This text is published as The Holy Trinity, Chapter 20 of Falling in Love, pages 503-532, and re-printed as Chapter 3 of Radiant Light: How the Work Began, pages 23-61.
It was on 4 August 1995 that God called me to write much of this piece about the Holy Trinity; and I've added a few extra pages during the past year, now that I've been shown so much more about prayer, and about the transforming union - and about God's great love for us all.
THREE DIVINE PERSONS. LIGHT AND LOVE AND LIFE.
A wonderful state of friendship.
No-one can live daily in the company of the Three Divine Persons - as if at Their ‘heart’, as They dwell in the unity of the Godhead - who has been unwilling to be prepared and purified according to Their supremely wise and far-seeing plan. But God is so good that anyone who responds to the Divine invitation can achieve this magnificent friendship: of a creature with his or her God; and it’s from within that state of astonishing peace and fulfilment and bliss that I now urge other people to persevere in love and in prayer, so that they, too, can experience the wonderful things which God has lavished upon me, some of which He wants me to mention in the next few pages.
God Himself has told me that this book can be seen as my own “MAGNIFICAT” (Lk 1:46), written in praise and thanksgiving to Him after a long and arduous spiritual journey. So I’ll write no more about my failings, but only about His kindness. It’s no use my being bashful, anymore, about God’s goodness towards me, if I want to convince anyone about the sweetness of His friendship; rather, I’m willing to say that for the last year or two the manner of receiving each teaching in prayer has been wholly delightful. The state of friendship with the Father in which I now live is so wonderful and fulfilling that I’ve only to turn my heart and thoughts towards Him in Heaven to receive His Bliss. Every blissful prayer increases my confidence in His Love; and every new growth in confidence causes me to pray with a greater hope of being heard and answered; and, indeed, His answers have amazed me. Some have been so sweet and loving that it almost breaks my heart to think of them and makes me yearn to bring other people towards Him; and that’s why I’m going to try to describe in more detail what I’ve learned from God about Himself. I’m going to tell what I’ve learned from the Holy Trinity about the Three Divine Persons, and about the joys of a loving union in prayer and in daily life with this Source of Joy Who is at the same time Father, Word and Spirit.
Three Persons yet One God.
In order to speak accurately about God, I must begin again at the beginning. I mean that the Church has taught us through the Apostles and their successors that God is ‘Being’ Itself: Three Persons in One God, that is, in One Divine Being, Whom we adore because He created us and because He is worthy of all possible praise, since He is Good.
What ‘dry bones’ are these facts, some people would say. Yet how staggering is the meaning, or rather, how staggering is the thought of God’s nature, His attributes and His actions. But to continue: I can say that we’ve all learned from the Church - which puts God’s Revelation into words for us, through her decrees and catechisms and Councils - that the Three Divine Persons are equal in Majesty. Furthermore, the Father possesses nothing that the Son does not have; the Son possesses all that the Spirit has: yet the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, the Spirit is not the Son, and so on; and yet the Divine Persons are equal. Each possess the same attributes as the others; and, in a way beyond our understanding, the Three Persons are One Lord, with no beginning and no end.
I’m aware that I’ve received these beliefs or ‘concepts’ through the Church, although they’ve been confirmed by what I’ve learned in prayer. I say this because some of the above phrases are quoted from memory, for example: ‘the Father is not the Son’ - perhaps a phrase from the Athanasian Creed; I haven’t had time to check; but I know that this is certainly our true teaching: from God, through His Church.
Many details about our life within the Most Holy Trinity are what we have learned through God’s Revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ, knowledge now handed down to us through Christ’s living, teaching Church; and what I’ve noticed in prayer only confirms something else that the Church already teaches us: something we find ‘illustrated’ in our liturgy; I meant that God Wills us to attribute certain acts and certain virtues to certain Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. This is what was done by Jesus Himself on earth.
So we speak of the Father creating us, of the Son redeeming us, and of the Spirit sanctifying us: to give a brief example of the language I want to consider; and the Church urges us to speak in this way, even though God the Father didn’t create us without the Son, the Spirit helped to redeem us, and so on. An act by each Divine Person is an act of the Most Holy Trinity. God ‘has no parts or passions’ as our old catechism said. Someone who speaks about Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, however, as though the distinctions we make between the Divine Persons are unimportant, won’t relish the wonderful Life of the Holy Trinity and so won’t yearn wholeheartedly either to know or to enter the Godhead; and I believe it’s because God wants to encourage a greater interest in His inner life - and so to cause willing souls to turn to Him in fervent prayer - that I’ve been shown so much about the Three Persons, in prayer, and have been encouraged to notice the different ‘approach’ that Each One has adopted towards me - adopted as a way of teaching me about the Godhead in which Each of the Three Persons is distinct whilst sharing the same nature.
In a moment, I’ll try to share what I’ve experienced in prayer: to describe what I’ve experienced as different approaches from the Three Divine Persons, and also to show how God Himself has encouraged me to attribute certain Divine actions and ‘attitudes’ either to Father, Son or Holy Spirit, although they are co-equal, and are one Lord. This is the foundation of my opposition to certain changes put forward by ‘extreme’ Christian feminists, who call for an end to ‘patriarchy’ and who dislike naming God our Creator as “Father”; but, more importantly, it is a reason for increased gratitude to God Who is so loving that He delights in sharing with us the riches of His own inner life and His own ways of acting; and since I can say with gratitude and confidence that this is what He’s done for me, I’m writing these pages from personal experience. Nothing I’m writing is fundamentally new, but is simply a description of the different approaches made to the soul in prayer by the Three Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity; and I dare to write about “different approaches” even though each Divine Person possesses the Divine Nature and All are equal in perfection, in majesty and in every good property. I dare, only because none of the three ‘approaches’ was seen by me as being against Truth, as I know it.
Each ‘approach’ has been experienced with overwhelming intensity in contemplative prayer, or, rather, in that state of contemplative prayer where the soul can act, think, speak and reason. All is silence and ‘unknowing’ in other ‘stages’.
Adoration and submission.
As I shall soon describe, the difference I’ve noticed between the Divine Persons lies in what I’ve experienced of Them in states of prayer Willed and given by God; and my knowledge of God, it can be seen, is a gift to me from God, given because He has trained me to be obedient and therefore to worship Him just as devout persons in every century since Christ have worshipped Him: by calling Him “Father” and by striving to obey His wishes. Furthermore, I haven’t been ashamed to bow towards the floor before Him in adoration and submission, as well as wonder and love; and He has stooped down to me and has lifted me up, in order to teach me about Himself; and that’s why I can share my delight in Him through books, pictures and conversations.
Here I must insist that this submissive awe is what is due to God; and we ought to offer it gladly. Even when someone has been lifted into the Father’s friendship through a deep, tender and intimate friendship with His Son, Jesus Christ, Who greets and consoles that soul in Holy Communion, that fortunate soul mustn’t think of saying: “I’m a baptised child of God, redeemed and cherished, and therefore I don’t need to bow down low before Him, like a servant.” We needn’t always be bowing or kneeling. When it’s appropriate, we can sit to pray - or kneel, or walk, or lie in bed, if we’re unwell. But although we’re praying to a most tender Father, Who is ‘mad’ with love for us, we’re always right to remember and to honour His Divinity in particular ways.
No matter how close we are to God, no matter how much loved, nor how frequently we’re drawn into blissful prayer, we remain always mere creatures before our Divine Creator, for as long as we’re on this earth. Not until Heaven will we “be like Him” (1 Jn 3:2). Then, at last, though our worship of Him will continue and will give us unending joy, all fear will have been banished. We shall be utterly changed, joyful and confident in His presence; yet until that time, we must keep in mind our utter indebtedness to Christ. Only through Him has our confident prayer been made possible, and our peace-of-soul, and our hope of Heaven.
“Father,” not “Mother”.
[There’s a need for a brief digression here, perhaps, to suggest that it’s God’s Will - expressed through Scripture and Tradition - that we follow Jesus’ advice and say to God: “Our Father” - not “Mother” - when we pray for help and salvation. Surely there’s no need for us to address God differently; and I only say this so forcefully because it’s what I’ve had confirmed through God’s teachings-in-prayer; and this will become evident during the next dozen pages - although it’s a comparatively minor matter, when set beside the greatest problem today, in worship, which is not modes of address but pride and irreverence.]
A description of the Three Persons.
Now that I’m about to describe what I know of the Three Divine Persons - One God - I’m not afraid to say quite boldly that Christ my God, Who gave me His Divine Life in Baptism and to Whom I’ve given my loyalty, has drawn me into His friendship. He has led me to experience His teaching and attributes, to some small degree, during prayer; and as I’ve explained, Christ has drawn me into almost unceasing intimacy with Him, from our union in 1985. Such intimacy wasn’t possible earlier, before various great purifications had been completed, both passive and active, and interior and exterior. It has only been through my baptism and the faith of my parents that I learned such a lot about truth, faith, God and prayer, and so - assisted by reason and observation - was led to a firm belief in the existence of a Creator/Designer-God; and only through prayer ‘in’ and through Jesus Christ did I grow in the knowledge of God, that is, grow in a real friendship, though it was once marred, as I said, by insecurity and sin to a degree that is only a memory to me now, through His grace; and yet now I can say with immense joy, and utter conviction, that Christ my God has allowed me to experience His Love and friendship more and more fully in prayer; and I can say from experience that His personal tenderness and care are astonishing, that is, astonishing to someone who, earlier, didn’t really understand the meaning of the words “God is Love” (1 Jn 4:16). Despite the fact that I’m not worthy of such a love I’ve found that Christ is ablaze with Love, especially in Holy Communion, although at other times as well.
