Why Is “Mysticism” A Dirty Word?

Andrew Louth is one of numerous scholars who criticize "mysticism" as a controversial or useless category.

In the introduction to her book Writing the Icon of the Heart, Maggie Ross makes this rather in-your-face claim: The word 'mystic'... has, in my view, become entirely useless. It has acquired nuances of romanticism, exoticism and self-absorption. In addition, far too many studies of 'mysticism' and 'spirituality' are based on a modern and narcissistic notion of 'experience' as self-authenticating that corresponds neither to the way the brain works nor to notions of experience in the ancient and … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

For Christ is revealed as the incarnation of God's love for us: he is the great lover, and the Church is his beloved, and we in her. Academic theology finds its coherence, literally comes into being as a possibility, as we find in Christ God loving us and longing for our love. And it is this response to God's love for us that is the central concern of spirituality. Prayer is in essence the loving pursuit of the beloved. The great part that silence plays in prayer has an analogy in the fact that … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

The notion of the "ground" of the soul (an idea very important, too, in Eckhart and the Rhineland mystics) is developed by Julian especially in her teaching on prayer. For Julian it is in prayer that we realize the truth of her conviction that "all shall be well," for in prayer we turn to God in trust and beseech his help and mercy. And we are sure that such prayer is effective, for such prayer rises to God himself from God himself. "I am the ground of thy beseeching," says Christ to Julian. … [Read more...]