Sunday, July 29, 2012

Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism - 21

pp. 96-102 “…down the nights and down the days” of Francis Thompson’s “The Hound of Heaven.”

“the idea of a love-chase”

The several pages read tonight relate how many mystic writers have described the mystic experience—the pursuit of Reality—with images of the pursuit of alchemy, i.e., that we are spiritual beings, souls, in search of the gold standard, The Goldenness within us, that was put in us by The Hound of Heaven, the One who urges us forward to the fullness of our being in the Eternal One, if we will purge ourselves of the baser metals in our spirits. Much of this book before now has described how the mystic pursues the Ultimate Reality. This section reveals how, in fact, it is Reality that has been pursuing us all along.

With the 2012 Olympics in full swing now, I can’t help thinking about the pursuit of gold, how the athletes work constantly to discover their most golden selves, the ones who allow themselves to be shaped by discipline, constancy, direction, and responsiveness to the best that is within them. They are always the chasers, though. They are not pursued by The One, in order to hand them the gold medal.


[Richard of St. Victor] “The Soul, is utterly concentrated on the One.” She is “caught up to the divine light.”

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism - 20 (I think of it every month)

I am learning what "fear of the Lord" means in reading this book, in that approaching the book reminds me of Moses' approach to the burning bush. What is this strange sight that I see? There are so many riches within its pages, I am hesitant to read it in any other milieu than complete silence and long stretches of that. If I read it too fast, with too many distractions, I will miss so much. If I read it and savor it slowly, in blessed long silence, I will miss so much, but less, I suppose. There's nothing for it but to slog on and resign myself to reading it more than once, to catch the missed morsels on the second or fourteenth round.

Thank you to the giver of this book for a way to cherish that which is eligible to be cherished.

Chugging along, then, the three principle images by which mystics describe their experiences:

  • PILGRIMAGE (Mystic Quest; Grail): "That kingdom which is both near and far..."
  • SEARCH FOR LOVER/SOUL MATE (Marriage of the Soul): "No lover seeks union with his beloved, But his beloved is also seeking union with him."
  • ASCETICISM/PURITY ("Great Work")

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism - 19a (19 shall remain unpublished)

p. 87: [Nativity - Eternal Birth of the Divine Word]: ECKHART: "When the soul brings forth the Son, it is happier than Mary." Love this image. As I read Mysticism, I am realizing how primary the Incarnation is in my faith life.

p. 88: "If you would truly know how these things come to pass," says St. Bonaventura,..."ask it of grace, not of doctrine; of desire, not of intellect; of the ardours of prayer, not the teachings of the schools; of the Bridegroom, not of the Master; of God, not of man; of the darkness, not of the day; not of illumination, but of that Fire which enflames all and wraps us in God with great sweetness and most ardent love. The which Fire most truly is God, and the hearth thereof is in Jerusalem." It is, after all, about a relationship, and one doesn't get to know the beloved by reading books or sets of instruction.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If I Say It Enough Times, Maybe I'll Eventually Believe It

Look for the remedy inside the pain; since the rose came from the thorn and the ruby came from a stone ~Rumii♥

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism - 18

pp. 83 – 85

“It was this re-discovery of Nature’s Christliness which Blake desired so passionately when he sang—

‘I will not cease from mental fight,

Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand

Till we have built Jerusalem

In England’s green and pleasant land.’”

“Quia per incarnate Verbi mysterium nova mentis nostrae oculis lux tuae claritatis infulsit: ut dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus, per hunc in invisibilium amorem rapiamur.” …for through the Mystery of the Word made flesh, the new light of Thy glory hath shone upon the eyes of our mind so that while we acknowledge God in visible form, we may through Him be drawn to things invisible.

Says Underhill, “The essence of mystical Christianity seems to be summed up in these lovely words.”

They embrace both immanence and transcendence and begin to express their mutuality. This Incarnation is no commercial transaction, but is the Reveal of Reveals, the only Reality worth revealing.