Phase One
The  Light That One Had Before Appears As Darkness

Phase Two
The Call To Leave Behind The Past And Experience God In A New Way

Phase Three 
Response To The Call

  • Fear and resistance
  • Surrender
........ Second Web Section 
Phase Four
Life Review Phase Five
Deepening Of Intimacy
  • One's concern: let Jesus live his lfe in oneself; oneness and intimacy with God 
  • Experiencing divine adoption as being realized in oneself 
  • Call to the prayer of faith 
  • An increase in hope: God's promise transforms everything 
  • Love is perceived as a unitive gift: communion with God and with all creation

Phase Four
Life Review

          I am drawn into a phase of looking back on my life. I allow myself to experience and be aware of my weakness and my giftedness. My God, you call me to acceptance and appreciation of my unique self. You call me to a greater freedom in being with you.

Re-experience Of One's Sinfulness
          You draw me into the desert where I am brought face to face with myself in all my nakedness. A re-experince of my past here tells me who I am at present. I re-live my many sins. I feel them as they cut into my bones.

Mt 23:1-28 I may outwardly appear righteous to men, but within I am full of hypocrisy
Rv 3:15-16 You know all about me. You know how I am lukewarm
Mk 7:14-23 What emerges from within me is what makes me impure. Wickedness pervades the deep recesses of my heart
Rm 7:14-24 Sin resides inside of me. I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Nothing good dwells within me
Gn 3:1-7  How often I have refused to accept you as my God and myself as your creature
Rm 1:18-23 I see the futility, darkness, foolishness, idolatry of my life. I know that there is no excuse for me
Ezk 16:1-43 By my many and serious infidelities toward you, my passionate lover, I have deeply hurt you

A Sense Of Quiet And Peace In Between
          Through the pain, despite the turbulence, I become less anxious, more at one with myself, more at peace. I have been loved into accepting your forgiveness.

Is 30:15  I accept that my salvation is in conversion and tranquilty. In quietness and trust lies my strength
Ps 131  My eyes are not raised too high. I have calmed and quieted my soul
Ph 4:4-7  Your peace will keep my heart and mind from fear
2Co 12:7-10  I am content with weaknesses, for when I am weak, then I am strong
Mt 9:9-13  You came to call not the virtuous but sinners. It is good to belong to those who are called
Lk 1:46-55  I rejoice, for you have regarded my low estate
Ps 4 In peace I lie down and rest secure
Jn 16:33 In you, Lord, I may have peace

My Breastplate

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
      Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.(8)

A Fresh Insight Into God's Mercy And Goodness
          In this desert, I am brought face to face with God. While an overwhelming perception of my past sins brings me almost to despair, he is leading me to a fresh insight into his mercy and goodness.

Lk 7:36-50  Your forgiveness restores my peace
Is 1:18 You forgive me in a way that no one else could
Is 44:21-23  You call me back for you have redeemed me
Ho 14:1-7 You heal my faithlessness, you love me and revive me
Ho 11:1-9 You will not let the flames consume me. You are a compassionate God
Is 57:14-19 You, Lord, heal and lead me, comfort me
Rv 3:15-22 Knock on my door and share with me all you have
Ps 103  You are a tender and compassionate God. You understand me, for you know my frame
1Tm 1:15-17 I receive mercy, that in me as the foremost of sinners, Jesus Christ may display his perfect patience

A New  Awareness Of God's Giftedness
          I am being led to a new awareness of my giftedness. I re-experience in my heart my whole life as a gift. The recognition of your very least gift within me, Lord, is an experience so new and so intense that it overwhelms me and directs me to you.

          The awareness of the mystery in all your gifts is an inkling of the mystery of you. It is an inkling of the love of your divine heart longing to be accepted so that you can bestow on me your life and your joy. I rejoice over the experience of my nothingness that enables me to await all from God as little children await all from their parent. How can I repay all that you have given me?

Ep 1:3-14 You have blessed me in your Son with every spiritual blessing
Rm 6:23 You give the free gift of eternal life to me
1Co 7:7  I have my own special gift that you have given me
Jm 1:16-18 Every good gift comes from above
Jn 1:1-18 I have received from your fullness, grace upon grace
 Is 55:1-5  All is your free gift
 Is 45:1-8 I cry out with my whole being, "Shower, O heavens, from above!"

