The Idea of Mysticism

Update:  I have expanded the introduction in a way that I hope will be helpful to understand why I am writing this series.  The addition is between the red brackets.

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With this post I am beginning a series on the notion of mysticism in its true and false senses and the practical implications that flow from both.  The word “mysticism” and its cognates are bandied about a lot without a proportionate amount of understanding, and for that reason we get ourselves into a great deal of trouble.

There are underlying issues around the discussion of mysticism regarding the more general question of the relation of nature and grace that this discussion will help us to think about more clearly.  For example, I believe that the clarifications given here may help us to restore a sense of the sacred while avoid confusing the merely natural with the action of God.  It might also help us clarify the relative value of theological opinions vis a vis the magisterial authority of the Church, as well as discern between true movements of the Holy Spirit and those which are merely human, or even demonic. Continue reading

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