November 27, 2000

Kristen and Aaron got married. It was great fun. November 4th, I escorted my daughter down the church aisle, united her arm with Aaron's, and then sat down out of the way, no longer as important a figure in Kristen's life. Aaron and her union now has the preeminent place. You may enjoy looking at some of the pictures on Aaron's website at

In the attempts of great souls to describe the life of Union with God, one of the main forms of symbolic expression used is the Spiritual Marriage. The soul for whom intimate and personal communion has been the mode under which they best apprehended spiritual Reality, speaks of the consummation of the communion, its perfect and permanent form, as the Spiritual Marriage of the soul with God. This relates to subjective experience rather than to objective fact. It describes the prayer's astonished recognition of a profound change effected in their own personality--the rapturous consummation of love.

A chief necessary preliminary is the pure surrender of ego-centrism which the trials of the Dark Night of the Soul tend to produce. Julian of Norwich emphasizes that no soul is at rest in the Bridegroom until all created things no longer retain any excessive attachment. When the soul is "willingly made naught for love to have Him that is all, then is it able to receive spiritual rest."

The chief evidences of this state are three: 1) a complete absorption in the interest of the Infinite One,  2) a consciousness of sharing God's strength, acting by God's authority, which results in a complete sense of freedom, and invulnerable serenity, and usually urges the person to some form of heroic effort or creative activity,  3) the establishment of relationships in which the person becomes a spiritual parent or source of spiritual vitality in other people.

"Our work is the love of God," cries Ruysbroeck. "Our satisfaction lies in submission to the Divine Embrace." This utter and abrupt submission to the Divine Embrace is the essence of that form of contemplation which is called the Orison of Union. 'Surrender' is it's secret: a personal surrender, not only of finite to Infinite, but of bride to Bridegroom, heart to Heart."

Romantic poets and songwriters often allow our entry into the experience more vividly. In the Bible, this form of literature is used in the Song of Songs to depict the union of the soul with God or Christ. See if this Biblical expression awakens your imagination to these possibilities within your own Holy Bond. Or consider the following verse.

With Thy Sweet Soul, this soul of mine
Hath mixed as Water doth with Wine.
Who can the Wine and Water part,
Or me and Thee when we combine?
Thou art become my greater self;
Small bounds no more can me confine.
Thou hast my being taken on,
And shall not I now take on Thine?
Me Thou forever hast affirmed,
That I am ever know Thee mine.
Thy Love has pierced me through and through,
Its thrill with Bone and Nerve entwine.
I rest a Flute laid on Thy lips;
A lute, I on Thy breast recline.
Breathe deep in me that I may sigh;
Yet strike my strings, and tears shall shine.

Just like I, as father to Kristen, no longer play as important a role in her life as does her bridegroom, even so, in the psychodrama of our individual souls, the Ego takes a more and more subordinate role to the Reality of the the Higher Self and Bridegroom within. And like I found great joy in releasing Kristen into her bridegroom's arms, the Ego can find joy and rest in this abandonment and trust to Him who is greater. I sometimes worry if Kristen's bridegroom will love her as well as I tried to do. I also sometimes wonder if God isn't making a mess of things. At my better moments, I rest and trust.

How are you doing with your rest in the Bridegroom? Do you have someone to help you break through to that place of rest? I hope so. I have great appreciation for my spiritual directors and friends who have helped me find that rest. "Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it." (Hebrews 4:1)

God's richest blessings to you this Advent. If I can be of service to you, please let me know. God seems to be enabling my "tent-making" efforts so that I can continue to offer direction to those who are interested at a donation fee. 

Troy Caldwell