"This process is called deification, and there's rather a lot of evidence for it in patristic sources. St. Athanasius wrote in his interminable creed that, 'God became human so that we might become God.' And indeed, Eckhart states this even more forcefully when he says, 'Our Lord says to every living soul, "I became human for you. If you do not become God for me, you do me wrong." '
"Unlike the kataphatic journey, where the mystic leaves the dark night married to a God he's basically never met (since all images have just died), the path of deification takes the mystic through the black hole of the Dark Night of the Spirit and spits nothing but God out the other side. The mystic himself has been negated, all traces of self or ego have been neutered. There is no trace of either the God or the mystic who began this journey. Where there were two on one side of the wormhole, only One emerges, and this One bears no resemblance to either of the original two.
"The deified apophatic mystic still has an ego but sees through it like a shadow; it is a mere tool for navigating the illusory world — powerless to hold the person in thrall, to frighten her, or to mislead her.
"We have a fine image of what this is like in the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus the man is abandoned by God on the cross and cries out, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' He then endures the great nothing of the grave and 'descends into Hell,' the ultimate Dark Night of the Spirit, and then emerges on the other side of the Resurrection transformed into divinity.
"If we aspire to follow him, is this not our path as well? After all, he says that we all must take up our crosses, we all must lose our lives if we want to save them. What is he talking about if not the mystical path, the journey from illusion into Reality?
"When Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection, he wasn't the only one who'd had a rough weekend. The disciples had been through the wringer when all their ideas about who Jesus was were stripped away and they were left with nothing. But when Jesus came to them and breathed on them, he infused them with the Holy Spirit, as fine an image of Deification as we are ever likely to get. As the Spirit was breathed into them, they shared in his divine life, they became enGodded, as the German mystics put it.
"In his book of Acts, St. Luke makes everyone wait for Pentecost for this moment, but St. John places this immediately after the resurrection, no doubt to draw a parallel between Jesus's mystical transformation and ours. Because he has been deified, we can be deified, for he promises that we will do greater things than even he accomplished in his time here on earth. It is no vain hope. It is possible for us to see through the veils of illusion that trap us. It is possible for us to wake up to our true nature. It is possible for us to experience our oneness with God and with all things. It is possible for us to be transformed from our small, separate, limited selves into divinity which is at once all things and no-thing.
"This scene is never-ending; new characters come and go but we are still in the upper room. Only now we are the disciples — you and me. Jesus is still breathing on us, the Holy Spirit is still at work in us, nudging us, prodding us, loving us toward a wholeness that we cannot even imagine. But if we remain faithful, we might find ourselves kissed while we sleep, to awaken in the morning to discover that, like Pinocchio, we have been made real — that indeed, we always have been."