remain with Him upon the mountain in order to continue upon earth His filial dialogue with the Father, in an eremitical life totally oriented towards prayer and contemplation.…This is our vocation: to continue, in a visible manner, the offering of Jesus to the Father…This exclusive love for Christ, this absolute gift of ourselves, entails the same radicality in what concerns the means: solitude, silence, separation from the world.  Our life of continual prayer requires these.

“The history of God’s relationship to humanity is a history of spousal love, prepared for in the Old Testament, and celebrated in the fullness of time”.

Each one of us is, by vocation, invited to hidden union with God and called to grow in a spousal love always more intimate, in order to become in her daily life an authentic expression of the Church as Bride of Christ…We ardently aspire to this union with Christ our Spouse, living in His company, taking as a sure guide the great experience of the Carmelite mystics, from Elijah to the radical teresian-sanjuanist spirituality, without forgetting the numerous other Saints and mystics of our Order. Contemplation transforms one in a life totally inspired by the gift of Christ Jesus to the Father, in the love of the Holy Spirit, aiming toward making each one of us an “icon of the Transfigured Christ.”

With Mary our Mother, our Patroness and our Queen
Carmel is all Mary’s

Since the time of the first hermits who were dedicated to contemplation and to the cult of Our Lady, the presence of Mary among us penetrates all of our Carmelite vocation.  She is the perfect realization of our ideal, who illumines our steps, and the eminent example of our communal life in the Church. “Always moved by the holy Spirit,” she is the sure way to arrive at mystical union and marks with a particular stamp our sisterly communion and our whole life.  In order to be conformed to Christ and brought to the summit of sanctity, we desire to relive and to continue her presence and her work in the Church

carmelitemonastery.com/marys/marys.html

On April 20, 1997, the Image of the Divine Mercy was enshrined in the chapel of our monastery in Georgetown.  Since that day, we have committed ourselves to intercede for the apostolate, and most recently, for Mary’s Eucharistic Intercessors...groups of lay people being formed across our country and throughout the whole world, to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in intercessory prayer for bishops and priests…

http://members.aol.com/santaclaracarmel/rule.htm

Carmelite nuns of Santa Clara
A life of allegiance to Jesus Christ…

The Rule of the Carmelites converges towards the contemplation of God. With its insistence on continual prayer, obedience to a superior, solitude and simplicity in every phase of life, its exhortation to manual work and its prescription for silence, abstinence and fasting. Since this Rule is completely Christocentric it has been called a “Rule of Mysticism”. [my note: how is this rule Christocentric??]

mission http://members.aol.com/santaclaracarmel/mission.htm
“A life of prayer as seen as friendship with God.”
 
As part of a long contemplative tradition in the Roman Catholic Church, the Carmelite way of life centers on the deepest aspect of our person, our capacity for union with God. Growth in divine intimacy is at the heart of the Carmelite life. Carmel’s mission is to be a prophetic presence in the world that awakens and supports the realization of the life of God in all people and in all creation. Its way is of contemplative prayer

The hermits adopted two models—the “man of God”, Elijah the prophet, who sought the face of God; and Mary, the model of Christian discipleship and type of the true contemplative

http://www.sistersofcarmel.org/
Carmelite Monastery of the Sacred Hearts

Traditional Carmelite Observance
The Carmelite Vocation:
Consecrated to God, to His Work and to His Church
Contemplative, Cloistered, Apostolic, Daily Sacrifice of the Mass; Traditional Latin Mass, Chanting of the Divine Office; Mental prayer, Silence and recollection; Penance, reparation and sacrifice

Prayer and Spiritual life/Spirit of our Carmel
Dedicated to the glory of God, the sanctification of the Sisters and the salvation of souls…Unswerving fidelity to the Tridentine Mass and Liturgy…
Zealous to assist Holy Mother Church
in these days of great crisis and to participate in the work of the priesthood by prayer and sacrifice for souls
Fervent and tender devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph
Community bond based on one Faith, supernatural principles and fraternal charity

Formation
Postulancy: 6 months to 1 year…learns and experiences the cloistered Carmelite life
Novitiate: 1 year… continued training and formation in the spiritual life and Holy Rule of St.Teresa of Avila
Temporary Profession: 3 years under the religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience
Perpetual Profession: Reception of the black veil…a bride of Christ forever!