Anyone who perseveres through several volumes of ‘teachings’ and who believes in them will have a glimpse of the Christ I know - the only Christ - Who is more gentle and loving than I once thought possible. There’s no-one like Him. As He Himself has explained to me (in T:2064) He is the Source of every sort of consolation for those who put their trust in Him. Whether we’re fearful, lonely, sinful and repentant, or weak, old, sick, or broken-hearted - or dumb, blind or dying - we can find peace in Him, if we’ll trust Him. There’s no embrace sweeter than His. There’s no greater or kinder friend or counsellor, or Priest, or helper, or teacher, companion or hero. He knows our every thought and hope and fear; and He longs to draw us through the difficulties of earthly life towards the Bliss of Heaven; but He can’t do so unless we put our trust in Him and give our consent: such is His respect for our dignity: for our free-will.
But Christ isn’t solely our Priest and Redeemer; He’s a poet, and a teller of stories. He’s the loving Friend Who brings gifts on special occasions, Who remembers every hurt I’ve ever suffered and every word of thanks I’ve offered to Him for good things. It’s He Who has bent over me, gently, to stroke my head and to comfort me as I’ve endured necessary trials in order to do this work. It’s He Who knelt at my feet, one extraordinary day, to show me how much He sympathises with me in every difficulty, and would wash my feet, He said, just as He washed the feet of His Apostles, if it would make my journey to Heaven any easier (T:2243B).
Perhaps you can see, now, how He breaks my heart by His tenderness; and that’s why I can’t bear to refuse any of His requests, even when He asks me to do difficult things - for the sake of the work - which will leave me looking foolish or very much alone.
Christ Our Lord.
One night I was asked by a member of my family: “What’s He like? What does He look like? Do you see Our Lord every day?” It seemed right to answer; and, indeed, on the following morning at Mass, Christ taught me that in speaking out about Him with such fervour, and with the knowledge gained through our firm friendship, I’d been fulfilling His plan for me, which is that I act as a living witness to Him and to His Love.
Christ’s appearance to me.
This is more-or-less what I said about Christ. I exclaimed, joyfully, that there’s no-one like Him, and that He breaks my heart with His kindness. I said: “He’s devastatingly attractive, in that He’s so loving and kind and encouraging. He’s very strict, whom He needs to be, but even that’s for my good, if I’ve been selfish.” Then I spoke about His attitude towards me.
“He’s always the same, in the sense that He’s reliable: never moody, though I do see different aspects of Him; I mean that He’s very funny, when He teases me - but gently - or when He makes a play on words, to amuse and to console me; yet He’s so tender, at times, that I’m overwhelmed just to remember the times when He’s stroked my head, to comfort me after awful difficulties, or when He’s spoken about His gratitude for little sacrifices I’ve made.
I ‘see’ Him everyday in one sense, though not always by spiritual ‘sight’ - but usually by what’s called an “intellectual vision” when He comes to the altar after the Consecration, and then comes to me in Holy Communion; and I experience His presence in this way at home as well, from time to time. But I also see Him in the sense of a vision with an image - a real Person, though seen with the soul’s eyes and not by my bodily sight. This happens every few days, but with extra occasions such as special feast-days, or else the times when He suddenly appears to me to speak to me and to explain something, as a reward for a special effort on my part.
To see Christ in this way is an immense privilege. I never know in advance whether I’ll see Him or not. He’s been training me, for many years, to pray to Him all day and every day with a sincere, contrite and trusting heart, without ever thinking about whether He’ll teach me, appear to me, speak to me, or give me new tasks to undertake. He’s made it plain that I’m not to waste time speculating about His gifts, but should simply accept them joyfully when He gives them to me, and continue to pray in the usual ways when there seem to be no ‘special’ spiritual gifts or phenomena to be noticed; and by this training He has brought me to love Him more than any of His gifts - though it’s true to say, today, that I only have to look in His direction, in church, to be swamped by His loving and consoling attention: such is the degree of friendship to which He’s drawn me in recent months.
But to attempt to describe Him a little better, I need to say where I see Him: I mean, to explain in what ways He chooses to show that He’s close to me.
Very close to me.
On very special occasions when, for example, Christ wants to comfort or reward me after a particular event, He usually stands besides me: at my right side; and He talks to me as any friend talks to another, as He leans forward over my chair, since I’m usually sitting in church nowadays, due to increased weakness. But on most of the occasions when I’ve seen Him clearly - though almost dazzled, as I said, at the sight of His glory, and sometimes at His Mother’s radiance too - I’ve seen Him in front of me. He usually stands one or two metres away, and speaks as anyone speaks to a close friend; and each time I’m overwhelmed with joy to be there.
This sort of appearance is always unexpected in the sense that I haven’t known in advance that at this particular Mass, rather than at another, I shall have this immense joy. Such meetings as this, several years ago, were so sudden and so startling for me that Christ kept them mercifully brief, until I’d grown stronger, and had also become less ashamed and bashful in His Presence; but they are now - although unexpected - neither so startling nor so brief. Christ has spoken to me on so many of His major feast-days that I can’t honestly say I’m surprised when He chooses to do so again, although I’m immensely awed and grateful, still; and since He’s made me spiritually stronger, I find that I can now converse with Him and enjoy His evident company without being stricken with remorse, or made speechless, or even made oblivious to my surroundings, as in earlier times. But every time, I’m so overjoyed that my heart aches, afterwards, when I think of His goodness.
It’s not possible for me to describe each of Christ’s features in great detail, because although He hasn’t hidden Himself from me, His face is so dazzling and so radiantly beautiful, that until very recently my soul’s eyes have been half-blinded, so to speak, by the Light. But it’s true to say that He’s a real person: a real man, a few inches taller than His Mother - as I know, since I’ve been privileged to see them together on a number of occasions. He has long wavy hair, and always wears a long white robe, similar to an alb. He has a wonderful smile; and He’s very expressive in His movements. He doesn’t stand still like a statue but uses His arms to explain things to me, or His hands to point or to demonstrate, or to touch my head, as I said, or to gesture to different parts of the church or to certain persons - as you can see if you look at the watercolour paintings I’ve done.
He’s so kind and so wise that my heart lurches, sometimes, just to think about Him; so it doesn’t surprise me to read that people rushed around the lake, in Galilee, for the chance to be with Him for a bit longer. Those who saw what He was like, and who loved Him, must have been besotted with Him. He has that effect on you, if you can bear to go close enough to Him to feel His gaze. I mean that when He looks at you, He sees straight to your heart; and so you sometimes feel as though you can’t bear it but must run away to hide for shame, or to grow angry at knowing your true self to have been ‘found out’; or else you must kneel and confess your sins to Him, for the joy of hearing Him forgive you and comfort you; and that’s when you find that you’ll do anything to be worthy of Him, even giving up sin, and trying to be like Him: holy, gentle and child-like ; and yet He’s immensely wise and mature at the same time.
It seems important to say that He’s very manly, in the sense of seeming to be strong, brave, and authoritative in a manly sort of way - whilst still being tender and gentle. He makes you feel as though He can cope with any problem. You know that He can provide wisdom, truth and protection - all things which a woman can also provide, yet He does so in a manly sort of way; and this is no accident. It’s because of His very manliness - His heroic and authoritative stature which is wholly suffused with kindliness - that He can provide men with a certain sort of friendship - a sort desired and planned by Him, our Incarnate God; and He can provide women too, and children, with just the sort of friendship by which He can help and encourage them best.
Things which most delight Christ.
Just for the sake of adding a few more words about what Christ is ‘like’ when I meet Him, I suppose I can’t fail to show Him out more clearly if I try to describe His reactions, if I can use that word, to the different sorts of prayers and requests I make before Him. I mean that it’s become plain, after hundreds of conversations with Him, and after thousands of confessions to Him of my sins and weaknesses, that He is made even more joyful by some things than by others.
This doesn’t mean that He’s not perpetually and forever joyful in Heaven, as the Divine Son of God; but it means that as the Incarnate Son Who is fully human as well as Divine, He expresses more delight in meeting one sort of approach than another - just as He did when on earth, towards those who came to Him, as recorded in the Gospels. So I’ve discovered, from His reactions, what sorts of prayers please Him most; and perhaps it’s worth my listing a few things here, on this subject - though with a reminder that the sort of reactions I describe are those revealed only in these past few months - in 1998 - now that He has brought me to a previously-unimagined degree of intimacy and contentment.
If I start at the ‘lowest’ level of what I must call Christ’s response to prayer, I can say that if I am in my ‘right place’ for a time of prayer, but am day-dreaming or distracted, I am aware that Christ is holding me in the peace which is His gift; but He is silent, since He never forces anyone to pray. I can say that He has invited me to pray - by His Spirit’s prompting - but yet He ‘waits’ for me to begin.
But as soon as I ‘turn’ my heart and mind towards Him, His Glory shines out, and warms my soul to it’s depths.
Whenever I express my love for Him, I see that Glory increase; and the joy within my soul increases, too, in accordance with His plan.
Whenever I ask for His help, believing that He will help me, I am rewarded for my trust by a further increase of Glory, of joy, and of peace and spiritual warmth: such is His goodness.
Whenever I beg Christ, with confidence, for some help for a needy neighbour - or else turn to the Father with Christ to offer that sort of prayer in Christ’s Name - I am rewarded even more lavishly.
