Now we have come to what is probably my favorite subject - seeing God face to face. I have saved it for last - having written about almost everything else I know first - because I could not write of it till this moment. You cannot touch this subject until you are in a frame of mind where you are literally PREPARED to see God face to face, if God chooses to lift you up to that REALITY. What I am saying is that there have been few times in my life where my mind and heart were clear and focused and perfect enough to touch the subject; to even write about it with any conviction. The fact that I had seen God face to face, twice, a long time ago, does not mean that I am there now nor that I have been there in clarity many times. As a mortal, a human with tremendous flaws, I am beset by my own problems, in my mind, that have kept me from facing the subject, let alone GOD HERSELF.
I COULD NOT WRITE ABOUT SEEING GOD FACE TO FACE BEFORE BECAUSE I WAS SO FAR FROM GOD IN INTIMACY THAT THE SUBJECT WAS TOO FAR FROM ME. Now I am in a position, by the Blessed Hand of God, to see more clearly what it takes for this honor.
I was not able to write about seeing God face to face until I once again reached a close intimacy with The Lord when He married me for the second time on August 26th, 2004................ RVW
Let us make this disclaimer right now that this subject is not for the faint of heart or one who looks upon God as a hobby, or one who looks at God with halfway measures, or one who is curious, or one who is lukewarm. This is not for the fainthearted. This is for those who are on their way to holiness and will spare nothing to get there. This is for the bravest, the boldest, the most generous, self-giving souls on earth.
If you want to see God face to face this is a path you take alone. Your family and friends do not go with you. You can have no thought in your mind nor any feeling in your heart except for God.
There are many long and laborious steps to the place you need to be in order to be READY to see God face to face. It does not mean you WILL but to be READY is all you can do yourself. To be lifted up in GLORY has nothing to do with you personally. You can only prepare and stand in readiness and wait for God's good pleasure to do the rest. If God is not lifting you up PROBABLY means that you are not perfectly clean of soul. To be lifted up to Beatific Vision is to be lifted up to Heaven; and this cannot happen unless you are not only clean of all sin, but the sins you have had have been paid for, so that there is no RESIDUE or filth of sin on your soul. (Such a state requires purgatory, and you cannot be lifted up to Heaven when you require purgatory.) On top of that, you must not only be clean of sins but also of FAULTS, that is to say, the most minor transgressions AGAINST CHARITY cannot be present in your soul. These faults would include not just actions but THOUGHTS and FEELINGS that are against charity.
Although it seems simple to me now, now that I am there in a good place, as I review the steps and think deeply about them, there is a lot of discussion to be had. For one thing, you must understand that there are many DEGREES OF UNION WITH GOD. You may be in union with God, but not in the deepest union with God that is required. That is to say; holy souls are all in union with God on some level, at various times in their lives. One level could be called approximate union, another would be casual or close. But there is only one level of union that is PERFECT in every way, and that we shall call INTIMATE union with God.
Then again, there are TYPES of union. There is union in FAITH, where a soul could have perfect faith but may not be perfect in other areas. Some people have an incredible MINISTRY and are in perfect union in their GIFTS or ANOINTINGS. They could be perfect healers, or preachers or evangelists, and do incredible good for others. But for themselves, they cannot see God face to face because they have not, in perfection, the one thing that is necessary for INTIMATE UNION.
And so, what is INTIMATE UNION? What is the thing that is most absolutely necessary to see God face to face? My heart burns to tell you! You must be in a place that I call HUMILITY, POVERTY and PERFECTION. These three words cover, to me, the requirements necessary for the greatest intimacy with God and the possibility of seeing God face to face. As we explore these words and their qualities you will see that they cover the same as saying
"The pure in heart shall see God."
I declare to you that humility, poverty and perfection are three words meaning the same thing. You could use many other words to approximate what I am saying, including the words love and egoless, but for our purposes, I want to show this to you from the point of view of these three words.