Discalced Carmelites http://www.discalcedcarmel.com/index.php

We embrace the religious life in friendship and service of Jesus Christ, in imitation of and under the patronage of the Virgin Mary, whose life of faith, simplicity and intimate union with Jesus and his mission, constitutes for us the interior model.

Our vocation aspires to union with God by the way of contemplation and apostolic zeal indissolubly united, and to the formation of a fraternal community as a sign of communion in the world.

Evangelical self-denial, as a capacity for spiritual sacrifice, is a natural disposition because the Gospel, Jesus and His Kingdom are worth it, and because the road to union with God and the mission makes us experience the necessity of the purification and transformation of the heart and of life.

Communities of Carmelite Tradition
Anglican/Episcopal Carmel of St. Teresa
Byzantine Discalced Carmelites
Carmel of Mary
Carmelite Hermits of the Trinity
Carmelite Nuns of Allentown, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Carmelite Nuns of Santa Clara, CA
Carmelites of Britain and Ireland
Carmel of Our Lady of Grace, Christoval, Texas
Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Salt Lake City, Utah
Carmel of the Sacred Heart, Hudson, Wisconsin
Carmelite Monastery, New Zealand
Carmelite Nuns of Eldridge, Iowa
Carmelite Sisters of Baltimore
Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Kirkwood, Missouri
Carmelites of the St. Elias Province in the United States
Discalced Carmelite Friars, California/Arizona 
Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Arlington, Texas
Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Flemington, New Jersey
Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Tobaco, Maryland
Discalced Carmelite Sisters in Seremban, Malaysia
Discalced Carmelite Monastery of the Sacred Hearts
Discalced Carmelite Order
Hermits of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Lay Carmelites of Oswego, New York
Order of Carmelites in Ireland and Zimbabwe
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Monastery, Haifa, Israel
Our Garden of Carmel
Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel

My Comment
I can’t help but make the connection from the monastic focus and goals to that of the so-called emergent church. Contemplative prayer must have as its goal the mystic union with divine, and it isn’t God or the LORD Jesus Christ, it is darkness, great darkness and deception.

God’s WORD

“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”—Romans 10:2

“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”—Isaiah 45:22

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”—Revelation 1:5, 6

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”—Romans 5:1

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”—2 Corinthians 6:17, 18

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”—Hebrews 13:20, 21

2000 Years of Deception and Error, Part 9 D: Carmelites: Brother Lawrence

Brother Lawrence
Brother Lawrence, was born Nicholas Herman around 1610 and died in 1691. Nicholas was a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery, and remembered because of his book: “The Practice of the Presence of God.”

Nicholas’ poverty forced him into joining the army fighting in the 30 years war, so that he could get meals and a small stipend. This is when Herman had an experience that set him on a unique spiritual journey:

In the deep of winter, Herman looked at a barren tree, and for some reason he understood for the first time the extravagance of God’s grace and the unfailing sovereignty of divine providence…he said, that leafless tree “first flashed in upon my soul the fact of God,” and a love for God that never after ceased to burn. Jesus is the only way to God.

    “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”—John 14:6

Sometime later, an injury forced his retirement from the army, and after a stint as a footman, he sought a place where he could suffer for his failures. Nicholas joined the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris at the age of 24, as Brother Lawrence. He spent almost all of the rest of his life within the walls of the priory, working in the kitchen for most of his life and as a repairer of sandals in his later years….his character attracted many to him.

He was known for his profound peace and many came to seek spiritual guidance from him. The wisdom that he passed on to them, in conversations and in letters, was compiled into a book after Brother Lawrence died, “The Practice of the Presence of God”. It became popular among Catholics and Protestants alike, with John Wesley and A. W. Tozer being among those who recommended it.