Christ’s delight in contrition and humility.
The prayer which brings the greatest reward, however - and which is greeted by Christ with the greatest delight and tenderness - is a sincere confession of sin or sinfulness after every un-Christlike thought or action; and this is one of the reasons why numerous words about sin appear so frequently in this story. Whenever I open my heart to Christ, to confess a fault or to reveal a lack of virtue, I am shown in a swift and almost overpowering manner that He is thrilled - deeply touched - by each act of humility and trust and love.
He sees humility in the heart of everyone who makes a sincere confession to Him of wrong. He sees trust whenever someone opens his heart to Him, on any subject; and He sees love wherever someone endures the humiliation of admitting his weakness and yet endures this because he wants to please Christ and to change; and Christ is overjoyed at such sights. I have seen that joy, in prayer; and that’s why I no longer feel inadequate or remorseful when I confess my sins to Christ.
Now that I’ve learned how good He is, and how constant and unchanging is His attitude, I know that whenever I go to Him with some new cause for shame, I’ll be loved, heard, forgiven and consoled - and also rewarded for my honesty and trust. Who could be kinder than Christ? No-one; and I wish everyone could come to know Him, and to know what it’s like to believe in His Love, and to grow so close to Him through prayer and penance and service that Divine Love becomes almost the ‘air’ which the soul breathes throughout each day: an almost palpable sweetness which suffuses one’s whole being; and Christ has told me that such sweetness is Heaven’s ‘medium’, whereas the glory with which He adorns my soul in prayer is Heaven’s livery; and these are the rewards for all who are repentant and reconciled - after they have patiently endured their purifications. Truly, there is no-one like Christ.
A warm, affectionate person.
In order to help you to picture Him to some degree as I’m now able to picture Him because of all His appearances to me, I can’t do better at this point than to ask you to think of the kindest, most tender and loving person you’ve ever met: someone who is also generous, understanding, funny and articulate and yet simple and straightforward, and then to realise that Christ is all of these things, and that He’s real. He’s a warm, affectionate Person, but Someone Who knows every thought and emotion that I ever experience; and so He is Someone Whose relationship with me and Whose conversations with me can be based - at my consent - wholly on truth, without a shadow of misunderstanding on His part.
This, then, is the Person Whom Peter and the other Apostles grew to know and love; and yet they had to deal with another ‘aspect’ of Christ that I’ve hardly mentioned so far; one which I, too, have found difficult to ‘handle’ in my heart and mind. I’m speaking of the fact that Christ Who is true man is also true God: the Son of God, now glorified and living in Glory.
Christ: God and man.
It’s true that it was only on rare occasions that the Apostles glimpsed that glory; but the more they listened to Christ, and watched Him, the more they noticed the things about Him which made Him different from other men; and this must have had them racking their brains for an explanation, before they could accept the astonishing and in some senses appalling truth about His Divine nature: and I say appalling because I believe that their respect for the Godhead was far more profound than ours, in our century; and they must have been shaken to the depths of their hearts at finding out Who Christ is, and then learning to cope with the implications.
Here amongst them - and now before me - was Someone utterly true and pure Who was totally trustworthy, even if He seemed impredictable at times because His way of thinking wasn’t what they expected. He was never petulant or self-seeking. There was no sin in Him: no greed, lust or pride; He never lied, but went to the heart of things and spoke truth, all the time. How uncomfortable that must have been for those who were used to lies, flattery or evasions.
What a struggle for Christ’s friends: to hold together in their minds what they saw before them, and what they had begun to know of Christ through His words and actions. What an extraordinary problem confronted them, as they tried to develop a friendship with Someone Who looked just as ordinary as themselves, yet Who was, in some respects, so utterly Other that they wanted to fall down in front of Him, or else to run away from His gaze.
Opening our hearts to Christ’s gaze.
I can say from experience that it’s when we can’t face that gaze in prayer - whether we actually see it or not - that we find it very hard to pray. Yet it’s in the merciful darkness of prayer, if we’ll spend our lives freely choosing to meet Christ there, that we’re given the opportunity to unveil to His compassionate gaze our shoddy lives and pitiful attitudes, and our foolish sins and yearnings. Little by little, we can agree to abandon all that’s unworthy of a close friendship with Him; and when we’re reconciled and have begun to trust Him a little more, we can even bear a little of the radiance which He begins to shine upon us in our prayer. His Light is so dazzling, as I mentioned, that it hurts our soul’s eyes, at first; and so we imagine that we’re still living in spiritual darkness when in fact we’re very close to God, and we’re undergoing the marvellous process of purification, which we must endure either here or in Purgatory, if we’re to be ready for the Glory and beauty of Heaven.
Christ, the Way to the Father.
Now that I’ve tried to describe Christ, I want to say what I’ve found so marvellous about knowing Him: not all the obvious points, but the fact that He, my God and Saviour - Who has led me to the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit - is so approachable, as man, that in knowing Him I understand much more about the Godhead, and I’m drawn closer towards the Holy Trinity. Furthermore, I can say from experience - about Christ’s effect on our souls - that it’s in knowing and loving Christ, the perfect man Who is unendingly patient, loving and trustworthy that I’m brought to a clearer understanding of the meaning of love, Salvation, Eternity, and sin and Heaven.
The importance of regular prayer.
Now you can see, perhaps, that regular prayer is essential for everyone who hopes to change, to grow in virtue, to please Christ, and to be able to look forward to Heaven. Who will look towards death and Eternity with any peace, let alone any scrap of joy, if he’s spent a life-time avoiding Christ’s gaze, and has refused to pray, and has hoped to shrug off his responsibility which is to lead a life worthy of someone who was created by God, from love, for a life of perpetual bliss in His friendship?
Truly, Christ is so good, tender - and beautiful - that He’s worthy any effort or any sacrifice, for those who believe in Him.
To meet Christ in Holy Communion, when one’s friendship with Him has been tested, and when He appears to the eyes of the soul at each meeting, or else speaks of His love, or perhaps wordlessly communicates His wishes - or His thanks, or His plans - is to meet a uniquely pure and powerful Love. It’s to meet, at close quarters, an all-consuming Divine Love; and so it’s to meet, all-at-once, as Christ has shown me (in T:1916) the warmth of His loving glance, the fire of His pure affection, the sight of His open arms, the embrace of a lover, the strength of a brother - and it’s also to meet the tenderness of our God, with the now-painless scorching of His radiant Glory.
In every such meeting, Christ makes possible the acceptance of painful memories. He enables the soul to surrender to His care. It’s as though He irradiates the soul by His holiness, and so transforms everyone who is willing to be changed; and He persuades us, at last, of His power to lead us into a holy and Eternal Communion; and this goodness, and these gifts, are truly extraordinary - yet are freely available for all who believe in Christ and who put their trust in Him.
Finding a balance, in prayer.
Something extraordinary that I’ve already mentioned, about Christ - and which is extra- ordinarily strange to learn how to ‘deal’ with - is the wonderful union, in Him, of a Divine nature and a human nature. He is one Person, Who is truly both God and man. I’m mentioning this again because it’s sometimes difficult to keep a ‘balance’, in prayer, when one speaks in Holy Communion, for example, with Someone Who is true man, and tender, and also wise, helpful and very much Present, yet Who is burning within Himself with an utterly pure and Divine holiness which is awesome to be near. This holiness is also awesome to ‘see’, when Christ chooses to let His Glory be seen in a more dazzling manner than usual, on special occasions, as I’ve mentioned, or in order to teach a special lesson.
Yet Christ’s Love for us is wholly true, unswerving and forgiving. He delights in us, and relishes our friendship. As He’s encouraged me to approach Him in prayer, He has taught me to be both trusting and respectful: to confide in Him as one confides in a best friend and yet always to remain aware that He is my Creator. He has been training me - with infinite love - to come to Him with the most foolish or embarrassing problems, in the certainty that He delights in my trust and will help me; and yet He wants me to remember that He died to save me, and that I can’t do anything good without His grace; and that’s what I mean by speaking about ‘balance’. Christ wants me to be like a little child with Him; He wants to see
me living in His burning Truth, in humility, able to gaze admiringly upon His majesty; and yet He wants me to be as confident of His love as of His power, and to be wholly convinced that by living in both truth and trust I can be brought to true happiness.
Christ’s Risen Glory.
After mentioning these few examples of Christ’s evident tenderness and humanity, I’m going to describe an occasion on which He revealed Himself to my astonished gaze in the Glory of His Divinity. In this way, I hope to show how wonderful He is in dealing so sweetly with a difficult person who has served Him so grudgingly. It happened in December, 1995, when I turned to the Father in prayer to thank Him for Our Blessed Lady, and when I also thanked Our Lady for giving her whole life to God and for giving us Christ: flesh from her flesh.
I’ve mentioned this in Chapter sixteen. It was at the Vigil Mass of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception that I was praying in this way; and Christ suddenly appeared to me and began to teach me about Himself, and about His Incarnation; but He didn’t just teach. He stood before me, radiant with Heavenly Glory (T:1734A).
The majesty and dignity of our Risen Saviour are awesome to see, if He has chosen to show them, and are impossible to describe well. Yet, even with all His Glory, Christ is as simple, straightforward and gentle as a good child.
On that occasion, I was speechless with joy at His sudden appearance; but I felt my soul being held up by God’s power; indeed, only because of God’s power was I enabled to bear Christ’s radiant Light. Here, seen more clearly than ever before, was the Saviour to Whom I had tried to be loyal for so many difficult years. Here was the Mind which had planned the work I was doing, and had called me to do it. Here was the Person Who had trained me in obedience; but here, too, embodied, was the Love which yearned to make me happy forever, even as He was using me - at my consent - to bring reminders of Truth to His People: truths which could lead them, also, to true happiness.
