As we look at "contemplative renewal," we do well to remember that all authentic renewal will line up with Scripture and Church teaching. Anything falling short of this is not truth. Oh, it may have some elements of truth embedded in it, but anything falling short of full truth is not the God-given contemplative renewal to which we are referring.
I mention this because, as most of us know all too painfully, the world holds forth a lot of "artificial light" at present. It can be tough, at times, to discern. For anyone wondering what I mean, I will include a few links at the end of this post.
And as for me, for years I've engaged in discussions of real vs. artificial "light." The following are excerpts from a few of my letters:
1993: I think people get into pseudo mysticism because they are literally starved for genuine contact with God. But there are "systems of mysticism" that do not require God to be God. They allow us to feel "mystical" without having to be accountable to Another and to surrender to Him unconditionally. They allow us to do things our way rather than His way, and that is why a key element in the cloistered heart way of life is the acceptance of God's right to be God. The only door into enclosure of the heart is the doorway of surrender to God. And this surrender must be to the Person of God, to the Real God Who is revealed to us in Scripture and Church teaching.
1994: What falls under the heading "new age" promises much without asking much of us. We are urged to look into self. We are encouraged to improve self. We are not asked to die to self. There is no exhortation to take up one's cross daily and follow Jesus. And so there is the promise of the supernatural realm without the cost Jesus asks of us: that of our very lives. It is why the convenience of artificial light, light which shows the ingenuity of man, can be more appealing than fire that invites one to sacrifice self in the flame.
1995: The contemplative renewal is about souls that proclaim Jesus Christ as our only Lord. We do this proclaiming in prayer, in word, in deeds of love and mercy. We adore the Lord and we "stand in the gap" for those who do not adore Him. We speak of Truth to those who may not hear it from anyone else. We stand in the midst of artificial light, carrying our humble flames of God's love and truth and mercy, and we cannot exchange them for anything less no matter how much the less may glitter. May the renewal of contemplative love and truth and fire springing up here and there throughout the world continue on; may it light a world that does not even know it's steeped in darkness.
May our zeal to carry this flame never be drowned in compromise in all the years to come.. this is our prayer. To pray for this and to work for it with every fiber of our being - this is our call.
Dangers of New Age Movement
Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life
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