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The following e-mail exchanges are discussing my article "Christian" Mysticism. The e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
> Dear Gary,
I'm doing some research on Christian meditation. I read one of your articles on a Madame Guyon I believe. Your piece was very good.<
> I have preached for 15 years. Not until I started meditating or stilling the mind, have I come to know God like. My mind taught me all about God, but never let me really know God. I'm not into any Buddha or Zen thing--although they're closer to the truth than good moral people.
Just a few thoughts.
I have nothing against meditation per se. The word "meditate" is used several times in Scripture, especially in the Psalms. But it is generally in the context of meditating on the Word of God, the nature of God, etc. In other words, it is not a mindless meditation but focused on God, what He has done and revealed.
Try doing a search on "meditate" in the Bible and you'll see what I mean:
[Ps 63:6] When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
[Ps 77:12] I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.
[Ps 119:15] I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.
>Enjoyed reading about Madame Guyon. As a Byzantine Catholic, I'm very interested in prayer of the heart. I've never read any of her stuff, but I am a practitioner of centering prayer/the Jesus Prayer.
I don't think she meant annihilation of the soul in the Buddhist sense, but in the Christian sense of one must lose his life in order to save it.<
Thatís a possible interpretation. But her wording leaves it open to the one I discuss as well. Clarity of language is a must when dealing with such things.
>What became of Madame Guyon. Was she ever rehabilitated by the Catholic Church? Did she die an excommunicant? I'd be interested in knowing.
When she was arrested a second time, she signed a recantation of her teachings and promised not to spread them anymore. She was then released from prison, and spent the last 15 years of her life mostly in solitude (from The Wycliffe Biographical Dictionary of the Church, p. 177). Whether she was ever "restored" into full communion with the RCC I am not sure.
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