And what did I see, with the eyes of my soul, in that moment?
Before me stood a figure of radiant beauty: a pure man, with every cell of His body and every thought of His heart and mind irradiated by an astonishing Light and grace. I saw the risen Christ, a Divine Person; and as I gazed upon Him, I was taught by Him, soundlessly, about his dual nature. In His glorified Body, Christ was shining with a light which was more like moonlight than sunlight, in the sense that His Light, as shown to me, was glowing rather than searing, soothing rather than scorching; yet it’s a bright light which cannot be borne by anyone who is afraid to look upon truth: upon Truth Itself: true God-made-man.
Christ’s purity: like pure water or crystal.
Even more astonishing than the Light was Christ’s purity. As I gazed upon Christ, I ‘saw’, by my soul’s sight and by a spiritual teaching, that every aspect and every movement of this pure and Divine Person had the quality of pure water, or a perfect crystal. Christ was wholly ‘transparent’, in the sense that no shadow of imperfection obscured the depths of His Being; and within that radiant glory I saw, in Christ, the clear patient intelligence of the Divine Person Who knows and Is all Truth, yet Who is as simple and direct as a pure little child.
Ever since my conversion, I had believed wholeheartedly that this pure Christ is a Divine Person, come down to earth, through Mary, made flesh from her flesh and so born fully human yet also Divine. Yet now I was given a clearer understanding of this marvel; that no-one on earth before Christ had ever ‘graced’ this earth with such a graceful presence. Even the saintly and sinless Virgin who conceived Him was not more than a creature on earth fulfilling the Will of her Creator, whereas Christ’s real humanity was irradiated by the beauty of His Divine perfections; and His Divine beauty was the source of His effective words and work during His life on earth.
Can you imagine how I almost shook with awe, whenever I reflected in the days and weeks to come that I had clearly seen the Saviour Who had spoken with Apostles and disciples on earth two thousand years ago? Whose heart could stay the same after such a meeting? Who could look into Christ’s eyes and speak to His Heart without trembling at the mystery of it: at meeting a grown man Who has the clear gaze of a child? Yet at the same time I had met a mature and intelligent Christ - Truth Incarnate - upon Whom every conversational ploy, half-truth or piece of flattery or insinuation must be broken as surely as an incoming wave is shattered on a rock.
With my whole heart, I felt thankful that during the previous few years Christ had prepared me to be able to meet His gaze. There was no fear in me, now. I could have died for joy. His human soul was adorned, I know - like His Mother’s - with every virtue. But what I saw that day was the radiance of His Divinity, though it was a radiance muted by His own loving Will. It flashed out toward me in our prayer just as it had blazed out occasionally on Earth in His speech, whether through reprimands or tender phrases.
Who saw Divine beauty in the bleeding figure Who trudged through Jerusalem on the day of His Passion? Christ kept His Divine Glory hidden, by His Will, during most of His time on Earth; yet there was much that He didn’t hide. He offered to everyone the Divine wisdom of His words, the Infinite strength and purity of His Love, and the Divine authority by which He could speak clearly about Salvation - and could provide the means of achieving it; and this Christ was the very Saviour Who had come to me, in my prayer.
A true representative.
Christ proceeded to teach me about His Holy Mother: about why she had been conceived ‘Immaculate’ in her own mother’s womb. He showed me something of His own perfection: of how, by His love for the Father and by His obedience to the Father’s Will, He had been willing to die for us on Calvary. I was even shown how Christ, as a true representative of mankind, had bridged the chasm between mankind and the Godhead; and the aim of this whole teaching, I was shown, was to provide me with a message for His People: a request that we all allow Christ’s pure life and virtues to flow through us, when we are reconciled to Him, and are living in union with Him, indwelt by His Holy Spirit, and devoured by a longing for the Father’s Glory.
Prayer: a dark ‘veil’.
[Speaking from the heart, I must add that Christ might terrify us, so astonishing is His purity and beauty, if we hadn’t learned already through the prophets and then through Christ Himself and His Apostles, something of His nature. We’ve only to look at the terrible suffering He bore for our sake to be reminded that although He is Truth He is also Infinite Love, Mercy and Compassion. We’re only to remember the Resurrection to remember, too, that Christ is Infinite Joy - and can share that joy with all who believe in Him and do His Will.
Through faith, and also through experience, I can say with complete conviction that Christ’s wish is not to crush us with His Truth, but to let us approach Him with our icy hearts or dirty garments - whatever image will most plainly show us that the pure, tender, truthful Christ longs to relieve us of our burdens, to warm and wash us, and to pour His grace and truth upon and within us. This is our only hope of true joy, on Earth or in Eternity, and Christ yearns to see us joyful.
It’s true that faith is needed, to believe that a Saviour so pure and holy can love people like ourselves, whom He died to save; but He’s yearning to press His gifts upon us, if we’ll freely approach Him. We’re tempted to think He holds Himself aloof and critical. Yet if we saw Him now, and saw His Love for us, we would die - either of terror or joy; and this is why we should always remain grateful for the marvel which is prayer. Under the cover of its mysterious and veiling silence and darkness, we can grow close to the God Whose Light would otherwise dazzle us. We can learn to unwrap our sore hearts and sore lives, whilst still hidden in Christ’s temporary, merciful, gloom.
One day, Heaven’s Light will break into our lives. When we die, how glad we’ll be, if our wounds have healed. How happy we shall be if our eyes have grown used to Christ’s Light, slowly, during prayer: if we’re not faced, as some are, with the sudden and tormenting glare of Truth after twenty, fifty or even eighty years of wilful darkness.]
A description of Christ.
What I really long to do now is to rush ahead with a ‘description’ of the Father; but I must first complete my verbal ‘impression’ of Christ with a few more words about how loveable and loving He is; and I’m going to use a few paragraphs I wrote in 1995. But there’s a special reason why I’m incorporating those words into this piece of text. It’s because on the day after I’d listed those things about Christ which so delight and console me, I greeted Christ in church, before Mass began, only to hear Him say to me: “You’ve written well, Lizzie!” So you can see that He liked this description of Himself; and by making His approval plain He encouraged me to speak even more boldly about Him, so that other people can begin to believe that they, too, can find joy in prayer and in the practice of the Catholic Faith.
It’s from experience, then, and with Christ’s approval, that I can say: “Christ is calming, tender, wise and understanding; and as He forgives every confessed sin or feeble effort, He is gently drawing one forward to make greater efforts to please Him and to grow like Him: but for one’s own happiness, as well as God’s Glory. Its only with sweetness and gratitude that He rewards and thanks the soul even for pathetic attempts to bear sufferings patiently, for love of Him and for what He suffered in His terrible Passion.
No-one takes such delight as Christ in private anniversaries. Often, when I’ve forgotten a special date, Christ has astonished me with His special gifts; then I’ve remembered the date, and have remembered the occasion which He wants to see me celebrate all over again! So we’re right to cherish our liturgical cycle of fasts and feasts and anniversaries, which of course is inspired by God.
No-one is as utterly constant and sympathetic towards us as Christ, when we bravely confide the most embarrassing, gruesome, silly or muddled details of our lives. Christ is unshockable. He sees, knows and understands everything. How I hope that good priests will all model themselves on Him.
In the story of the Prodigal Son.
There’s something else that’s tremendously reassuring to remember, about Christ, God and man. Christ is more thrilled by certain things than by certain other things; and so I’ve written a list of these things from memory:-
Christ is thrilled, whenever we repent, by our humility, though we don’t feel much in the way of thrills at the time. He is thrilled by the sincere efforts we make to begin again, when we’ve been ‘backsliding’ or have failed or ‘fallen’ again; and I’m speaking about big sins as well as little faults. Christ is never wagging His finger sarcastically when someone returns to him for the two-thousandth or even the ten-thousandth time to say a sincere ‘Sorry’. Christ is all smiles and joy at our real, pitiful efforts. He is just like the Father in the story of the Prodigal Son.
Christ is thrilled by our gratitude, and is very ‘touched’ by our sincere thanks for any and every good thing in our lives, and by our thanks for answers to prayer. He is thrilled by something often neglected by us: by our thanks for forgiveness, and thanks for the Sacraments.
But Christ is thrilled, more than ever, by our gratitude for what He suffered for us during His Passion. Although He’s living in Glory now, He’s full of joy at the mere sight of someone thanking Him, for example, by devotedly praying the ‘Stations of the Cross’; and if we comfort Him in His Passion by accepting our sufferings and by uniting them, mysteriously, to Christ’s, so joining in His work of Redemption, He counts us as His special friends.
Holy Scripture says: ‘God has no favourites’ (Ro 2:11); but the God-man, like any of us, is touched by acts of true devotion. It’s worth noting that Christ was ‘closer’ - by choice - to some Apostles than to others, although He loved them all immensely, and died for them all.
It’s important that I also write that we delight Christ by our acts of devotion and gratitude towards His Holy Mother. Conversely, in order to wound Christ, one need only belittle, ignore or insult her. He loves her tremendously, with a respect and gratitude He shows in just such a way to no other human being; and so He is genuinely thrilled whenever we show our love for her, or thank her for giving Jesus to us, or when we thank St. Joseph for looking after them both.”
I could write for ever, about Him; but I must move on, in order to speak about the Father.
