Introduction to Christian Mysticism
A mystic is simply one who has moved from mere belief or belonging systems to actual inner experience of God. (Sunday)
A mystic sees things in their wholeness, connection, and union, not only their particularity. Mystics get the whole gestalt in one picture, beyond the sequential and separated way of seeing. (Monday)
A Christian is one who can see Christ everywhere else and even in oneself. (Tuesday)
If you want to find God, then honor God within you, and you will always see God beyond you. For it is only God in you who knows where and how to look for God. (Wednesday)
Saints embody goodness while mystics embody love. —Carl McColman (Thursday)
The mystic is not a special kind of person; each person is a special kind of mystic. —William McNamara (Friday)
Practice: A Prayer of Gratitude
Prayer is sitting in the silence until it silences us, choosing gratitude until we are grateful, and praising God until we ourselves are an act of praise. Mature prayer always breaks into gratitude. This week’s practice is a body prayer from Beverly Lanzetta. Adapt the movements to your body’s needs so that you’re comfortable. Focus simply on the feeling of gratitude and, as you are able, do the following as you read through the stanzas: bow, kneel, lie down, rise, put your hands over your heart, place your hands together, bow your head, and open your arms wide.
Holy Earth, Holy Cosmos,
I bow before you
With my whole being.
Holy Creatures, Holy Nature,
I kneel upon the earth
In honor and thanksgiving
Of your blessed bounty.
Holy Waters, Holy Mountains,
I lay my body on your temple
In gratefulness for nurturing
My tender soul.
Holy Passion, Holy Longing,
I rise up before you
A devotee of truth,
Following wherever you lead me.
Holy Silence, Holy Solitude,
I place my hands over my heart
Breathing in serenity,
Breathing out your peace.
Holy Sorrow, Holy Suffering,
I close my hands in prayer
May I bear every wound
With compassion and nonharm.
Holy Humility, Holy Emptiness,
I bow my head before you
I have become open,
For your All to shine in my soul.
Holy Freedom, Holy Rejoicing,
I open my heart to the world
Offering myself to this day,
In joyfulness and gratitude.
 Beverly Lanzetta, “Canticle of Praise,” A Feast of Prayers (Blue Sapphire Books: forthcoming 2019). Used with permission. Dr. Beverly Lanzetta is a theologian, spiritual teacher, and the author of many groundbreaking books on emerging universal spirituality and new monasticism as well as a vowed monk of peace living in the world. For more information on Lanzetta and her work, visit her website beverlylanzetta.net.
For Further Study:
Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, and Richard Rohr, Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate: Seeing God in All Things (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2010), CD, DVD, MP3 download
Carl McColman, Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints, and Sages (Hampton Roads Publishing Company: 2016)
Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019)
Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009)
Alan Watts, Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion (Vintage Books: 1947, 1972)