Knowing God in 7 Easy Steps! (and other lies)

If there is one thing the internet age has made abundantly clear it's that the human craving for lists and how-to guides is insatiable. Long before the internet made 'listicle' a word, this love for tidy numbered frameworks was taken up by the mystics. We've seen this in this Lenten mini-series already, in St. Bernard's … Continue reading Knowing God in 7 Easy Steps! (and other lies)

The Journey Within: St Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle

One of the guiding metaphors I've slipped into throughout this series on knowing God has been the spiritual journey. It's an unoriginal idea, but like most over-used analogies, it's over-used because it's so apt. Coming to know God is very much like a never-ending journey, down a long and winding road, into unfamiliar territories, in … Continue reading The Journey Within: St Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle

Unsatisfied: The Language of More in St. Gregory of Nyssa

Of all the metaphors for the mystical pursuit of God, the most common is that of love. In fact, mystics and theologians would alike point out that since God is Love, the metaphor actually works the other way around: it's not that the experience of God is like falling in love but rather that all … Continue reading Unsatisfied: The Language of More in St. Gregory of Nyssa

Step by Step: St Gregory of Nyssa on the Life of Moses

While we might say the 'golden age of Christian mysticism' took place in the West after 1100, the roots of this tradition are far older. Today I'd like to go back over seven hundred years before the time of St. Bernard and St. Hildegard and spend some time with St. Gregory of Nyssa, whose Life … Continue reading Step by Step: St Gregory of Nyssa on the Life of Moses

Humility or Humiliation?

In this little series on the mystics, my goal each week has been to hold up a particular gem of a Christian history to the light for closer examination. In doing so, we see both their exquisite beauty (why we read them) but also their flaws (how they can fall short), and even the awkwardness … Continue reading Humility or Humiliation?