This comprehensive anthology will serve both as a text for serious students of mysticism and a reflective collection for those first exploring its thought. Biographical and historical data, as well as the mystic's key ideas and information about why the particular text was selected introduce each mystic to the reader.
Fifty-five mystics or mystical theologians, ancient and modern, are represented, including: Origen, Augustine of Hippo, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure, Angela of Foligno, Catherine of Siena, the anonymous author of Cloud of Unknowing, Thomas a' Kempis, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales, Therese of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Merton, and Karl Rahner.
Merton defines Christian mysticism, especially as expressed by the Spanish Carmelite St. John of the Cross, and he offers the contemplative experience as an answer to the irreligion and barbarism of our times. "For those...curious about mysticism...this is an excellent book" (Catholic World).
The Avila of Saint Teresa provides both a fascinating account of social and religious change in one important Castilian city and a historical analysis of the life and work of the religious mystic Saint Teresa of Jesus. Jodi Bilinkoff's rich socioeconomic history of sixteenth-century Avila illuminates the conditions that helped to shape the religious reforms for which the city's most famous citizen is celebrated.
Bilinkoff takes as her subject the period during which Avila became a center of intense religious activity and the home of a number of influential mystics and religious reformers. During this time, she notes, urban expansion and increased economic opportunity fostered the social and political aspirations of a new middle class of merchants, professionals, and minor clerics. This group supported the creation of religious institutions that fostered such values as individual spiritual revitalization, religious poverty, and apostolic service to the urban community. According to Bilinkoff, these reform movements provided an alternative to the traditional, dynastic style of spirituality expressed by the ruling elite, and profoundly influenced Saint Teresa in her renewal of Carmelite monastic life.
A focal point of the book is the controversy surrounding Teresa's foundation of a new convent in August 1562. Seeking to discover why people in Avila strenuously opposed this ostensibly innocent act and to reveal what distinguished Teresa's convent from the many others in the city, Bilinkoff offers a detailed examination of the social meaning of religious institutions in Avila. Historians of early modern Europe, especially those concerned with the history of religious culture, urban history, and women's history, specialists in religious studies, and other readers interested in the life of Saint Teresa or in the history of Catholicism will welcome The Avila of Saint Teresa.
First published by Cornell University Press in 1989, this new edition of The Avila of Saint Teresa includes a new introduction in which the author provides an overview of the scholarship that has proliferated and evolved over the past 25 years on topics covered in her book. This new edition also include an updated bibliography of works published since 1989 that address topics and themes discussed in her book.
Hidden behind the personal self is the real Self, that which Paul called "The Christ," or our spiritual identity. To awaken mystical consciousness is to come to that point where we can spiritually apprehend this truth about ourselves and about each other and live by it.
In Awakening Mystical Consciousness, Goldsmith explains the spiritual principles and practices that will help us to awaken. He instructs the reader in how to use contemplation, meditation, and inner communion to attain the realization of the true Self. With care and in detail, he addresses the nature of God as omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience; the nature of spiritual power; our real identity; the nature of concepts; and the barriers that obstruct the way to realization. But Goldsmith clearly emphasizes that these statements of truth are not truth. They only help us get into the center of Being, where we can be receptive to the inner voice.
A mainstay of this book is erasing the false concept that man is separated from God, and that there is a God "out there" that can take away our sins, diseases, lacks and limitations. "Through this work," says Goldsmith, "you are going to awaken out of the dream that there can be any separation. It wakes you up, and then you look around and realize you are in heaven. You have been there all the time, dreaming you were in hell."
Goldsmith explains that awakening to mystical consciousness bears great fruitage. Through our realization of oneness, we regain our original dominion over our bodies and our lives. We can also demonstrate the healing consciousness, that consciousness that knows there is nothing to be healed, but only Truth to be revealed. "The goal," he says, "is the attainment of this Spirit of God" - mystical consciousness. "That is the entire goal of the spiritual life."
The teaching that you only whisper...
Mystics are those who seek a direct experience of the Presence of God. They yearn to know God, to see God and to be one with God--now. There have always been mystics. And they have always plumbed the depths and scaled the heights of the soul's potential. Mysticism is not exclusive to Christianity. It is the vital, animating element at the heart of every religion.
The aspiration of every mystic is one and the same: union with God. He does not postpone it--because he cannot.
The spiritual marriage, the mystics tell us, is not merely a conforming to the ways and will of God but a total transforming of the soul into God....
And this is the heart of the teaching that you only whisper: The soul that is transformed into God is God.
--from BECOMING GOD
This is the story of the girl to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared as "a little young lady" and revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception. Bernadette Soubirous lived with her family in the abandoned jail of the little French village of Lourdes, never dreaming that the very name of Lourdes would one day bring inspiration and hope to millions. Bernadette studied her Catechism, took care of her brothers and sisters, and gathered firewood - and no one knew she was a Saint. But one day, as she was gathering wood, Our lady appeared. Within a few weeks, thousands were kneeling in the field to pray to the Lady who could be seen and heard only by Bernadette. This was the beginning of one of the greatest Marian Shrines of modern times and of the miracles with which Our Lady blessed her children. Illustrated
In popular usage, "mysticism" typically refers to New Age or Eastern forms of spirituality. However, the mystical tradition is also an important component of the Christian tradition. At its heart--and much like its expression in other faith traditions--Christian mysticism is an ancient practice that incorporates meditation, contemplation, worship, philosophy, the quest for personal enlightenment, and the experience of Divine presence.This volume is a comprehensive introduction and guide to Christian mysticism. It is a big book about a big possibility: the hope of achieving real, blissful, experiential unison with God. Among the topics covered here are a general introduction to mysticism, the Bible and mysticism, the history and types of Christian mysticism, biographical sketches of leading Christian mystics, and practical instructions about practicing mysticism today. This is a breathtaking work that explores a form of spirituality that has changed lives over the course of 2,000 years. Learning about Christian mysticism and how it has been articulated through the centuries will prove inspirational for today's seekers, regardless of the faith tradition. "The mystic is not a special kind of person; every person is a special kind of mytic." --William McNamara
This is a biography of one of the most original and one of the least understood seminal writers of the Baroque world, Jacob Boehme.In a period tormented by mysteries and controversies, Boehme's visionary mysticism responded to the vexing quandaries confronting his contemporaries. His concerns included the apocalyptic religious disputes of his day, the havoc wrought by the Thirty Years' War in his region, the disintegration of the Old Middle European order, the rise of new cosmic models from avant-garde heliocentrism to obscure esoteric theories, and his endeavor to express by means of codes and symbols a new sense of the human, divine, and natural realms.