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

When contemplation makes you one with God in spirit, love, and will, you're "above" yourself because you've only reached that state by grace and not by your own efforts. You're also "under" God then, even though contemplative prayer makes you one with God in spirit, no longer two. In this unity, which is the height of contemplation, you can be thought of as godlike, as Scripture says. Still, you're below God because he's naturally eternal and you're not. — The Cloud of Unknowing, Carmen Butcher t … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Goodness of will in a person is God's infused love, with which a person practices the things of God and all the virtues. Goodness of will is God's grace and our own supernatural life, with which we struggle against every sin and win the victory. United with God's grace, a good will sets us free, raising us up above ourselves and uniting us with God in a contemplative way of life. In turning inward to God, a good will is a spirit crowned with eternal love, while in turning outward it is the … [Read more...]

Intimacy

Is there a difference between "union with God" and "intimacy with God"?Unpack the etymology of intimacy and you'll find that it has to do with speaking, announcing, making known. Intimacy means self-disclosure. I tell you who I am. I listen as you tell me who you are. So there seems to be a relationship between intimacy and language. Sure, in human terms we speak of "being intimate" as a code-word for sexual intercourse, but isn't sexual intimacy a physical expression of words such as "I love … [Read more...]


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