Tag Archives: Spiritual Espousals

Contemplate Guidance with John Ruusbroec

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, May 2, 2017

 

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Contemplate Guidance with John Ruusbroec

Fr. Ruusbroec lived in the 1300’s in the Flemish part of what is now Belgium. When a teen, he went to live with his uncle (a priest). John studied for the priesthood himself, became ordained, and later entered a religious house with his uncle. Fr. Ruusbroec became known as a contemplative, a spiritual writer and thinker who wrote and published a number of treatises. Excerpts from The Spiritual Espousals are included here.

In this section, Fr. Ruusbroec discusses the importance of unity of mind and spirit, and the several manifestations of unity within a person. I was struck by the following description:
“There is no more precious vessel than a loving soul and no more beneficial drink than the grace of God. It is in this way that a person will offer to God all his works and his entire life with a simple and upright intention and will also, above that intention, above himself, and above all things, rest in that sublime unity where God and the loving spirit are united without intermediary.” [1]

My goodness! What riches there are in these short few sentences! Fr. Ruusbroec wanted to aid his readers in becoming closer and closer to God. The way for the good Father was to strive to practice regular, rigorous interior (that is, inner) exercises. And, as we reach a state of more and more closeness, we may indeed approach that “sublime unity.”

I wonder quite what Ruusbroec meant about “God and the loving spirit” are indeed united without intermediary. I suspect that if this was coming from a Roman Catholic, it verged on the outskirts of Catholic theology. (Interesting! Seriously.)

“This unity of the spirit is where we are to dwell in the peace of God and in the richness of charity. Here all the multiplicity of the virtues comes to an end, and they live together in the simplicity of the spirit.” [2]

Ah, for the good Father, it all distills down to the unity of the spirit. And, what can be more blessed and God-given than for everyone to have the opportunity to receive these blessed gifts. Dear Lord, gracious God, help the readers (me, included) to take what John Ruusbroec dearly wished. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

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[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 286.

[2] Ibid, 287.