Acceptance Of Oneself As Sinner And As One Being Forgiven
          This period of life review is one of turbulence. One day I am plunged almost into despair; another day I am lifted up by a deeper realization of God's love to me. In between, I experience quiet and peace. Through the purification of my life review, I am brought to a deep acceptance of myself as sinner and as one loved into accepting forgiveness.
          I find myself growing into greater freedom and humanism. I am feeling more comfortable with my own uniqueness and in becoming most truly myself. 
The transformation of my weakness into self-acceptance is emerging. I understand that this very openness to receive redemption is true humility. I am learning to allow the power of your grace to transform me.

Jn 13:1-20 You love me so much that you desire to wash my feet
Lk 23:39-43 I know I am a sinner, yet you continue to save me
Jn 8:3-11 You protect me and love me despite my wrong doing
Lk 7:36-50 I am able to accept myself because of your great love. I am able to accept forgiveness, too
1Jn 1:8-2:2  If we acknowledge our sins, God who is just can be trusted to forgive us
Ps 130 I trust you, Lord, for you have forgiven me
Jn 20:24-29 Like Thomas, I sometimes doubt you, Lord; yet you continue to love me and be present to me

Being Drawn Into A Union Of Love
          I accept your call, Lord, to stay in the desert where I may further realize my own nothingness and utter weakness. I may learn to let go of the last hold I have on my own controlled knowledge of you, of myself and of the world.

          It seems to me that through the dread of the purification of the senses, faculties and affections, you have taken me to a new threshold of union with you. I sense the being drawn into a union of love, that is so much beyond me, that it can only be received as an unearned gift. You come and go, yet always remain.

Yes, it is truly the Beloved who visits thee. But He comes invisible, hidden, incomprehensible. He comes to touch thee, not to be seen; to intimate His presence to thee, not to be understood; to make thee taste of Him, not to pour Himself out in His entirety; to draw thy affection, not to satisfy thy desire; to bestow the first fruits of His love, not to communicate it in its' fullness.(9)
Rm 8:26 The spirit prays within me with sighs too deep to understand
1Co 13:8-13 Love never fails but endures forever. I am called to put away the ways of a child
Ps 139:1-18 Lord, you have probed me and you know me through and through
Mk 5:25-34 I am drawn to you, Lord. I touch you and I am healed
Jn 4:7-26 True worshippers worship God in spirit and truth
Ps 23  You are my shepherd; I lack nothing
Lk 11:29-30  You call me to you out of love so that you may give me rest
Mt 9:9 I am called to you and I desire to go. I want to be with you in love

O touch that thrills

o touch that thrills
and blazes beauty
with its flame ...
i cannot breathe.
i am beset
and occupied,
enraptured by a silent force
far greater, grander
than my own;
enraptured by a silent force
that causes me to
draw and hold
its burning face
against my own.

o touch that thrills
and causes me
to die ...
and in the dying
call for more.

and in the dying
call for consummation
of that power
that bids me faint
before its feet
     in crumpled pools of ecstasy ...

that drenches me
in sweet perfume
and wraps itself
inside my soul.

o touch that thrills
and blazes beauty
with its flame ...
                i cannot breathe.(10)

Solitude, Silence: Inner Necessities
          Solitude and silence are inner necessities for me. I am invited to come to a lonely place all by myself and rest awhile.I am to surrender myself in silencing my own powers to become utterly receptive to God's mysterious gift of love.

          In the silence it will not be long before you are visited by God. He came to Elisha on Horeb at a moment of such silence that the murmuring of the slightest breeze could be heard (1K 19:12). When the Lord wants to raise a soul to contemplation, he obliges all its faculties to be silent, so as to commit itself to him alone. Stop bothering about yourself ... when, in a word, you have habitually lost sight of self, you will have penetrated the silent Holy of Holies, the inviolable sanctuary of your soul where God resides and whither he invites you. Of you as of Moses he will say:

"He is in charge of my whole household.
I speak to him face to face,
plainly and not in riddles,
and he sees Yahweh's glory"
(Nb 12:7-8).(11)

          On the steppe there is only one sound: the moaning of the wind. "This is," runs an Arabic proverb, "the desert weeping because it would like to be a meadow" ... Only the breathing of the Spirit should be heard.(12)I perceive penance also as an inner necessity for the union of love to which I am being called. By renouncing creatures I acknowledge their nothingness before God's greatness. By renouncing the joys which they offer I acknowledge the sufficiency of God who is my Supreme Joy.

