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.
Beware of pride, for it blasphemeth God in His gifts, and boldeneth sinners.
For out of this original sin will all day spring new and fresh stirrings of sin: the which thee behoveth all day to smite down, and be busy to shear away with a sharp double edged dreadful sword of discretion.
And this meekness obtaineth to have God Himself mightily descending, to venge thee of thine enemies, for to take thee up, and cherishingly dry thine ghostly eyen; as the father doth the child that is in point to perish under the mouths of wild swine or wode biting bears.
if it so be that thy foredone special deeds will always press in thy remembrance betwixt thee and thy God, or any new thought or stirring of any sin either, thou shalt stalwartly step above them with a fervent stirring of love, and tread them down under thy feet.
Each man beware, that he presume not to take upon him to blame and condemn other men’s defaults
ofttimes it befalleth that some that have been horrible and accustomed sinners come sooner to the perfection of this work than those that have been none.
whoso will travail in this work, let him first cleanse his conscience; and afterward when he hath done that in him is lawfully, let him dispose him boldly but meekly thereto.
If thou asketh me who shall work thus, I answer thee—all that have forsaken the world in a true will, and thereto that give them not to active life, but to that life that is called contemplative life
Surely, this travail is all in treading down of the remembrance of all the creatures that ever God made, and in holding of them under the cloud of forgetting named before.
For all that will leave sin and ask mercy shall be saved through the virtue of His Passion.
For as it is said 156before, that the substance of this work is nought else but a naked intent directed unto God for Himself.
And therefore thou, that settest thee to be contemplative as Mary was, choose thee rather to be meeked under the wonderful height and the worthiness of God, the which is perfect, than under thine own wretchedness, the which is imperfect
SWEET was that love betwixt our Lord and Mary.
The true exposition of this gospel word, “Mary hath chosen the best part.”
AND therefore me thinketh, that they that set them to be contemplatives should not only have active men excused of their complaining words, but also me thinketh that they should be so occupied in spirit that they should take little heed or none what men did or said about them.
And God forbid that I should in this work say anything that might be taken in condemnation of any of the servants of God in any degree, and namely of His special saint.
How that yet unto this day all actives complain of contemplatives as Martha did of Mary. Of the which complaining ignorance is the cause.
For by Mary is understood all contemplatives; for they should conform their living after hers. And by Martha, actives on the same manner; and for the same reason in likeness.
When our Lord said to Mary, in person of all sinners that be called to contemplative life, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” it was not for her great sorrow, nor for the remembering of her sins, nor yet for her meekness that she had in the beholding of her wretchedness only. But why then? Surely because she loved much.
our Lord JESUS CHRIST calleth us Himself in the gospel: where He biddeth that we should be perfect by grace as He Himself is by nature.