Learning about the Father, in prayer.
I have to say that my experiences of God our Father are different: not because God’s nature is different in different Persons, nor because one Divine Person has something that Another doesn’t have, but because God has chosen to reveal Himself to me in a different way, or, rather, wishes to confirm that what His Church recommends is what He desires, which is that we should ‘tailor’ our perception of the Holy Trinity in accordance with Divine Revelation-expressed-in-certain-language, for example: about God’s Fatherhood, and His Son’s Priesthood, and the Spirit’s role as Consoler. I mean that God the Father has taught me in prayer that we cannot improve upon the way in which the Three Divine Persons - One Lord - have been portrayed for us through Holy Scripture and the Sacred Tradition. It’s God’s Will that we know and believe that the Three Divine Persons are equal, and that we approach the First Person to acknowledge His Fatherhood, the Second to acclaim Him as our Saviour and the Third to rejoice in His power, for example; and I say this with such confidence because this is what I’ve been taught by the Holy Trinity during the past two or three years.
God our Father has allowed me to experience His teachings and attributes in prayer, to some small degree; and they are experienced in a different way from that experienced with Christ in Holy Communion, even though “God is God”, whichever Divine Person is instructing me. God Wills that this different approach is experienced by me. He is responsible for it. It’s manifested partly in the feelings He evokes in me, when, as Father, He offers His awesome touch in prayer, a touch which is different from Christ’s gentle ‘touch’ in Holy Communion; but it’s revealed also by the Father’s special choice of words as He teaches me during the silent ‘teaching’ of contemplative union.
(I can hardly believe that I dare to write this, but I just have to do it, and to stop being so self-conscious. Its part of my work, work which isn’t self-chosen, but God-given.)
To converse with my Creator.
The difference which I experience can be described in the following way:- God the Father Most Holy, by His own Will, ‘stirs’ within me tremendous pangs of awe and reverence, even when I’m only thinking about Him. Of course, I’m full of reverence for Christ, but His gentleness banishes all fear, whereas an immense but wholesome reverence is something Willed by God our Father, for an earthly creature in His presence.
Until very recently, this reverence was accompanied by an immense joy-tinged-with fear; yet in recent months that fear has entirely disappeared, to be replaced in prayer by what I can only describe as an exhilaration at being able to communicate - to converse, with sincere questions and infinitely-loving answers - with my Creator.
Although it seems at times as though I am only a ‘whisper’ away from God the Father, in the intimacy of prayer, it should be understood that my imagination has no part in such prayer, but is wholly subdued, so to speak, as are my memory and intellect, as my spirit pierces the clamour of thought and rises ‘above’ the mind to meet God in the silence of contemplation; and it does so only by God’s power, and God’s invitation; and so of course I never see the Father standing in front of me (- forgive me for saying this, yet I have to) - as Christ does, frequently, in Holy Communion. The Father is inaccessible, unless we come to Him in Christ; and even now that I’ve been ‘lifted’ in the prayer of contemplation through the cloud which separates us from the Glory of the Godhead, and even now that I hear the Father speak to me and teach me, I sense that He is so transcendent and ‘Other’ that I want to cover my face and bow low as I approach Him, as my spirit is lifted towards Him, in the ‘heights’.
Conversation with the Father.
From experience, I can describe the attitude which the Father encourages me to adopt towards Him. It’s because the Father chooses to make Himself known to me, every few weeks, or every few days, by calling me to a genuine conversation in prayer, that I can speak from experience: although these conversations are only possible because I already live “in Christ,” and so am the Father’s true child. So that’s why I say quite firmly, that whenever the Father begins our ‘conversations’, He summons me to His Presence, summoning me from my normal life, into prayer, yet upwards - as though to a great height, far away - where He lives in a region which, unless He calls us, is inaccessible. He even calls me from my armchair to another room, where - in order to obey Him - I must kneel down and pray, if I am well enough to do so.
I have to describe it thus, although I know that we live “in God”. I’m writing about real intimacy with God, and about the limits which He places on that intimacy - for our good - during our life on earth.
Now, although the Father is extraordinarily tender, so tender and understanding that He can make me weep with delight and gratitude, He leaves me in no doubt that when I’m called to listen to Him, I’m being given an extraordinary privilege. I mention this because - by contrast - the Divine Son, Christ, in Holy Communion, has only rarely, as far as I can remember, given that impression. Christ seems to present Himself to me always as Friend first, and God at the same time, whereas the Father is always my Majestic God - Who can also be known as Love. Just in case anyone says that my perception of the Divine Persons is different, because my expectations have been different, I can only stress that never in my life have I expected to be taught by God in this way; indeed, I didn’t know that it was possible. I had only hazy ideas about ‘mystical contact’ with God, that is, about felt contact, since I know that even a breath of ‘dry’ but sincere prayer establishes or reinforces our ‘contact’ with God. I know that it’s through faith that we have become His children, not through emotion. Also, I had no pre-conceived ideas about the Father seeming to be more remote and powerful than Christ, though just as loving.
Every thought of mine about God - Father, Son or Holy Spirit - had been ‘coloured’ simply by the truth about our relationship: about His Sovereignty and my creatureliness, associated with His never-ending love and my trusting confidence in all that He gives us through His Church.
At the ‘edge’ of darkness.
To return to the experience of being taught in prayer by the Father: I know that whenever He has called me, in prayer, He has called me, through Christ’s life in me, to go and ‘hover’, so to speak, at the edge of the darkness where He dwells, though the darkness isn’t like earthly darkness. It has nothing to do with banishment or lostness, but is a comforting and loving darkness in which the Father cocoons me because of His Love for me; and that Divine Love recognises that I’d be hurt and dazzled were I to be confronted by His burning Glory while I’m still earthly and earth-bound and not yet quite ready to ‘go in’: by which I mean not fit to enter wholly into His infinite Knowledge of Himself. To do so would be to be in Heaven.
God the Father sometimes ‘calls’ me, therefore, and permits me to ‘taste’ His Knowledge, or, rather, to accept such Wisdom as He chooses to give to me a little bit at a time, in each teaching: and I must stress that I’m not writing, here, about the soul’s being lifted to God in silence and utter incomprehension, in what I sometimes experience as the prayer of ‘Unknowing’ contemplation. I mentioned that earlier, and it’s quite different, and yet very fruitful for the one who prays like that - when God so arranges it - and for the people in her heart. But what I’m about to describe is something which I believe is even rarer and more precious, which is a perceived or ‘known’ union with the Father in a conversation only achieved after incorporation into Christ and after many purifications.
When the Father speaks.
I can say from experience that whenever the Father ‘speaks’ to me in a soundless instruction or conversation, my heart is lurching with the honour of it, and with the marvel of His Goodness, even while I’m longing to be worthy to be with Him; and all of this has been tinged, until recently, with sorrow that I have ever served Him less than wholeheartedly. How I wish that my whole life had been spent in a state of willingness to suffer or to die for Him without even a split-second’s hesitation.
Strange to say, I rarely seem to feel sorrow with Jesus any more; in fact, He has kept asking me to leave sorrow behind, in my day-to-day intimacy with Him in prayer. A reverent sorrow-for-sinfulness, however, seems to have been something Willed by God the Father for most of my life. It’s been the inevitable accompaniment to the years of necessary penance, with prayerful explorations of the Faith; and yet it’s been easier to bear as my hope and faith have grown stronger.
Groping about for the right words, again, such ‘sorrow-for-sinfulness’ seems to have been, for a long time, a necessary, earthly aspect of my daughterly relationship with the Father. But even as I write that, I’m stunned to realise how surely, nowadays, He banishes every scrap of fear or sorrow each time He draws me into His presence - or else makes His presence known.
It’s only by what I must describe as the weight of His Glory, and the power of His majesty, and the Infinite Love of His Heart that the Father banishes everything foolish or fearful in my soul, in our meeting. Although I turn to Him in prayer very frequently throughout the day, with a brief request, or a few more words of gratitude or praise, there’s something special about those times of prayer which I ‘enter’ only because He Himself has powerfully ‘called’ me. At such times as those, He and I converse in a manner which reminds me, by its exquisite courtesy, of those stately dances of olden days. I’ll try to describe our progress.
God prompts me, by His Spirit, to turn to Him in prayer. I speak to the Father in the Name of Jesus; then the Father responds with love to one of my little queries about life or about prayer. He answers me, although with neither sight nor sound. I praise and thank Him, and dare to ask Him something else; then it’s as though Heaven’s door opens even wider. Its as if the Father is saying that there’s nothing I can’t ask Him: no gift I can’t persuade Him to give me, for my good or my delight; and there’s something else so marvellous that I feel bound to mention it here.
From experience, I can say that in the early days, when I was learning how to pray, it was as though my contact with God was broken if ever I were distracted, or if I moved away physically from where I’d knelt in prayer - or if someone called to me to lend a hand with some little task; and now I know that although God never leaves us, He permits this ‘felt-absence’ in order to train us to be recollected in prayer. It’s a necessary spiritual discipline in the nursery-stage of contemplation. Yet now, through God’s infinite goodness, it seems as though I couldn’t ‘move away’ from God even if I wanted to, in the following sense; I mean that whenever He calls me, as I mentioned above, and permits me to question Him about all sorts of things, and when He answers and instructs and consoles me so sweetly in prayer, He makes it plain, also, that He delights in conversing with me; and what’s so extraordinary about this is that neither by my distractions - by my random, silly thoughts - nor by outward interruptions - if the ‘phone should ring, so that I must pause to answer it in order to please Him, Who wants me to be faithful to duty - is He ‘caused’ to end our prayer.
