St. Joseph of Cupertino was gifted with an erratic mysticism. Prone to ecstatic visions since youth, he is often most remembered for his supposed ability to levitate.
Recently I went and spent a weekend on personal retreat at the Franciscan Centre in Dorset, England – Hilfield Friary. My purpose for going was to take a couple of days out of my work schedule as a writer, speaker and retreat leader to just go and ‘be’ in the Divine presence in a space created for stillness. I was, for all intents and purposes, practicing what I preach.
World mythology and religious literature is ripe with tales of darkness and pain. Joseph Campbell created a classic template when he wrote The Hero With A Thousand Faces, and one of the main therapies of reading this work, in my opinion, is the way in which it can reframe difficult experiences into archetypal adventures.
The idea that the presence of God is something I can practice never occurred to me until I stumbled upon Brother Lawrence's book, The Practice of The Presence of God. A lay brother in a Carmelite order in Paris, Brother Lawrence's writings were compiled posthumously. He was especially known by other brothers for his uncanny ability to see God in everything. The title phrase of his book also serves as a great summary of centering prayer, the contemplative life, and the Christian mystical traditional in general.
In Beholding Trinity Through Relationship: Deep Calls to Deep, An Intimate Journey With God, Neil Fraser takes us on a journey that uses a simple-on-the-surface structure – with results that are stunningly rich and complex. This is a book that you could read and reread, and then discover something new about the contemplative path each time.