by Kirsten Harty
Being a contemplative at heart, I love to dive into the writings of Christian mystics as they relate their experiences and encounters of the Lord through prayer. They’re forerunners for us, noting the signs and markers along the way as we journey down our own pathway of prayer.
One of my earliest discoveries in the mystic department was a book entitled “Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ” by Madame Jeanne Guyon, an 18th century French widow. She came alongside the illiterate who couldn’t read the Bible, and taught them how to encounter the living Jesus Christ through silence and contemplation.
There are, of course, numerous other ways we can experience Him – through creation, through others, through reading His Word, through the arts…
….but what a gift when we can set aside time to encounter the Holy One resident within our very being, as deep calls unto deep.
Here’s an encouraging excerpt from Mme. Guyon’s later writings (compiled posthumously in a book entitled “Final Steps in Christian Maturity”):
Do you desire to make an effectual prayer? Love much and you will succeed fully. Begin your prayers with acts and movements of love towards this God, who is all love… Continue your prayer by love, giving opportunity to the Well-Beloved to communicate Himself to you by degrees, as you try by your affection to approach Him, and at the end finish your prayer by a real love, and by a desire to love always more fully this Divine Object, who deserves all our love. But what am I saying? “finish” your prayer? No, my brethren, never finish it; never cease for a moment to love, and you will never cease to pray.