My Comment
I remember reading Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. It sounds so spiritual to practice the presence of God. I never really understood what the book was saying or how to do what he was talking about.

I didn’t know that Brother Lawrence was a Carmelite friar of the 17th century. I didn’t stop to think that the only way I can get into God’s presence is through Jesus…there’s nothing I can do. I didn’t even find the word “practice” in the Bible. How can he talk of loving God without mentioning Jesus?

God’s WORD

    “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
    —John 17:3

    “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”—John 20:31

    “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”—Romans 5:1

    “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
    —Romans 5:11

    “As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.”—Psalm 68:2

    “The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.”—Psalm 68:8

    “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”
    —Hebrews 9:24

    “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.”—Deuteronomy 4:24

    “For our God is a consuming fire.”—Hebrews 12:29

    “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”—1 Peter 3:18

    “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
    —1 John 4:10

    “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:”—Acts 17:27

2000 Years of Deception and Error, Part 9 C: Carmelite: John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila

God’s WORD

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”—John 14:15

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
—John 14:23

(St.) John of the Cross (1542 to 1591)
John of the Cross was born in a small village near Avila, Spain. Because of family circumstances, John was sent to the poor school. He seemed incapable of learning anything when apprenticed to an artisan, so the governor of the hospital of Medina took him into his service. For seven years, John both waited on the poorest of the poor, and went to a school established by the Jesuits. “It has been recorded that during his studies St. John particularly relished psychology…” (from newadvent.org/cathen/08480a.htm)

John became a Carmelite monk at 21, and four years later he was ordained a priest. When John was 26, he met 53 year old Teresa of Avilla, who had come to Medina to found a convent of nuns. She persuaded John to remain in the Carmelite Order and the two of them worked for Carmelite reformation. “Their personal correspondence between each other is intensely mystical, describing in terms of human love the ecstasy and the agony of their struggles for personal spiritual perfection, and specifically the mystical experience of the union of the human soul with God.”

At age 35, John was ordered by the unreformed Carmelites to return to Medina. John refused to do so, and was kidnapped and imprisoned in Toledo. He was put in a narrow, stifling cell, and kept under a brutal regimen that included public lashing before the community at least weekly. He escaped after 9 months.

Some time after John escaped from prison, he and Teresa of Avilla founded the Discalced Carmelites. Due to internal politics John was put in one of the poorest monasteries, where he fell seriously ill…As his illness increased he was removed to the monastery of Ubeda where he eventually died.

sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_of_the_Cross newadvent.org/cathen/08480a.htm
themystica.com/mystica/articles/j/john_of_the_cross_st.html themystica.com/mystica/articles/d/dark_night_of_the_soul.html

Ascent of Mount Carmel and The Dark Night of the Soul
Ascent of Mount Carmel and The Dark Night of the Soul were written by John of the Cross soon after his escape from prison, and, and are accepted as a full treatise on mystic theology. “The poetic genius of St. John of the Cross stems from his Jesuit training and his familiarity with the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, which allowed him to embody scholastic theology and philosophy in his verse. In The Spiritual Canticle he describes the “Spiritual Marriage” of God and the human soul.
(from themystica.com/mystica/articles/j/john_of_the_cross_st.html)

The Dark Night of the Soul describes ten steps on the ladder of mystical love, which had been described by Thomas Aquinas and in part by Aristotle. The writings describe the supposed soul’s journey toward God, and details three stages of mystical union with what he thought was God: purgation, illumination, and union. Detachment and suffering are presented as requirements for the purification and illumination of the soul.

The term “dark night of the soul” refers to a state of intense personal spiritual struggle, including the experience of utter hopelessness and isolation prior to attaining mystical transcendence. Instead of devastation, the dark night is perceived by Mystics as a blessing in disguise, whereby the individual goes from a state of contemplative prayer to an inability to pray. It is this purgatory, a purgation of the soul, that brings purity and union with God, it is believed. Such blessings cannot be perceived while the soul suffers this “night.” Thus, the Dark Night of the Soul is perceived as a severe test of ones faith that leads to deeper understanding and greater love. But there is no biblical passage to back any of this up.

