|Tree on fire, in my backyard|
Thomas Merton learned that "the epiphany of God in time can come to us at any moment, anywhere, whether we are praying or not. It can come at work, on the road, in any situation, because it is a deep and secret movement of the divine spirit within our own, the felt sense of God's own self-discovery in us." (Kathleen Deignan, Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours, 34)
But it doesn't just come to anybody. It comes to the prepared. It comes to those in relationship with God. Ongoing engagement in the spiritual disciplines as a way of connection-maintenance makes us more susceptible to God-interruptions.
"The life of contemplation prepares us for such intervals of divine encounter, creating a new experience of time: "le temps vierge" - one's own time felt at once abundant fullness and profound emptiness." (Ib., 34-35)
The spiritual disciplines - such as contemplation - create an empty space in our hearts which God comes to fill with his presence. Deignan writes: "It is an incomparable point of contact with mystery by which we pass through the center of our own nothingness and enter into infinite reality to awaken as our true self." (Ib.)
Lest this sound like a bunch of words, I can attest to the experiential reality of many in breakings of God, unprovoked by myself. They are expected (i.e., I have expectation) yet unexpected (they always comes as a gift).
God with us, right? In experience. The age to come breaking through this present darkness.