ch 15. The transition to contemplative prayer may be gradual. When should we “fall back” on meditation and when should we persevere? When J says eliminate the impediments and live in pure nakedness of spirit what does that mean to you?
ch 16. A whole new topic…or is it? Supernatural apprehensions that are called imaginative visions often take place during meditation. Why? How are they different from imagining a scene from the Bible. What are the dangers and the best way to deal with these? Reflect on the paragraph: In the high state… Share some thoughts. What do you think of the image of the intellect as the holder for the candle of faith?
ch 17 If they are so dangerous, why does God sometimes use visions and other things related to the senses to communicate with souls? Reflect on ways God has progressed with you through the stages from exterior/natural to interior/spiritual. Do you think it was more necessary in Teresa and John’s time for God to communicate with visions or other extraordinary means? Have you ever wished for a vision? Do you understand why the Church is so hesitant to recognize visions and why we should be very cautious as well?
2.18 While the soul is encouraged to bring to one’s confessor any experiences of hearing or knowing what God “said,” John here cautions that the response of the confessor can become dangerous for the soul. What does this tell you about communicating with anyone about these experiences? What are the dangers?
2.19 This chapter is filled with cautions for the soul and the director. Have you or someone you know ever been sure you understood what God was telling you and acted upon it only later to realize you had misinterpreted the words or understanding? But how can we be misled by God? Spend some time in prayer asking for the grace to trust God and not even unintentionally impose your will on God. Ask God to effect God’s will and not yours; and to make your will one with his.
2.20 This chapter gives us some clarification of why we cannot know or understand even when God gives us locutions or visions. These things are meant to be pondered in our hearts, as Mary pondered all that she experienced. Does this give you a better understanding of Faith and of why Faith is the proximate means to union with God? and a greater appreciation for the Carmelite charism of contemplative prayer?
2.21 John goes a step further to say that God can be angered by our response to visions and locutions. What is he telling us or warning about? Consider what John says about how the devil uses our openness to locutions or visions to lead us away from God. What is the danger for people who actively seek revelations from God about their own or the lives of others? How is this contrary to faith?