God’s WORD

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”
—Colossians 1:13

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”—1 John 1:5

“Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.”—Isaiah 50:10

“Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.”—Isaiah 47:5

“But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”—Jude 1:17–19

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”—Psalm 40:2

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”—Psalm 23:4

Teresa of Ávila (1515 to 1582)
Teresa of Ávila, known in religion as Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a prominent Spanish mystic, a Contemplative Catholic, a Carmelite nun, a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be, along with Saint John of the Cross, a founder of the Discalced Carmelites.

Although her father initially disapproved, Teresa secretly left home at 20 or 21, to become a Carmelite nun in Avila. Teresa’s was sick much of her life. At one point, she was in a coma for three days and not able to walk for three years. It was during this time of illness and convalescence that she took to daily mental prayer, which led to her experiences with mystical prayer. She credited her recovery to St. Joseph.

“Teresa …spent long hours in meditation that she called the “prayer of quiet” and the “prayer of union.” During such prayers she frequently went into a trance, and at times entered upon mystical flights in which she would feel as if her soul were lifted out of her body. She said ecstasy was like a “detachable death” and her soul became awake to God as never before when the faculties and senses are dead.

Teresa claimed to have levitated at a height of about a foot and a half for an extended period somewhat less than an hour, in a state of mystical rapture. She called the experience a ‘spiritual visitation’.

Teresa being a contemplative is well known for her discussion on the grades of prayer through which the soul is focused upon the love of God…She distinguished sharply between the essence of mysticism… and the tangential phenomena that may accompany the contemplative life, such as visions, audible sensations, ecstasy, levitation, and stigmata…”

Teresa “was determined to establish a small community that would follow the Carmelite contemplative life, especially unceasing prayer” and “dedicated herself to reforming the Carmelite order.” It was John of the Cross, who helped reform the male Carmelite monasteries.

In 1565, Teresa wrote here autobiography, Life. She describes how she experienced a spiritual marriage with Christ as bridegroom to the soul on November 18, 1572. Teresa died, October 14, 1582.

sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teresa_of_Avila
themystica.com/mystica/articles/t/teresa_of_avila_st.html

My Comment
Where is this in the Bible? St. Joseph got credit for her healing? It would seem she didn’t serve the God of the Bible.

The BOOK

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”—1 Corinthians 2:2

“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”
—Psalm 51:6

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”—Psalm 143:8

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”—Ephesians 3:16–19

2000 Years of Deception and Error, 9 B: Revisiting Mysticism, Ascetiscism, Contemplative

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”—John 5:24

“And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”—John 5:38, 39

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”—John 6:28–29

Before discussing Carmelites John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Brother Lawrence, I want to revisit some definitions.

Ascetics, Mysticism, Mystic Union, Contemplative
In an earlier post: 2000 Years of Deception and Error Part 6A: Ascetics, Mystics, and Monasticism, I discussed asceticism, mysticism, mystical union, mystical theology, and a number of religious systems that hold to these beliefs. I have been surprised and saddened by how much focus there is on the idea of a mystical union with what these monastics think of as God, and how they elevate people who claim to be able to do this. This belief does NOT come from God’s Word.

Why do Buddhists, Hindus, Quakers, Mormons, Muslims, shaman, Kabbalists, witchdoctors, religions around the world, and religions from all ages, as well as those in Roman monasteries have a belief and practice in a type of mystical union—achieving a perfect union (spiritual marriage or union) with divinity, god, the ultimate divinity or reality? They are all based on Satan’s false belief system of experience and icons, and the lie that he told Eve in the Garden—
“…ye shall be as gods…”—Genesis 3:5

It seems these folk are working so hard to achieve this divine oneness. The gospel is simple so that anyone can understand. There is nothing we can do, there is no righteousness in us. We repent of our sin and receive Jesus’ righteousness. There are no theatrics to getting God’s attention or to have Him hear us. This mystical union is about something that God doesn’t offer…so who is offering it? Much of the mystical union info sounds very sensual and sometimes scary to me—maybe because it is from the world of darkness. By believing God’s Word, we are given a relationship with the LORD and assurance of salvation.

