Posted March 29, 2003
Book: When the Lion Roars: A Primer for Unsuspecting Mystics
Author: Stephen J. Rossetti
Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, pp.158
Excerpt from Jacket:
“Mystic are not part of a small elite society . . . .
Rather, they are people who have come to experience the intense, personal desire God has to share himself with us.”
In this lively guide, Stephen Rossetti reminds us that becoming a mystic is not a matter of learning some “mystic secret,” but of entering into the divine simplicity of God’s unbounded and unrestrained love. This invitation is for all of us.
In a series of practical, readable chapter, Rossetti addresses the many questions and concerns that arise on the path to deeper prayer. He draws carefully from the wisdom of scripture and uses this broad knowledge of mystical writers — from the Desert Fathers to Theresa of Lisieux — to guide us on a road we may never have expected to take. Writing from his own experience of prayer and from his expertise as a spiritual director and therapist, he helps us arrive at a deeper understanding of ourselves as wounded and sinful people who are nevertheless caught up in the transforming love of God.
Excerpt from the Book:
Beginners on the mystical road usually start with a kind of honeymoon period. God often showers blessings and consolations on the beginner in considerable abundance. It is a time of intense spiritual fervor and can inaugurate a powerful a powerful “second conversion.” The first conversion is the acceptance of faith and a desire to lead a Christian life. The second conversion is a decision to walk the “narrow path,” a dedication of one’s self to live directly and totally for God.
. . . .The truth comes to the fore when these early consolations disappear. As John of the Cross teaches us:
It should be known, then, that God nurtures and caresses the soul, after it has been resolutely converted to His service, like a loving mother who warm her child with the heat of her bosom, nurses it with good milk and tender food, and carries and caresses it in her arms. But as the child grows older, the mother . . . sets the child down from er arms, letting it walk on its own feet so that it may put aside the habits of childhood and grow accustomed to greater and more important things.
When the milk is withdrawn, some beginners become angry. They are angry with God and may abandon the spiritual life altogether. Clearly, their motive in following the mystical path was the consolations they received, that is, what they were getting out of it. But one cannot follow the mystic path with such self-centered aspirations. In the end, we must focus our eyes on God. Our delight must be in fulfilling his will. Letting go of self to focus on another may be difficult for many in our narcissistic age.
Table of Contents
1. Purely a gift
2. Intoxicated on God’s milk
3. Ever more the beginner
4. Friends of God
5. Facing sin is freedom
6. Judge not
7. The need to be guided
8. Living for God alone
9. Thy will be done
11. God is present
12. Pray always
13. Praying is breathing
14. Munching on Jesus
15. The scriptures are our consolation
16. Ecstasies are a distraction
17. Flee from locutions
18. Seek mercy, not suffering
19. Knowing by not knowing
20. Safe harbor from evil
21. Our radiantly humble God
22. The sound of God
23. The noisy distractions of humanity
24. Bearer of God’s joy
25. Bears of God
26. A life hidden in the triune God
27. In the end is my beginning