Teresa of Ávila: A Passionate Mystic of the Love of God


Visit the Cornaro Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome, and you will see a 17th century masterpiece of Baroque sculpture: Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s The Ecstasy of St. Teresa. This life-sizes statue depicts a nun reclining with a look of bliss on her face, while a grinning cherub stands before her, an arrow pointed at her heart. It is a striking work of art — but the...

Celebrating Evelyn Underhill


It was forty years ago this summer — the summer of 1979 — that I first discovered Evelyn Underhill, the British spiritual author whose writings introduced me to the beauty and splendor of Christian mysticism. To celebrate this personal anniversary, I’m reprinting here a blog post I wrote back in 2007 about her and her writing. I hope you enjoy it. It might be a bit controversial for me to...

Is Mystical Experience the Antidote to Nihilism?


In response to my previous post from last October, Why Experience Is Not the Foundation of (All) Spirituality, a reader recently posted this comment on Facebook: As someone who struggles with fear and nihilism I often find myself craving an experience of god to help “cast out all doubt.” While in…... Read more at Patheos

Twelve Insightful Quotations from the Great Christian Mystics


Note: the following quotations are excerpted from The Little Book of Christian Mysticism which features over three hundred quotations of the mystics, from Biblical times to the present day. Seek by reading and you will find by meditating; cry in prayer and the door will be opened in contemplation. — Saint John of the Cross The important thing is not to think much, but to love much; do, then...

Why Evelyn Underhill Remains Required Reading After Over 100 Years


A Book for All Time: Why Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism Still Matters For pretty much my entire adult life, if anyone would ask me who my favorite authors are, without hesitation I would say Evelyn Underhill and Thomas Merton. To me, the work of Evelyn Underhill represents the call for the revival of mysticism in our time, while Merton anchored the call to mysticism in the urgent political and...

Who Are the Great Christian Mystics?


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...

What Mystics Do (and You Can, Too)


What do mystics do? The following list can be a way to begin answering this question. I’m not suggesting that every mystic does everything on this list (for starters, this list is particularly aimed at Christian mystics), or that a person has to do all of these things to be considered a mystic. I’m trying to make the list general, so that it’s not just about persons who live in...



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