Humility is to be in a place of no ego. Ego is when you separate yourself from others and in some way describe or perceive yourself as a sole, different, good or bad creature. In doing so, a lot of problems arise, for as soon as you separate yourself from others you either think of yourself as less than them, which is wrong, or more than them, which is also wrong. Better that you do not see yourself as separate nor evaluate yourself as separate, nor think of yourself at all in terms of evaluation. Let God do the evaluating, the judging, the sizing up and the counting, good or bad. Try not to compare yourself with anyone. Leave them be as they are and leave yourself to be as you are and judge no one, not even yourself. To be humble does not mean to crawl in the dust. It means to see REALITY. It does not mean to kiss bottoms or put on a show of humility. It means to stay quiet when people are bragging and stop talking about yourself and stop making people try to like you. There is more to be said, but let us go on to the next word.
The next word is POVERTY. Poverty means to WANT NOTHING BUT GOD. That's a big order! But you must do it. To be in poverty you must not be attached, in the flesh, to people and to things. You must not cling to people - not even your own family - or be dependent on them emotionally. You must not be emotionally dependent on a lover or spouse, or friends. You must be detached in the sense of animal, physical, emotional feelings. You can and should LOVE everyone, but that is a different thing. You can love others in a spiritual way without being attached to them. To be attached to people - any people - is a sign of spiritual weakness and also makes weakness grow. All such attachments and addictions, yearnings and hunger for people must go. Your only attachment must be to God, and this must be absolute and complete. If you continue any attachments of the flesh you will be TORMENTED. You also cannot be attached to anything of the world, such as the desire for fame or fortune, comfort or better living quarters, a higher position, recognition, applause, praise and consolation from others, and any of the accolades of the world. You must renounce, give up the world and the flesh. Your sole consolation and desire must be in God; to know that God loves you and that God's presence, when God deems to give you this, is your sweetest, greatest joy, and nothing can take the place of it.
A human being can be fettered and chained down by many different things in this life. You have to give up and renounce all attachments which are of the flesh and of the world and of the devil in order to have perfect, intimate union with God. This is the hardest and most important thing you can do on the road to God realization.
What I have just said bears a lot of explaining in terms of what a person actually does with their day to day existence and living situation. I will explain this in due time.
There are many gifts of God, but two basic ones. They are the gifts of this world; the gifts of the earth which include your physical body, surroundings, environment, and everything of the earth and flesh. Beyond that are the spiritual gifts which include all the Holy Spirit manifestations and abilities. In another place I've called these the "programs" which God has "downloaded" into you.
If you are to be in the place that I have outlined you have to renounce both kinds of gifts, the physical and the spiritual. That sounds scary. Does that mean give them up? Does that mean give everything up that we have? But how can you give up spiritual gifts? No, it does not mean you give them up. It means you are WILLING to give them up IF GOD SO REQUIRES IT. It means renouncing the ATTACHMENT to the gifts. Therein is the secret, the key or the great formula of being in a state of perfection. God has filled us with every gift there is from life itself to Holy Spirit gifts. But to stand inside the gifts or be absorbed in them; to hold onto them and get lost in them; to become attached, acclimated, focused on and dependent on the gifts, and to let the gifts, in some way, stand between you and God, that is what you MUST AVOID.
You must renounce everything that you have in this way:
"All that I have is yours, Lord. You have given me everything. I do not want anything to stand between us, and I do not want any gift, no matter how exalted, to take the place of you. I want YOU, oh Lord. If anything will stand between us, I do not want it. There is no gift that can take the place of you. There is no happiness outside of you. There is no THING that can make me happy - only YOU can. There is no GIFT that can make me happy - only you can. I am GRATEFUL for all you have given me, but I only want you. Any stumbling block, I renounce."
Flesh cannot enter Heaven. You have to be DEAD TO SELF in order to reach BEATIFIC VISION.