No; it’s as though He follows me, or, rather, is glad to ‘stroll’ with me - I mean, spiritually - from place to place, as I find it necessary to move either through duty or perhaps because of pain: for example, when I can’t kneel any more, but must sit, or must move from my desk -where I was sitting when He first ‘sought me out’ - to go and rest in my armchair.
Exchanges of love and knowledge.
It astonishes me, too, that so great is His kindness - and so much more trusting of Him have I become - that it’s as though He ‘waits’ whenever I pause to write down whatever He’s been explaining; and so the wonderful minutes pass by in exchanges of love and knowledge for up to an hour - or until I’m too weary to remain utterly recollected and attentive any more, and so am forced to ‘descend’ from a state-of-communication to a state-of-being-enfolded in His loving care.
From experience, I’ve found that the only thing which can end such conversations is either exhaustion on my part, when I can’t pay attention for another second, after a long morning or day of intense concentration, or duty: when I have to go and immerse myself in some activity or human conversation. I don’t mean that He can be ‘shut out’ by any activity of mine, but only that our special ‘dialogue’ must end for a while, though the peace and friendship and joy are never-ending.
This is our God! I can’t begin to thank him enough for having brought me to know Him by faith, and for having taught me how to pray; and yet if I take a ‘wider’ look at God’s work, I am stunned, too, to see that God’s Love is very lavishly shown in all sorts of ways besides prayer. I can see that God’s fatherly care has ‘wrapped up’ all of my life’s plans, mistakes, sins, gifts and diversions, into a pattern which I can now see is shot through with His Will, His Wisdom - and His fatherly love: even when I was being unfaithful or half-hearted. Truly, this is a good enough reason for me to persevere in the perpetual joyful repentance which He has shown me is pleasing to Him.
But the point to stress is that the experience of being instructed by the Father is not the same as the experience of being instructed either by the Son or by the Holy Spirit.
Grandeur and Majesty.
It seems to me that, for His own holy purposes, God our Father chooses to keep me aware of His remoteness-from-my-nature, whenever He instructs me, even though He loves me, and even though His Divine Son Jesus Christ has united the Godhead to our humanity.
Even though the Father’s ‘touch’ in prayer - by which I mean the spiritual joy and knowledge with which He almost palpably suffuses my soul - is as sweet and gentle as a baby’s touch, it carries ‘beyond’ itself something, or rather, Someone Whose strength and majesty are held back, so to speak, lest they harm me. I know that when the Father speaks to me He speaks with tremendous authority and power. He speaks a brief phrase, or a wordless instruction, whilst giving me the strength and courage to bear the spiritual ‘sight’ of His Grandeur - with the knowledge that He, so Infinitely Holy, is stooping to speak with me, who am so totally unworthy.
Whenever He calls me in this way, so explicitly, in prayer, He makes me feel that if I could do so I should fall flat on my face on the floor as I speak to Him, even though both Christ and the Holy Spirit - and the Father - have shown me how infinitely tender is Their love for us. And although the very power and perfection of the Father which He permits me to sense are not ‘masculine’ there is, in them, something which is demanding my eternal loyalty and obedience. Perhaps I should say that the Father gently ‘invites’ obedience. It’s plain that I’d be foolish to refuse any invitation of His, because He is Wisdom. But the Father makes it plain, by His own Being, that He is powerful as well as loving. It’s as though He is clothed in authority. I must repeat, He is not male; but the authority with which God chooses to ‘clothe’ men on earth is a sort of shadow of the real Authority which is the Father’s, in earth and in Heaven; and that’s why I’ve written elsewhere that to address the Father as ‘God our Mother’ seems to be not only disobedience but sheer silliness - although it’s true that in His tenderness towards weak people He is like a mother.
No evidence of separation.
It’s important that I qualify these words about prayer and about sorrow by gratefully asserting that my relationship with God, in recent months, has become so simple and joyful that no thought of sorrow or pain can enter to divide us when we’re one heart in prayer.
This is not because I’ve become so overwhelmed or ‘absorbed’ in prayer that my person or personality is annihilated; on the contrary, it’s because God, in His kindness, has so fulfilled and adorned and made joyful my soul that it has never been more ‘real’. It has become to some degree like Him, supremely in knowledge and love; and my soul, in this likeness and union, can no longer perceive any evidence of separation between myself and God; and therefore our prayerful union is such - if I can express it in this way - that no pain or sorrow can touch or enter. This is the sort of union to which He calls us all - if we will listen, believe, respond and allow Him to change us. How I wish that everyone would believe, and could experience such immense joy.
How I wish that everyone could discover what I was shown by the Father (in T:1941) on 23rd July 1996 - as I’ve described in Chapter sixteen. How I wish that everyone could come to know God as He is: as true Love, and as the Source of all Love. He is the Cause of our joy, the Truth, Light, Bliss, and Sweetness which can warm and change us: the tender and Divine Love which can heal our wounds: our Prize and Treasure: our God Who, all-at-once, is Fire and Flame and Glory, Peace and Wisdom, Guide and Father. All-at-once, He is the Origin of all holiness, and our Home, our Goal, and our Paradise.
In our communion with Him we can find the perfect fulfilment of every good longing , with unending Bliss for the human heart and mind and body and soul. This is what He has shown me and what I know to be true; and it’s this glorious, Only God Who ‘woos’ us, calls and cherishes us , and answers our prayers - so that, when we have learned to trust Him, we can live with Him in the bond of Love, in a true union in which the soul and God are equal in self-giving, and in which the Creator Himself - through this mutual surrender - can be said to be ‘subject’ to His own beloved creature.
How is this possible? The answer, of course, is that it’s only been made possible through the life, death and resurrection of Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit Who was sent to our hearts by Christ after the Ascension; and it’s about the goodness of the Holy Spirit that I want to write next.
The simplicity of the Holy Spirit.
To continue, about the Divine Persons - still almost holding my breath at daring to write - the Most Holy Spirit, too, allows me to experience something of His teachings and attributes in prayer.
Although it’s true to say that it’s by the Holy Spirit’s prompting that I’ve been helped to turn to Christ in prayer, at home and before the Blessed Sacrament, I know that it’s Christ Himself Who has taught me much about the Holy Spirit. Christ once showed me, most vividly, though without sight or sound (in T:1262) that the Holy Spirit is Lord and God, Creator, Sanctifier and Consoler, and yet is like a little child in purity, simplicity and truth. It was at Pentecost that Christ once showed me (in T:1316) something of the power and joy of the Holy Spirit, Who is Fire and Glory, Divine Light and Beauty; and we ‘owe’ to the Holy Spirit, therefore, both adoration and loyalty.
Christ showed me that in Purity, Power, Wisdom, Omniscience and Love the Holy Spirit resembles both Father and Son; and yet Christ also showed me that the Spirit’s action upon us, during our journey towards Heaven, is more like a cradling than a steering. The Spirit is our Guide, Comforter and Teacher, and yet it’s as though He carries us lovingly, during this ‘cradling’, towards the Father.
It’s because of the experience of having been ‘closely-cradled’ so many times in the Spirit’s loving care, that I can describe how the approach of the Holy Spirit to the soul in prayer is perceived as being different from the sort of approach which is experienced in a communication either with the Father or with the Son. The Holy Spirit is never perceived as being ‘above’ me, or in darkness; rather, I am allowed to experience His gracious presence in a noticeably different way; it is His Will. I say ‘gracious presence’ because He doesn’t summon me, like the Father. No; whenever I’ve been taught by the Holy Spirit, I’ve been made aware that at that moment of specific ‘teaching’ He is already ‘carrying me’, it seems: as if cradling my whole person, in the spiritual life.
The kindness of the Holy Spirit.
It’s the Holy Spirit Whom I’ve felt prompting or ‘nudging’ me - at every stage of my life - urging me to do good, to go in a particular direction, to undertake a course of action, or to avoid a certain evil influence; and it’s a cause for sadness that I haven’t always obeyed His promptings, and that I found from experience that the more His guidance is ignored then the weaker or fainter seem His urgings. In such cases, it’s not He Who abandons us, but we who shut our soul’s ‘ears’ to His calls. But it’s a cause for joy, today, to know that He has led me back to the right path, and that at every stage His wise promptings continue - and that I cannot go badly ‘wrong’ if by every thought and act I’m trying to obey Him and so to please the Father and follow Christ in the ways recommended by Christ’s Church.
Today, therefore, the Holy Spirit never seems remote, though I don’t feel His presence all the time. I rarely think about what I’m ‘feeling’. I’m concentrating on what is God’s Will, and am trying to do it. That’s my main concern; although I confess that God’s gifts sometimes overwhelm me and so demolish my resolutions about shunning ‘special’ experiences in prayer. I know from experience that it’s the Spirit too, Who gives me guidance as I write. Whenever I turn to Him for help, He makes things plain. If I am lost for words, He provides them; and it’s only through my union with Christ, and through His gift of the Spirit, that I can see Truth so clearly, and so attempt to describe it; and by this I mean truths about the Godhead, and prayer, and our relationships with God and with one another.
The work of the Holy Spirit.
It’s through the Holy Spirit that I’ve received so many teachings in prayer - through the merits of Christ, and for the Glory of the Father. Sometimes the Most Holy Spirit - to my utter astonishment - has instructed me, for example, about His action in the life of Our Blessed Lady, or about the ways in which He guides and helps souls in their journey from darkness to Light: or about how He is at work during the Consecration. On one extraordinary occasion - as I mentioned in Chapter fourteen (T:1354) - He astounded me by His magnificent response to my request for help: when I asked Him to give me a more loving heart.
