As the experience of oneness with God, mysticism is the radical substantiation of the dignity of the human being.
— Dorothee Soelle, The Silent Cry:
Mysticism and Resistance
I think this one just about says it all. It’s interesting to me that the most vocal critics of mysticism often seem to be those who have the most pessimistic view of human nature, stressing such ideas as the “total depravity” of humankind. It’s almost as if the mysticism-haters are saying “we reject mysticism because, frankly, we have no faith that God could ever love something as disgusting as a human being.”
Mysticism doesn’t say there is no such thing as sin, evil, or horrific ways in which human beings act against the nature of love. Mysticism merely proclaims that such horrors are never the final word. In pointing us to the transforming love of God, mysticism offers us the hope for healing and transformation, that even the most wounded (or wounding!) person remains within the reach of God’s healing power and grace. Therein lies “the radical substantiation of the dignity of the human being.” We do not presume to dignify ourselves — rather, we receive our dignity, lavishly, abundantly, and beyond what we could ever earn or deserve, from and through the boundless love of God. And that is a dignity that no human act (or opinion) can ever efface.