There are years of efforts and prayers before you reach the state of perfection. Your attitude, the inner heart, is the main part of spirituality. It isn't the outward deeds at all. People do outward good deeds who, believe it or not, will end up in Hell. I have known people like this. Two I know in particular were revealed to me were going to Hell. They did more good deeds toward me than anyone I knew. After I prayed, one of them was saved, but the other did not want the grace. Good deeds alone avail you naught. It is the inner person, the disposition or inner attitude.
I have said a few things about prayer in another section. One of the beginning prayers of cleansing and sanctification is to forgive all your enemies, from the bottom of your heart. When you do this sincerely, more and more terrible memories will well up in your mind as if God is saying,
"Do you forgive him, too?"
You will say yes to all. After that, you will learn to pray for all those who have hurt you and bless them and ask God to help them. These prayers are vital.
Here you are already a holy soul. The holy soul next prays the prayers of the Cross of Our Lord. They go like this:
St. Anne Catherine Emmerich and St. Aimee Semple McPherson both had a great understanding of the value of the CROSS of Our Lord. Meditate upon the Cross and it will do more than provide salvation. When you die to self, God provides you with programs by which you can see visions, dream dreams and have mental understanding of Celestial Truth. God will also fill your heart with sensations of love, compassion and sweetness. God will fill your mind and heart with such Greatness that you will feel you are in another world at times. You will receive a taste of Heaven if you do what Jesus teaches you to do.
"Lord, take my mind, my heart, my body and soul, my strength and my time. You have always had my spirit. Take these, as all I am is yours. In turn, give me your Cross. Let me have the Helmet of Thorns on my head, the Secret Wound on your left shoulder, the Stripes, the Nails on the hands and feet, and the Spear through the Heart. When I am on the Cross, I know I am with you. This is what I want. If this is what it takes, so be it. I want YOU and you alone. I cannot be happy any other way."
You say these prayers daily many days, then weeks. They are scary. You wonder if all sorts of horrendous things will happen to you. You wonder if the shit you've been experiencing will get EVEN WORSE. But a strange thing happens. You took the plunge into deep waters, and you were not drowned. Instead of terrible things happening, a peace comes over you. You feel different. You feel stronger. Instead of suffering more, your suffering is alleviated. What happens is that the strength/grace of those wounds comes into you, and all the pain you have and are experiencing is alleviated. You receive His love, His strength. You go higher.
You have to have an INTERIOR LIFE to reach a place where GLORY can occur. That means that you must set aside time every day for prayer and meditation. It also means that you must say the right prayers and not the wrong prayers in order to reach God. The wrong prayers will not get you to God. Prayers for gifts will bring gifts, but not necessarily the highest intimacy with The Lord. Always remember, the greatest thing you can receive is being ONE with The Lord.
There is another prayer apropos to this. You REFRAME your entire life. You think of all the suffering from the time you were abused as a child (if you were) and the tortures of your adult life. You understand that these were all given you BY THE GRACE OF GOD and that God permitted it for a reason. You thank God for all the punishment and pain of your life from the beginning to right now. You no longer see it in agony but you see it in grace and light. You see it as blessings and you thank God for the pain and that you have survived.
There is another important prayer. You thank God for the present. You ACCEPT the present. Think of all that troubles you, and each thing, one by one, you thank God for. You thank God for your HANDICAP (if any) - the one that troubles you the most. THE THING THAT TROUBLES YOU THE MOST IS THE THING THAT BRINGS YOU THE MOST GRACE. You can't see it now - but at the end of life, or from Heaven, you will see it clearly. You could even see it now in a moment of insight. You thank God for WHATEVER HURTS YOU THE MOST. Whatever hurts you the most is the vessel of grace. Thank God for it. You have now reframed your life. You have made it sacred and blessed, because it is so. You must see it this way to appreciate its goodness, and the goodness of God in letting it be so.