God’s WORD

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”—Romans 7:18

“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
—Ephesians 4:24

“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
—Philippians 1:11

“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”—Romans 5:21

Mystical Union
According to mystic, Evelyn Underhill, there is a five step process to arrive at union with the absolute Mysticism, and often people only achieve the third step. (note: This is not a goal for those of us who have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus.)

1. awakening—consciousness of absolute or divine reality.
2. purgation—awareness of imperfections and finiteness, result: self-discipline and mortification.
3. illumination—consciousness of a transcendent order and a vision of a new heaven and a new earth.
4. dark night of the soul—final and complete purification, marked by confusion, helplessness, stagnation of the will, and a sense of the withdrawal of God’s presence.
5. union with the object of love, the one Reality, God—the self permanently established on a transcendental level and liberated for a new purpose.

God’s WORD

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”—Isaiah 64:6

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”—1 John 1:7

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”—Hebrews 4:16

“I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.”
—Isaiah 66:4

Excerpts from the Catholic site: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04324b.htm

Contemplation
The idea of contemplation is so intimately connected with that of mystical theology that one cannot be clearly explained independent of the other; hence we shall here set forth what mystical theology is.

Higher contemplation
To distinguish it from acquired contemplation, mystical union is called intuitive, passive, extraordinary, or higher contemplation. St. Teresa designates it simply as contemplation…

Mystical graces may be divided into two groups…The first group…is called mystical union. In the second group…are visions (of created things) and revelations. To these belong miraculous bodily phenomena which are sometimes observed in ecstatics.

The four degrees or stages of mystical union.
They are here taken just as St. Teresa has described them…in her “Life” and “Interior Castle”:

1. incomplete mystical union, or the prayer of quiet
2. the full, or semi-ecstatic, union, which St. Teresa sometimes calls the prayer of union
3. ecstatic union, or ecstasy
4. transforming or deifying union, or spiritual marriage (properly) of the soul with God

The two nights of the soul
There is an intermediate state…a frequent transition between ordinary prayer and spiritual quiet. St. John of the Cross, who was the first to describe it clearly, called it the night of sense or first night of the soul.

Five elements are included in this distressing state:
1. an habitual aridity
2. an undeveloped, confused idea of God, which reoccurs
3. the sad and constant need of a closer union with God
4. a continual action of God’s grace to detach us from all sensible things and impart a distaste for them, whence the name, “night of sense” (the soul may struggle against this action of grace);
5. God begins to exercise over the soul the action characteristic of the prayer of quiet, but He does it so gently that one may be unconscious of it. Hence it is spiritual quiet in the latent, disguised state, and it is only by verifying the analogy of effects that one comes to know it.

St. John of the Cross speaks of the second night of the soul as the night of the mind. It is nothing more than union of the mystical states inferior to spiritual marriage but regarded as including the to spiritual marriage but regarded as including the element of gloom and therefore as producing suffering.

Mystical theology newadvent.org/cathen/14621a.htm
The objects of contemplation are set forth: God, His Attributes, the Incarnation, and all the Sacred Mysteries of the Life of Christ; His presence in the Eucharist; the supernatural order; every creature of God in the natural order, animate or inanimate, particularly the Blessed Virgin, the angels, the saints, Providence, the Church.

Do these things sound like they are from a God that loves us and died to rescue us from darkness? Does God make things so hard to understand and to do to get close to Him? Not according to the Bible.

God’s Holy WORD

“All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.”—Psalm 25:10

“He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.”
—1 Samuel 2:9

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”—Ephesians 5:11

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”—2 Corinthians 11:3

“This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.”—James 3:15

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”—1 Corinthians 1:30

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”—1 Thessalonians 4:3

“That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;”—1 Thessalonians 4:4

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”—1 Peter 1:2