When He then taught me about Love, by saying to me: “I am the measure”, He awed me by His grandeur. He showed me - with neither sight nor sound - something of His majesty and holiness. Equal to the Father and the Son, He is true God, worthy of all reverence and to be given adoration and obedience; and yet, whoever meets Him meets true Love: Divine Charity.
On that extraordinary day, as He spoke to me, the Holy Spirit helped me to see that I should never be satisfied by my pitiful attempts to be loving - but should always hope to grow more loving. Yet He wasn’t encouraging me in love by words alone; nor was He just proposing Himself as an example: as a ‘measure’. He wasn’t like a lecturer who invites his students to reproduce his demonstration of some subject as they sit before him in miserable silence, all too aware of their own ignorance and lack of understanding. No! The way of the Holy Spirit is different. It is loving. It’s by His gift of Himself that He coaxes us to show out charity to others. He pours that Love into willing hearts in the sacraments; He also radiates that Love towards us through loving persons; and He fills and surrounds our souls with that burning Love in prayer, at times of His choosing; and that’s why I can describe the ‘sort’ of Love which He is, if I can phrase it that way, since it was on that September day in 1993 that He gave me a demonstration of love which I shall never be able to forget, and which I have to try to encapsulate in a few inadequate words.
A demonstration of love.
On that extraordinary occasion, I was astonished to find that the Holy Spirit, Who is the Love of God, utterly surrounded and suffused my soul in prayer; and in doing so, He showed me that whoever meets Him meets a Love which is heart-warming, and which wholly enfolds the whole ‘person’. This Love is blissful and tender and consoling. It is simple, pure, gentle and encouraging. The embrace of this forgiving Love is light, not burdensome. It makes no demands, but rather - by its purity and bliss - invites love to grow where before there has been little love; and thus, as the Holy Spirit told me, it can help the small fire of love within a weak soul to reach out and to become one with the Great ‘Fire’ which is Divine Love; and thus, the soul can be ‘wrapped’ in the everlasting and full embrace of the Eternal bliss of the Three Divine Persons: the Holy Trinity. So this is why we say that the Spirit is ‘at work’. He perpetually draws and encourages us towards a greater good and a greater joy: always yearning to see us joyful with the true joy which is found in Heaven - in Love’s Kingdom.
At the same time, He taught me many things about His nature, and our friendship: far too much for me to be able to mention here. If I were to write non-stop for a year, I couldn’t adequately express my awe or gratitude. But what is He ‘like’, in Himself ? I can say from experience that the Holy Spirit is always Invisible, yet is always breathtakingly Light, pure and tender. He inspires no fear in me, or such is His Will; I’m only describing what has happened. His presence brings Wisdom, in instructions, and also satisfaction, as He satisfies a soul’s thirst for understanding. He is ‘sensed’ by the soul as One Who is as lovely as pure air, or as vast as a cave in the greatest mountain; yet He’s as simple as a little child, and is always gently at work with willing souls, helping and pacifying us as we do our best to love Christ, and as we reached out, ‘in’ Christ, to please and glorify the Invisible Father.
On several other occasions, the Holy Spirit has spoken to me, plainly; and a simple, clear phrase from Him is like a baby’s breath, or like a drop of clear water. His touch is gentle and consoling. One can ‘fall’ into His care without a care in the world, if one has already lost one’s fear of ‘falling’: lost it, I mean, by surrendering to God, giving up sin, and living a life of gratitude, repentance, reparation and devoted service.
I know that the touch of the Most Holy Spirit within the soul can be like a scorching flame in the heart, almost unbearable, for anyone who has sinned. But this is all forgotten when we’re determined to love God, and when we’ve emerged from God’s major purifications.
An infusion of Light and peace.
It was the Holy Spirit - so He told me - Who once lifted my soul to Heaven, to that extraordinary meeting with Christ (in T:43) on what I’ve called the ‘Alpha and Omega’ day: such is the Spirit’s power and goodness.
As for the beauty and Glory of the Holy Spirit: of the Divine Spirit, Who is Holiness Itself - a pure and inextinguishable Fire - I’ve been shown that it’s His Light which shines within my soul both during and after the Gospel readings. Since I pray fervently to the Holy Spirit for understanding whenever the Holy Scriptures are read in church, I cannot be surprised - He has shown me - that He gives that understanding, and does so, at this stage of my life, with such a lavish infusion of Light, joy and peace within my soul, that that moment of grace is almost as overwhelming as the moment of Christ’s arrival in Holy Communion; and this, I can be sure, is our God: the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity.
He is the fiery Light which illuminates minds, warms cold hearts, and brings courage. It is He Who blazes like a pillar of Fire within the hearts of those who call to Him, welcome him and are willing to be changed by Him; this is our God.
Furthermore, I can proclaim that whenever Christ comes to me in Holy Communion it is the Spirit’s Glory which Christ sends ‘up’ to the Father from within my soul, as an infinitely-worthy prayer of praise for the Father. It’s the Spirit’s own flame of Glory which shines in my heart or burns on my brow - according to the Father’s Will - whenever it’s time for yet another manifestation of His presence and work and goodness: for the sake of this God-given task.
It’s only by the courage which is given to me by the Holy Spirit that I write so boldly, today, about God and about the spiritual life, when I’ll probably be called a mad-woman or a fool - although everyone who believes my story will be given joy. But I, too, am made joyful by this writing: not because it’s good writing, but because my efforts are sincere and because God is so good. I mean that He keeps rewarding me for what I do.
Each time I sit at my desk or my kitchen table to write something more about God’s goodness, before proceeding to church for Mass, I’m happy just to be doing my duty; but as soon as I arrive in church, I’m lavishly rewarded. Christ pours His joy and gratitude within my soul from the tabernacle, and rewards me further in Holy Communion. Imagine this: that God lavishes rewards upon a creature for praising her Creator in print, and for urging other people towards Him.
Three Persons yet One God.
How dearly I should like to carry on writing about God, to describe His goodness and beauty; but something crucially important must be mentioned here. I would be horrified to find that I’d perhaps given someone the impression that I’m speaking as if of three ‘Gods’ whenever I speak of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That I can speak confidently of the Three Divine Persons has only been made possible because the One God, the Most Holy Trinity, has set me within the ‘heart’ of His Life - so to speak - as I co-operate with Him on earth, although I do so inadequately. It’s through God’s invitation in prayer, and through His power, that I ‘glimpse’ something of the life within the One Holy God upon Whom we usually seem to gaze as if from a distance.
Astounding though it is, I’ve been permitted to cast my soul’s gaze around me, as it were, from the ‘centre’ of God’s heart, by which I mean from the ‘centre’ of life-in-union with Him; therefore I find that I can describe something about the Three Persons Whom I know and with Whom I have communicated during the freely-given-by-God extraordinary experiences of contemplative prayer. Of course, all the “seeing” which is mentioned is by the soul’s faculties, and not by bodily or earthly sight. Also, when I mention the ‘soul’s gaze’, I mean to say: the soul’s understanding of God which is given to the soul in a life of intimacy, in a union of Wills, after many purifications.
Although God has revealed Himself through Christ and His Apostles, we can say that until we meet Him in Heaven, He remains, for us, essentially Mysterious, and Unknowable and Unseen. Yet the obscure ‘Knowledge’ of Himself which He chooses to give to certain persons through contemplative prayer’s amazing union can give to a soul a vivid and instinctive grasp of those things about God that the Church knows and says to people who live in spiritual darkness.
The contemplative knows and ‘relishes’, through union with God in prayer, those things which the theologian knows through his or her intellect, and which both contemplatives and theologians know by faith.
That is the reason why the Three Persons can be ‘met’ and loved, in prayer, and then sometimes described with a clarity which might seem astonishing to someone who doesn’t pray, or who hasn’t yet progressed beyond a certain degree of prayer.
This is why, also, a description of the perceived distinctions between the Three Persons might give the impression - to someone who is unfamiliar with our doctrine of the Blessed Trinity - that the writer is describing three gods.
At the heart of a comet.
Perhaps it’s worth risking a poor analogy to make it a bit plainer why it’s through prayer rather than through thought that God’s inner life can be better understood and God Himself be better known.
If observers of a huge and beautiful comet were to see it hurling itself in a great arc over the earth, far enough away not to be dangerous, but near enough for people to see its beauty, they would speak in unison about the direction in which the comet was flying, its origin, its age, and the length of its fiery tail; but no-one could be really sure of what was happening at the comet’s centre, except by scientific deduction. Details about temperature, mass and speed, when combined with facts about solids hurtling through our atmosphere, would allow a reasonable assumption to be made about conditions at the centre; but no-one would really know. Logical deduction is not the same as personal and tangible evidence and experience.
This analogy falls down, above all, I think, because God - unlike the comet - has revealed much of His nature and His purpose to mankind, through His own Divine Son. But much of the rest of the picture will ‘hold’. I mean that if someone, by an extraordinary power from a Divine ‘comet’, were to be brought to the centre of a comet during its flight, and were marvellously protected from what would normally harm it, for example, from the heat, that person would ‘see’ as being true what the scientists had only advanced as theory. But that person ‘at the heart’ would have another advantage; and it would be an advantage consisting not of having more facts nor of feeling a firmer assurance of the truth of those facts; he or she would have a better grasp of the relationship between one fact and another, and of which facts were really important for an understanding of the comet’s origin, present condition, and ‘purpose’.