There is a mystery and a paradox to closeness with God. We mortals pray for health, wealth and prosperity. These prayers do not bring union with God. You must pray that you will be ONE with God through your travail, sickness and suffering. Offer to God your worst pains and handicaps to help souls in Purgatory. The worst things that happen to you are the biggest windows and opportunities for grace. Embrace pain as Sister Aimee embraces the Cross, knowing that when God gives you a Cross it's because God wants to draw you NEARER. If you will understand this great paradox you will be VERY CLOSE to God.
Now you graduate to the next prayer. Each prayer helps you go steps higher, like a staircase. You are coming closer to God, and the closer you are, the more cleansing there has to be. You examine your mind and heart and you discover the thoughts and feelings you have that are not righteous. I do not mean super-evil things. You are a saintly soul. You are not filled with evil. That left you long ago. I am speaking of NORMAL DESIRES AND THOUGHTS THAT ARE NOT PERFECT. You are going to have to renounce them. Each person has a different set of thoughts, so I will spread out my own and you can go from there. This is what I renounce:
"Lord, I renounce all my ambition.
"I no longer want any more fame and fortune. I only want YOU. I also know that I cannot stay in a state of bliss all the time, even if I have you, because I have to repair for the sins of others. But in most regular times, I will enjoy your company, and that is my reward. I renounce my idea of getting a new and better house. If you want me to have this, I will have it. But I will no longer think about it, desire it, plan for it or talk about it. I will make no more plans in that direction.
About giving up ambitions: you can plan and dream and wish but the bottom line is, would you be willing to give these things up for the love of Our Lord if these things were not right for you? I let my mind fill up with all sorts of ambitions such as a new house, a lecture tour, a book and movie and all sorts of things of the world. I came to my senses and renounced all of the above and the Lord's close and tender touch came back to me. These desires I see so clearly were a substitute for intimacy with God. When you are not intimate with God you feel like consuming the whole world to satisfy the need. As soon as God returns you want to escape the world and leave it completely to be with the only thing that counts; God. Nobody can understand this unless they experience it themselves.
"Lord, I renounce the desire to have a career in the limelight. No more lecture tour. I will not think about it or desire it. I want only you. I can stay here where I live and pray and help souls. I do not have to travel and lecture, and go on tv shows in order to be happy. That can't make me happy at all. Only you can make me happy. I want you - only you.
"Lord, I no longer hunger for the love of people, not even my own family. If they don't love me, fine, I can live without their love. I only want you. I will not yearn for their love any more. Just you is all I want and need. I will not yearn for the love of friends or neighbors. Trying to get them to like me has been troublesome and frustrating. Being in fellowship with people, wanting their love, has been extremely hurtful. I realize now, people have no love. I renounce this empty quest, this seeking of blood out of a stone. I can live without people. I accept my aloneness, loneliness and isolation. I thank you for it. It is blessed. I will not pursue love of people any more. I also will no longer pursue applause, recognition, fine words, pats on the back, consolation, moral support and the like. I will seek only you. I will hunger and thirst, day and night, for the Lord, and I will be so busy seeking you I will not have time to seek people - no matter who they are. Your charity will work through me where it is needed, but I will not seek for the satisfaction of my own self."
When I say the short version of these prayers I say,
"Lord, I renounce all that I am and all that I have for you. My mind, body, soul, heart, time, strength, resources, money, are all yours. I have nothing at all of my own. It is all yours, to do with as you like. You will direct me because you also have my will. I love you totally and completely. I will be ready to renounce all that I have been given by you if it stands between you and me."
Although God once took away all my gifts and left me bereft of them in desolation for eighteen years (and this can happen to you also if you pray for the Divine Stigmata,) I am no longer afraid. For the last few years, since illumination came back and I was told I was supposed to be happy, I was afraid and confused. God forgot to remind me what happiness was. I thought it was in the gifts that returned, and in the financial and spiritual security that God gave me. But finally I woke up and threw away my fear and started praying those same ole' prayers I used to say. It's God alone that matters! Nothing else can make me happy. But praying the "Cross" prayers you get back to intimacy with God. You do not get intimate by staying in the gifts; not at all. And money CANNOT make you happy. It can give you the ability to be closer to God if you use it well, for it frees you up to pray, to contemplate and do good works. If you have to earn your bread daily under the heel of another, it can wear you out and give you stress and strain. But if you don't have to work because you are retired, this can be freedom for God. If you can use some of your resources for doing good, all the better.
