Ancient Wisdom for Experiencing God Today. Who is a mystic? Simply put, a mystic is someone who believes there are realities to life that are beyond what can be perceived by our rational minds or described in words, and not only believes this in the abstract, but practices it concretely. If you are a Christian- Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic- who is living a vital, spirit-filled relationship with God you can be considered a mystic and can learn spiritual practices from those who have gone before.
The Way of the Mystics invites us to take a journey to the heart of our faith by examining the stories of thirteen of Christian history's most revered mystics. These spiritual pioneers devoted their lives to exploring a deeper communion with God and through their examples show us how we can apply spiritual wisdom to our own lives.
"For too long the moral has been a substitute for the mystical. This fine study places the mystics back at the center of Christianity. These spiritual elders tell us that all true religion must be grounded in experiential knowledge of God, 'a lump in the throat,' and not just ideas about God." - Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, NM
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These lessons from thirteen holy men and women of God encourage us to continue on our journey to both love God and be of service to others. They provide examples of prayer, solitude, reflection, spiritual direction, practicing the Presence of God and enduring dark nights of the soul; and they continue to mentor and guide millions by their lives.
Theresa of Avila, â€œThis Lord of ours is so anxious that we desire Him and strive after His companionship that He calls us ceaselessly, time after time, to approach Him.â€ The practical, service side of Theresa was also deeply affirming. â€œTrue perfection consists in the Love of God and our neighbor, and the more nearly perfect is our observance of these two commandments, the nearer to Perfection we will be.â€ Pg. 122. She also said, â€œwe cannot be sure if we are loving God, although we may have good reason for believing we are, but we can know quite well if we are loving our neighbor.â€ Pg. 129.
St. Francis of Assisi has taught us much about his love for God and its expression in Godâ€™s creation, but this chapter also speaks about the social and spiritual difficulties of the time in which Francis lived and how that context moved him toward God rather than away from Him. His wealthy upbringing gave him a particular sensitivity toward the poor and weak as he gave away all that he owned and adopted a different lifestyle, one of poverty and service. Pg. 67.
St John of the Cross helps us to better understand â€œthe dark night of the soulâ€ times. Times when we hold on to God in the face of suffering or questions or wondering where is God. His response, â€œtake up your cross.â€ His writings reminded me of the Psalms where it was ok to question God or speak to Him what was on ones heart. He spent quite a bit of time in prison where his writings occurred, much of it in solitary confinement. He felt that attachments were a great hindrance to progress in a spiritual journey.
This book shows us men and women who wanted to know God more and what they did to find Him. Some will be shocked by their actions and the extent to which they deprived themselves, but these people had an audience of One that was their primary concern. They have much to teach us.
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