Christian mysticism

From Academic Kids

Mysticism is the philosophy and practice of a direct experience of God. In the Christian context this is usually practiced through prayer, meditation and contemplation. Christians believe that God dwells in all Christians through the Holy Spirit, and therefore all Christians can experience God directly.

Contents

Biblical foundations

The tradition of Christian Mysticism is as old as Christianity itself. Two texts from the New Testament set up themes that recur throughout the recorded thought of the Christian mystics. The first, Galatians 2:20, says that:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (KJV)

The second important Scriptural text for Christian mysticism is 1 John 3:2:

Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

The two large themes of Christian mysticism are a total identification with, or imitation of Christ, to achieve a total unity of will between the spirit of God and the human soul; and of the perfect vision of God, in which the mystic seeks to understand Him "as he is," and no more "through a glass, darkly." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Other mystical experiences are described in other passages. In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul sets forth an example of a possible out of body experience by someone who was taken up to the "third heaven", and taught unutterable mysteries:

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Perhaps a similar experience occurred at the Transfiguration of Jesus, an incident confirmed in each of the Synoptic Gospels. Here Jesus led three of his apostles, Peter, John, and James, to pray at the top of a mountain, where he became transfigured. Jesus's face shone like the sun, and he was clad in brilliant white clothes. Elijah and Moses appeared with Jesus, and talked with him, and then a bright cloud appeared overhead, and a voice from the cloud proclaimed, "This is my beloved Son: hear him."

Christian mystics

Some examples of Christian mystics:

St. John the Apostle (? -101)
St. Clement of Alexandria (? -216)
St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (5th century)
St. Gregory I (590-604)
Saint Anselm (1033-1109)
Hugh of Saint Victor (1096-1141)
St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Mechtild of Magdeburg (1210-1279)
Meister Eckhart (c. 1260 - 1327/8)
St. Gregory Palamas (1296 - 1359)
St. Bridget of Sweden (1302-1373)
St. Julian of Norwich (1342-c.1416)
St. Margery Kempe (c.1373-1438)
St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)
St. Jakob Boehme (1575-1624)
Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682)
George Fox (1624-1691)
Sarah Wight (1632-?)
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)
John Woolman (1720-1772)
William Blake (1757-1827)
Anna Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824)
St. Jakob Lorber (1800 - 1864)
St. Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
St. Thomas Keating (1923-?)

Bibliography

Classics

  • St. John of the Cross: The Ascent on Mount Carmel
  • St. Teresa: The interior Castle
  • Meister Eckhart: German and Latin sermons
  • Jan van Ruysbroeck: The adornment of spiritual marriage
  • Anon.: The Cloud of Unknowing
  • Anon.: Theologia Germanica
  • St.Ignatius Loyola: Spiritual exercises
  • William Law: Works
  • George Fox: The Journal
  • Heinrich Suso: The Book of eternal wisdom
  • Thomas Kempis: On the Imitation of Christ
  • Jackob Lorber: The Great Gospel of John
  • Max Heindel: The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception or Mystic Christianity

See also

External links


de:Christliche Mystik

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