Thursday, September 2, 2010


Zenit had a great article yesterday, an interview with Fr. Luigi Borriello, a Carmelite priest and professor of Theology. I recommend you go read it, but I will post a couple snippets.
ZENIT: In fact, many seek in the East what Christian mysticism already contains.

Father Borriello: Indeed. It's a paradox.

Many Christians don't know the wealth of their own mystical tradition and they turn to the East, seeking what is in the interior of that tradition.
ZENIT: Would it be appropriate to desire a mystical experience?

Father Borriello: It is not a question of asking for it but of receiving it when it comes, if it comes.

Experience is a category that is used in all the disciplines. I prefer to speak of mystical experience; it is something that God gives to man who receives it passively, and, in fact, makes an effort on receiving it.
True Christian mysticism is a bit of a lost art these days, though there are many, Christians included, who are attracted to the new-age mysticism drawn from Eastern traditions. I think there are a couple reasons for this. First of all, Eastern mysticism is about self, clearing ones own mind, and, after all, we are a very selfish people. I'm no expert, but I'm not sure what, if any, pre-requisites there are to approaching Eastern mysticism, either.

On the other hand, Christian mysticism is all about God, and a closer union with the divine. Requisite on the Christian seeking a mystical union with the Lord is a personal sanctity and holiness of life. Only then, as all the great mystical writers have told us, can the soul be open to the gift of a mystical experience. Further, Christian mysticism isn't all happy fun time either, in fact it is quite the opposite. Sure, as the soul begins to accept mystical union there can be many great consolations, but as the soul further approaches God, the tendency is that God will retreat, leaving the soul in a profound darkness. At its face, it seems a harder row to hoe than offered by the East.

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