Mk 1:35  I need to go where it is quiet so that I can pray
Lk 5:15-16 I need to be alone and pray
Lk 4:1-13 You sometimes call me into the desert where I must rely on your spirit
Jn 14:27 You give me your gift of peace
Lk 6:12 It is necessary to spend time alone with you, Lord


Phase Five

          What occurs at this phase is so beyond me, that it can only be received as unearned gift. God's revelation of self in Jesus and through the Holy Spirit, changes my fear into loving attraction and my self-acceptance into self-forgetfulness. I am empowered with the capacity for communion.

Awareness Of One's Own Ignorance Of God
          You are transforming my whole life, Lord. As part of this contemplative transformation, you destroy the idols and images I have had of you, so that I may receive your fresh revelation.

          Only God Himself can let the bucket down into the depths in us. And on the other side, He must constantly work as the iconoclast. Every idea of Him we form, He must in mercy shatter. The most blessed result of prayer would be to rise thinking, "but I never knew before. I never dreamed ..." I suppose it was at such a moment that Thomas of Aquinas said of all of his theology: "It reminds me of straw".(13) To truly know God, in all God's awesomeness, we must meet on God's terms. This asks of me a kenosis, an emptying.

... and then It (God's presence in darkness) breaks forth, even from the things that are beheld and from those that behold them, and plunges the true initiate into the Darkness of Unknowing, wherein he renounces all the apprehensions of his understanding and is enwrapped in that which is wholly intangible and invisible, belonging wholly to Him that is beyond all things and to none else (whether himself or another), and being through the passive stillness of all his reasoning powers united by his highest faculty to Him that is wholly Unknowable, of whom thus by a rejection of all knowledge, he possesses a knowledge that exceeds his understanding.(14)
Ex 3:13-17 My God is so great, I cannot adequately describe God
Jn 1:14-18 The one who is nearest to God makes God known
Rv 21:1-7 God is unspeakable
Ho 2:14-20 I will know you by being betrothed to you, Lord
Heb 12:29  Our God is a consuming fire
Ep 1:17-18 You enlighten the eyes of my heart
Ep 3:14-21 Being rooted and grounded in love, I may have the power to comprehend the breadth and length and height ...

True Knowledge Of God Is Complete Trust
          The soul, having entered the vast solitude of the Godhead, happily loses itself; and enlightened by the brightness of most lucid darkness, becomes through knowledge as if without knowledge, and dwells in a sort of wise ignorance. And although it knows not what God is, to whom it is united by pure charity, although it sees not God as He is in His glory, it yet learns by experience that He infinitely transcends all sensible things, and all that can be apprehended by the human intellect concerning Him. It knows God by this intimate embrace and contact better than the eyes of the body know the visible sun. This soul well knows what true contemplation is.(15)

          In this embrace you make me understand Lord, that to know you is to trust you, to abandon myself to you; to want nothing but you. To have found God, to have experienced Him in the intimacy of our being, to have lived even for one hour in the fire of His Trinity and the bliss of His Unity clearly makes us say: "Now I understand. You alone are enough for me".(16)

          Now I know that you love me Lord, and you can be trusted in all circumstances of life. I am being led to a joyous assent. A growing experience of your tenderness, care and concern beyond anything I could ask or imagine, draws and motivates me.

Rm 8:28-39 Now I know that nothing can separate me from God
2Co 1:3-7 You are the God of all comfort
Ps 37:3-7 I will trust in you and live in peace
Sg 1:2-4  Your love is better thatn wine. Draw me!
Ps 139  You know all about me, Lord
Col 3:12-17 As my response, I want to put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony

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8. St. Patrick

9. Hugh of Victor in The Soul Afire, H.A. Reinhold, ed. (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Image Books, 1973) p.290

10. Ruth McLean

11. A Monk, The Hermitage Within, Alan Neame, trans. (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1977), p.14

12. Ibid, pp.13-14

13. C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm (Harcourt, N.Y.: Brace and World, 1964), p.84

14. "Pseudo Dionysius, Mystical Theology", The Soul Afire, H.A. Reinhold, ed. (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1973) p.49

15. Louis de Blois in The Soul Afire, H.A. Reinhold, ed. (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1973) pp. 358-59

16. Carlo Caretto, The God Who Comes, R.M. Hancock, trans. (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1974), p.93

a. Ruth Mclean's Website can be found at:

b. Vicky Chen's Website can be found at:

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