Christian Mysticism: A study on Practical Applications
Mysticism is the art of union with Ultimate Reality. The mystic is a person who has attained that union in greater or less degree; or who aims at and believes in such attainment.
May the words we post here and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, our Lord and our Redeemer. Amen.
We are presently studying Theologia Germanica, an anonymous work written probably just before the reformation.
This is a topical study and we have kept the threads of previous books that we have studied, for reference by latecomers. For convenience, the previous books we have studied are listed below.
Dark Night of the Soul, by Saint John of the Cross.
Fire of Love, by Richard Rolle of Hampole.
Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi, by Ugolino.
Cloud of Unknowing, by an anonymous early English author.
Scale (or Ladder) of Perfection, by Walter Hilton.
Practical Mysticism, by Evelyn Underhill.
The little child in this story is what most caught my attention. He reminded me of the story of Samuel when he was a boy. But interestingly, when I think about the two stories, there is more of contrast than of parallel. Samuel didn't recognise God's voice, and the priest eventually figured out that it was the voice of God, and told Samuel what to do when he heard the voice again. In this story, the boy knows, and the Brother Francis tries to let him sleep.
Of a firm Faith necessary thereto, and what things we ought to believe thereby
What thinges men owen to trowe bi siker trouthe
Chapter title from chapter 21 of The Scale of Perfection – Book 1 in Middle English
HOW ST FRANCIS, HAVING BEEN TOLD BY ST CLARE AND THE HOLY BROTHER SILVESTER THAT HE SHOULD PREACH AND CONVERT MANY TO THE FAITH, FOUNDED THE THIRD ORDER, PREACHED TO THE BIRDS, AND REDUCED TO SILENCE THE SWALLOWS
This Chapter is probably the best known outside the Roman and Fransiscan traditions, and has been treated reverently wherever it has come under discussion in other Christian traditions, as far as I can ascertain - implying no serious research.
Section 1: What a Man should use and refuse by the Virtue of Humility
Section 2: How Hypocrites and Heretics, for want of Humility, exalt themselves in their Hearts above others
Our text covers 5 chapters of the Medieval text, these are:
What a man schal use and refuse bi vertu of mekenes
Who schulde blame mennys defautis and deme hem, and who not
Whi meke men schal worschip othere, and lowe hemself in her owen herte undir alle othere
HOW ST CLARE ATE WITH ST FRANCIS AND HIS COMPANIONS AT ST MARY OF THE ANGELS
Of the Means that bring a Soul to Contemplation
Of the meenes that bryngen a man to contemplacioun - Chapter title from chapter 15 of The Scale of Perfection – Book 1 in Middle English
HOW THE LORD APPEARED TO ST FRANCIS AND TO HIS BRETHREN AS HE WAS SPEAKING WITH THEM
How Virtue beginneth in Reason and Will and is perfected in Love and Liking, or Affection
Hou in resoun and in wille vertues bigynnen, and in love and in likynge it is eendid and maad perfight - Chapter title from chapter 14 of The Scale of Perfection – Book 1 in Middle English
HOW ST FRANCIS AND BROTHER MASSEO PLACED THE BREAD THEY HAD BEGGED UPON A STONE NEAR A FOUNTAIN, AND HOW ST FRANCIS PRAISED THE VIRTUE OF HOLY POVERTY, PRAYING ST PETER AND ST PAUL TO MAKE HIM LOVE HOLY POVERTY GREATLY, AND HOW ST PETER AND ST PAUL APPEARED TO HIM
How and in what things a Contemplative Man should be busied
What knetteth Jhesu to mannys soule and what looseth hym therfro - Chapter title from The Scale of Perfection – Book 1 in Middle English
HOW ST FRANCIS GAVE TO BROTHER MASSEO THE OFFICE OF PORTER, OF ALMONER
AND OF COOK; AND HOW, AT THE REQUEST OF THE OTHER BRETHREN, HE
AFTERWARDS TOOK THESE DUTIES FROM HIM
How thou shalt know whether the Showing or Apparition to the bodily Senses and Feelings be good or evil
Hou thu schal knowe whanne the schewinges to thi bodili wittes and the feelynge of hem aren good or yvele - Chapter title from The Scale of Perfection – Book 1 in Middle English
HOW ST FRANCIS MADE BROTHER MASSEO TURN ROUND AND ROUND LIKE A CHILD,
AND THEN TO GO TO SIENA
How that Appearings or Shewings to the Corporal Senses or Feelings may be both good and evil
How the schewynges to the bodili wittis and the feelynge of hem may be bothe good and yvel - Chapter title from The Scale of Perfection – Book 1 in Middle English
HOW BROTHER MASSEO TOLD ST FRANCIS, AS IN JEST, THAT THE WORLD WAS GONE
AFTER HIM; AND HOW ST FRANCIS ANSWERED THAT IT WAS INDEED SO, TO THE
CONFUSION OF THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE GRACE OF GOD
Of the Difference that is betwixt the Second and Third Sort of Contemplation
Of the twynynge of the thridde partie of contemplacion fro the secunde, and of praysynge of it - Chapter title from The Scale of Perfection – Book 1 in Middle English
HOW ST FRANCIS WOULD TEACH BROTHER LEO WHAT TO ANSWER, AND HOW THE
LATTER COULD NEVER SAY AUGHT BUT THE CONTRARY TO WHAT ST FRANCIS WISHED
Of the Third Sort of Contemplation
Of the thridde partie of contemplacion - Chapter title from The Scale of Perfection – Book 1 in Middle English
HOW ST FRANCIS, WALKING ONE DAY WITH BROTHER LEO, EXPLAINED TO HIM WHAT THINGS ARE PERFECT JOY
Of the Higher Degree of the Second Sort of Contemplation
Of the highere degree of the secunde partie of contemplacion - Chapter title from The Scale of Perfection – Book 1 in Middle English