Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Contemplative Quotes

Posted 8/26/2018

Gerlach Peters (d. 1411, Dutch mystic) wrote:

“When Eternal Wisdom and Unchanging Truth shows his face to us, his incomparable riches, all beauty and desirability, and gives us to understand how the person who sees his face desires nothing more, then our interior face is violently impelled in love to imprint his face with a kiss and interior embrace, both chaste and strong, as though it should pass over and be transformed into that face and in a way itself become what that face is in itself.”
McGinn comments:
“It is in that mutual vision, kiss, and embrace that  ‘the eternal Father ceaselessly begets his Son, the Simple [i.e., pure] Word in whom we know and see all things.’
“What he is primarily interested in here, however, is the simplex verbum, that is, the pure simplicity of the Word whose action simplifies, purifies ,and unifies all our internal and external activities. This unification is described as “a single unreflected gaze”.”  
--from Bernard McGinn, The Presence of God….The Varieties of Vernacular Mysticism,  Vol. 5, p.112.

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--from Bernard McGinn, The Presence of God….The Varieties of Vernacular Mysticism,  Vol. 5, p.71.

“In conclusion, Jordaens [a close follower of Jan Ruusbroec] summarizes his view of mystical union.  Knowing and loving God as an object through intellective images is a necessary, but only preliminary, stage.  “But when the soul sinks down through all images with a single intention into God”; beyond all images and names, God becomes present to her in an immediate way in deifying love.  This a taste of “unhindered enjoyable rest,” as announced in the Song of Songs where the bride proclaims, “I sleep and my heart watched” (Song 5:2).  Again, in a teaching reminiscent of Ruusbroec, Jordaens says the other faculties are commanded to be active in good works by that means of the interior deified faculty of love that always rests in God.  “All this occurs beyond time and space,” as he puts it.  Words and images that refer to sensible things, such as “climbing,” or “beyond” and “below,” are misleading but necessary: “This is then how the divine kissing between God and the soul takes place, beyond time and place, in the dark bareness of the mind devoid of all images where God is present to the soul… in an essential manner, as the natural subsistence of the soul [i.e., in the essential being], and as her object, that is, as the one whom she loves above all creatures in herself and in himself.”  William Jordaens provides one of the most detailed analyses of the nature of loving union among late medieval mystics.”


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