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Miscellaneous

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Kenneth Leech (1939-2015)

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I have learned of the passing of Father Kenneth Leech, who died on September 12, 2015 after a long illness. He was born in 1939 and grew up in a secular home in the north of England. As a youth he was inspired by Alasdair MacIntyre (later famous for his renowned study of postmodern moral theory, After Virtue) who helped him realize that it is possible to have a critical, inquiring mind as a...

Who Are the Great Christian Mystics?

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When I was a sophomore in High School, my English teacher, Mrs. Romano, taught a section on William Blake. She gave us a handout with some information on the poet, and in it Blake was described as “a mystic.” I had never come across the word before. I don’t recall if I or anyone else asked Mrs. Romano to define the term. But I do remember that it caught my imagination — and if the teacher or some...

“Seen by wonder; kissed warmly by love; embraced by delight”: Richard of St. Victor on Contemplation

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The more I read Richard of St. Victor, the more I love him. Here are a few jewels from the fifteenth chapter of Book IV of The Mystical Ark: See to it that the very time He begins to knock at the door is not the first time that you begin to want to throw out the crowds of those who make noise… All thoughts, empty as well as  noxious, which do not serve for our benefit must be judged to be...

February 5, 1977

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Here is an excerpt from my book The Aspiring Mystic: Practical Steps for Spiritual Seekers (2000). This passage describes my own initiation into an embodied, luminous encounter with the Divine, after which “spirituality” for me would always be a lived reality, not just an abstract idea. The highlight of the weekend was the Saturday night communion service. With all one hundred or so...

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