I didn't go to church today. Darcie is into day 8 of a stomach virus, and boy, has it been rough. She's lost over ten pounds! She looks like a refugee. She's upstairs watching what we call "Sunday videos" and I'm getting ready to read Revelation of Love by Julian of Norwich. Yeah, I'll probably have it finished before everyone else gets back from church. More like three month!
I love mystical writing. Julian of Norwich wrote this classic in the fourteenth century. Thomas Merton said of it, "There can be no doubt that Julian is the greatest of the English mystics." Years ago I read The Cloud of Unknowing; author unknown. I remember really liking it. I need to read it again. I also want to read Evelyn Underhill's classic Mysticism. One of my favorites in this vein is The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.
People seem to see red when mysticism is mentioned. I've heard it said that St. Paul was the first Christian mystic. This is what the dictionary says about mysticism: Any belief in the existence of realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension but central to being and directly accessible by intuition. I would amend the last few words by saying that it is directly accessible because of the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. This work is what makes it possible to have direct communion with God. Nothing we can do in and of ourselves can make this union happen. When Christians meditate, it is on what God has revealed about Himself in Holy Scripture and how this revelation works out in our individual and corporate lives.
The mystical part is that no one can understand how this happens. As the dictionary says, "beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension". The work of the Spirit is like the wind. You can't see the wind blowing but you can see the effects it has on things. Such is the work of the Spirit.
I don't think people should be scared of Christian mysticism. I think they are leery of mysticism because of the prevalence of it in New Age Religion. But just like in anything else in life, when we hear something that sends up a red flag, read, study, and determine why it's there. Could be we've been misinformed in the past. Could be we're being misinformed in the present. We need to study to show ourselves approved unto God; rightly dividing the Word of Truth.