A word about sex. Personally, I am celibate, and have been for a long time. I do not know what would happen if a person reaches for seeing God face to face, yet retains a sex drive and interest in sex. I doubt if they would have the ability to do this, yet I am not certain of the answer. I do know that Baba Muktananda practiced celibacy (although he was not fanatical about sex) and he achieved perfect self realization. Does that mean that only celibates can do this? I sense that a person still hung up on sex would not have the FREEDOM and STRENGTH to achieve such a high state. The situation with sex is, that you have to give it up completely. Giving it up for a few months does not make the drive go away. IT TAKES TWELVE YEARS TO MAKE THE DRIVE GO AWAY. I do admit that when I saw God face to face in 1982 I had been celibate only four years, but my sex drive had gone away at the time, and I was filled with powerful grace. I do not know all the answers. Sometimes God can consume you so strongly that the sex drive disappears for a time, and during that time you can have incredible communion with God.
From the Yoga point of view, the chakra energy goes higher and higher as you evolve. Ramakrishna said that only those whose energy had reached the heart were at the BEGINNING of spirituality. I believe that when the entire energy of your body reaches the Sahasrara, the flesh meets the Spirit and you have self realization, or some form of seeing God face to face. I don't see how a person with any attachments, sexual or otherwise, can achieve such a miracle of spirituality.
It is not easy to reach Self Realization. It is not easy to give up sex, to give up yearning for human love, both the love of your family and the love of others, and to spend a lot of time alone praying. But remember that the beginning is the hardest and once you make it past the gate you will know that there is nothing of this world that can take the place of God. Once God consumes you and you are totally anchored in holiness you will be a mountain that cannot be moved .
Now about your day to day living. When you have reached perfection - which means perfection in the love of God - you must watch not only your actions but your THOUGHTS and FEELINGS every day. Any thought or feeling AGAINST CHARITY will ruin your state. If you harbor negativity, repent immediately. Old habits come back. You can be with a friend who is gossiping and suddenly you say or think something uncharitable. This fault will put a stain on your soul, so clean it out immediately. You cannot see God face to face retaining the smallest stain of sin.
There are two other words I'd like to enter here for your consideration. They are words used by the saints of old: detachment and liberty of spirit. They mean the same as the three words I mentioned but let's get into them. Detachment means detachment from terrestrial, earthly things and from things of the flesh. In what way? In the sense that you do not HUNGER and YEARN for these things. You MUST NOT hunger and thirst for anything of the world. You might have a casual interest and a casual connection, but intense connections are taboo when you are reaching out to God completely and perfectly. You cannot be obsessed, addicted to, engrossed or totally absorbed in anything of this sort. In the medium stages of perfection there can be times when you fall into something, but in the final stage of seeing God face to face or total realization, there is no room for error. Remember that the word POVERTY also means attachment only to God - wanting only God. You can be rich or poor, but you are not attached by desire or obsession or dependency to anything of the world. When you have DETACHMENT you have POVERTY OF SPIRIT. When you have these qualities then it follows you have LIBERTY OF SPIRIT. St. Gertrude the Great was famous for saying that Liberty of Spirit got her more graces than anything else had. I know full well how it feels to be bogged down by the world and the flesh, and after having renounced same, the incredible freedom I feel inside. This LIBERTY OF SPIRIT makes your mind and heart and soul feel light, airy, free as a bird and once again able to enjoy life. Without this life is full of stones with strings around them tied to you and holding you down.
RVW August 2004