Expert Answer Forum
Mysticism QUESTION from Patricia A. Christy October 17, 1999 I am very interested in the subject of Mysticism. I simply do not understand this topic, though I have read a few books on St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. I have a few friends who have made some comments on this topic, and I would like to know more. Given that this is a rare subject for people to discuss, I would like to know a little in regards to discernment of this area. There isn't a priest around who can answer my questions. If this is not a topic that you have interest or knowledge in, than simply resond saying so...and I will ask no further questions. I will leave the rest of this to the LOrd.
Thankyou and God bless! Patricia Christy.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on October 21, 1999 Dear Miss Christy: Mysticism, according to the Catholic Dictionary is:
...knowledge of God's presence, in which the soul has, as a great reality, a sense of contact with Him. Mysticism is the union of the soul with God in contemplation. One of its greatest characteristics is the presence of God felt in a spiritual touch, without images, as a direct experience. It is an acute awareness of God and his activities and manifestations.
It does not necessarily involve visions and ecstasies and the Great Western mystics before the middle ages seem rarely to have those kind of experiences. St. Teresa of Avila, I believe it was, said that we should not seek such unusual experience, that it was better to have full faculties to adore God than to suspend them in favor of the fantastic
The effects of mystical experiences should include a large increase of charity, humility and self-sacrificing devotion.
The people you are reading, Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross are the ones to read about this. I would also recommend A Still Small Voice by Father Groeschell.
Anyone having mystical experiences needs to read A Still Small Voice and needs to find a Spiritual Director knowledgable and wise in the ways of mysticism.
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