What might have seemed immensely interesting, from below, might be seen to be of little importance: for example, the comet’s tail. What is unseen from below, such as the material at the comet’s centre: its condition, temperature and nature, is seen clearly at the centre; and so, by this poor illustration, I can offer a glimpse of the marvel of God-given contemplative ‘teaching’. The marvel is that someone who, when ‘outside’ prayer, believes in the Most Holy Trinity but who doesn’t understand the ways in which God ‘works’ - since she cannot see how God can be Three and One - can be lifted by God into Himself in a particular sort of prayer; and there, she can gaze upon the ‘workings’ of the Divine Persons within the One Godhead as clearly - though in a different manner - as the person in the illustration has gazed at the heart of the fiery comet.
Writing from experience.
Please excuse my speaking about God as if God were a ‘thing’ or a mere being, rather than Being itself. That’s part of the poverty of my analogy. But perhaps you can see that if we know a contemplative who writes from the vantage-point - if I dare to say this, yet I must - of the Heart of God, a Heart opened by God for brief periods to someone who has given his or her life to God in its entirety after responding to God’s invitation, we can be sure that she writes only what she knows. She writes only what she ‘sees’ through her soul’s faculties.
Her words may be badly expressed, and her faults plain, but the ‘picture’ which she paints of God’s Nature, His Will, and His methods of dealing with human souls, will be worth a hearing. She has experienced what others might have grasped by deduction. I’m not saying that she can’t be mistaken about minor matters; but it’s because she writes not unwisely from her genuine experiences of God that her writings are given a place in the Church’s life, as are the writings of numerous uneducated and prayerful persons who are usually known as Christian ‘mystics’.
Such people have been able to describe things, from experience, which no learned person can describe - even though the wisdom of a learned Christian writer who has had no mystical prayer experiences is invaluable.
If I can throw out a few analogies, it seems to me that someone who wants to hear about the special beauties of Antarctica will speak first with an explorer, if possible - although he will be grateful for the work of the map-makers who have made it possible for him to have information which is vital for a journey to that region. Or if someone wants to learn French so that he can speak better with the French family with whom he stays each summer, he might prefer to spend time conversing in French with a French neighbour, even if that person happens to be illiterate, than in reading books of French grammar. He will absorb the sounds and the rhythm and the intonation of the language, through speech, in a way which cannot be learned from books - although books are essential for someone who wants to be sure that he can construct beautiful sentences in French, with the correct tenses, and with silent word-endings learned, so that his written French will be correct in every way. Or, to labour the point - and bearing in mind some of the torments of the spiritual life, as well as the astonishing joys and triumphs - we could imagine that someone who wants a first-hand account of a surgical operation, so that he can plan his own finances and his own convalescence, might first approach his neighbour for information, if that neighbour has had that operation, instead of dashing off to the surgeon. It’s true that the surgeon’s help will be essential - particularly his medications, his warnings about not eating before an anaesthetic, and his surgical skills, and so on. Yet someone who has suffered an operation, and has experienced the special problems as well as the delights of recovery can give an account of the whole episode which will be more vivid and accurate, in some senses, than anything which could be said by the surgeon.
So it is with prayer, of course. Accounts of prayer-experiences must be examined with caution, if indeed they have to be examined. There’s no substitute for the learning of a good and wise theologian, on this subject. Yet there are people who want to know more about prayer in order to be encouraged in their progress, to be urged to endure desert-patches, and to be assured that God’s sweetness and kindness are so astonishing that it’s worth enduring every sorrow in order to reach Him; and they will be helped in a special way if they seek not just information from the pages of a learned book, but inspiration from the heart and pen of someone who can say with conviction - and preferably with some evidence - “God is good. I believe this; but I say this, too, because I know Him; and this is what He is ‘like’ ......”
A Russian wedding ring.
If I continue to speak boldly about God while I have the ‘framework’ of this chapter in which to hold up a certain image, it seems to me that the work and unity of the Three Divine Persons in the One God Whom we adore is best described by a symbol; and the most apt symbol I have ever seen, by which to express the Mystery which is God’s Trinity-in-Unity, is what is called a “Russian Wedding ring”.
(I’m so unfit to write this, and untrained - except by Him. But I believe it’s His Will that I try. I’m sitting near my kitchen table, during a ‘heat-wave’, as one group of guests departs and another is about to arrive; the whole ‘piece’ has been written in bits and pieces between various kitchen tasks, rests, conversations and phone calls.)
Have you ever seen a wedding ring which consists of three shining bands of metal, each a circle, but a circle which is apparently twisted one way and then another to accommodate the ‘movements’ of the two other metallic circles which are inter-twined around it and with each other?
How simple it is, and how beautiful! No band is larger than another. None has a beginning or an end. Each is perfect in its own shape and its own beauty; each gains nothing by being with the others, since the three together are a ring just as the single band is a ring; yet if you can imagine the three bands flowing over and around and next to one another smoothly, unceasingly, and slowly - in a stately manner - in Eternity, you can share the picture in my mind which best symbolises, for me, God’s Trinity-in-Unity: God’s inner Life, of which He has revealed something to us, through Christ. It is a Life in which Three Divine Persons, One God, exist as beautiful and changeless, and yet are ‘at work’ unceasingly, ‘flowing’ in the heart of Eternity.
How amazing it is, that God is Love, and that He invites us to live within His life of unceasing Love, first through our faith and baptism, and in the union of Holy Communion, and then - as He draws the soul towards Him in contemplative union - in prayer, and, at the end of our lives - we hope with all our hearts - in Heaven. What more could He do for us, and how astonishing it is that we have ever complained about His requests, or about His care of us!
Body and soul.
[You’ll notice that I’ve said a great deal about the soul, but very little about the body, which Christ and Christians believe to be so important that we rejoice in the thought of its resurrection and glorification. I hope I’ve said enough, however, about reverence in prayer, and therefore about posture, at least to indicate that each one of us is created body and soul: each of us one person who is bodily affected by spiritual good and evil and is also spiritually affected to some degree by bodily pains or delights. But this is such a vast subject that I’ll say no more, having chosen to stress, earlier, that whatever touches our lives - our bodies or souls - is ‘met’ and dealt with by us in our soul’s interior where, of our free will, in our inmost heart, we take up either a loving or a self-centred stance or attitude towards other people and towards God.]
How much more I could say - about God and His creatures. But the main point has been made: that everything I’ve been permitted to learn of God, through the experience of being taught by Him and of hearing His words, has made me see more clearly the wonder of all that Christ taught his Apostles and now teaches us through His Church. The Three Divine Persons are equal in majesty and in purity and in every perfection; and it’s the Will of God the Holy Trinity that we delight in the Father’s Fatherhood, in the Son’s Sonship and in our in-corporation in Him, and also in the Spirit’s role as Consoler, as the Three Persons draw us into the wonder of life in the Glory of the Godhead, at our consent, and after penance and purification; and it’s God’s Will, also, that someone like myself who, in adult life, has met this Love in its mixture of majesty and tenderness, its purity and its fervour, should speak about it - about Him - through these writings, and so should invite other people to turn to Him in prayer.
Earlier this year - on February 16th 1998 - I thanked God once again for His goodness; and I asked Him: ‘Who am I, to speak with You: Lord God, and Creator!” Then, straightaway, the Father showed me that He lifts my soul in prayer to such a height because of our close union, and in order to teach me. He taught me that I’m right to put my trust in Him. His holiness lies far above those who are occupied with earthly desires or ambitions; and yet I mustn’t be afraid to say that I now live far ‘above’ earthly preoccupations, since I have truly reached the Father, “in” Christ, and now live joyfully in the Father’s presence.
A ‘return’ from the heights.
As I’ve already indicated, my every prayer in this degree of union is greeted with Bliss, whether my prayer be an act of praise, petition or contrition. Such is the Father’s delight in contrition and truth that Bliss is now His answer and gift to every movement of my heart towards Him; and that’s why I wasn’t surprised when Christ came to me in Holy Communion on 16th February and reassured me (in T:2503) that, truly, I love and greet the same God - the One, only God - whether I greet Father, Son or Holy Spirit. But then Christ also taught me, as I offered His Glory to the Father in praise and thanksgiving, that it is Christ Who brings my soul ‘high’ before the Father in contemplation: but not only so that I can praise God and delight in our prayer; it is also to give me so glorious a knowledge of Truth - of the Godhead - that I can help other people through my “return” from the heights of the mountain-tops of prayer.
At the same time, Christ reminded me that He once told a story about when Dives and Lazarus had died. The rich man called out to Father Abraham, who was cradling poor Lazarus in his bosom whilst he, Dives, the rich man, was in agony; and Dives begged for a warning to be given to his still-living brothers about selfishness and sin, and about God’s Commandments, and reward and punishment; yet Abraham replied - Christ said, in His story - that “... THEY WILL NOT BE CONVINCED EVEN IF SOMEONE SHOULD RISE FROM THE DEAD” (Lk 16:31).
Then Christ explained to me that although the brothers in the story weren’t given a special message about how to please God and save themselves from disaster, many people in our own day are being given useful reminders of the same things - and all because God has trained me, and has invited me to make a ‘return’ to the valley from the heights of the mountain-tops of prayer, in order to share the knowledge I’ve been given: to offer reminders of the Eternal Truths about God, and mankind, and Christ, and Salvation, and to do so through this spiritual autobiography and through several volumes of ‘Christ’s Instructions.’