St. Paul of the Cross cont.

St. Paul of the Cross cont.

Continuing with last week’s post on St. Paul of the Cross first of all thank you to those who took the time to answer the survey. The results follow:

  1. 100% of those responding are familiar with the Carmelites and Capuchins.
  2. 100% of those responding believe in looking to those who have gone before for guidance with today’s issues.
  3. 67% are familiar with the idea of a mystic
  4. 50% liked or are attracted to St. Paul of the Cross’s desire for solitude and poverty.
  5. In terms of relevance:
    1. Evenly split between somewhat to very relevant on people’s lives who have lived before us and mysticism.
    2. Collaboration was evenly split between relevant to most relevant
    3. 75% thought compassion for each other was most relevant.

Secondly, the reason for posting the video was to familiarize newcomers with the founder of the Passionists as well as to remind current partners who this Paul Daneii (St. Paul of the Cross) was. The video tells us that he was one of the greatest  mystics of the 18th Century who was influenced by John Tauler, a 14th century Dominican and mystic.

What defines a person as a mystic? Arthur Wollaston Hutton (1901) in his book The Inner Way… tells us first what a mystic is not. “Mystics are not dreamers; they are not fanatics; they are not fools; they are not a sect; and mysticism is not a religion.”[1] Then he gives us an idea of who they are: “The mystic, who sees God in all things and all things in God, recognizes more in nature than mere natural phenomena, and more in the Word of God than its first literal significance. To him every thing, every event, every person, is a vision from the Unseen, a voice from the Inaudible.” [2]

Why would anyone want to follow a mystic and do we need mystics in our lives, our Church or our world? Arthur Wollaston Hutton suggests: “…the Church can never get rid of the mystic spirit; nor should she attempt to do so, for it is, in fact, her life.  It is another name for conscience, for freedom, for the rights of the individual soul, for the grace and privilege of direct access to the Divine Spirit in the heart.”[3]

Wayne Teasdale in his book The Mystic Heart (1999) says: “Many religious people depend on institutions—the church, synagogue, temple, or mosque—to make their decisions. Rather than looking for inner direction they shape their spiritual lives through conformity to external piety. They seem to lack the ability and desire to stand on their own two feet. Spirituality draws us into the depths of our being where we come face to face with ourselves, our weaknesses, and with ultimate mystery. Many understandably prefer to avoid this frightening prospect by sinking into external religiosity and the safe routines of liturgy or ritual. A genuinely spiritual person passionately commits to this inner development. He or she knows that life is a spiritual journey, and that each one of us must take this journey alone, even while surrounded by love ones. [4]

What do you think? Do we need mystics in our world today?

[1] Wollaston Hutton, Arthur.(1901) The Inner Way… London: Methuen & Company p 55
[2] Ibid p 61
[3] Ibid p 59
[4] Teasdale, Wayne (1999) The Mystic Heart. Novato, CA: New World Library

One thought on “St. Paul of the Cross cont.

  1. Note: This comment by Fr. Sebastian McDonald:

    I doubt I have the right spot for adding a reflection on the mystic but in lieu of a better location I might remark that the greatest impediment to appreciating the mystic is to do so in the context of visions, miracles, elevations, prophecies, tongues, etc. A proper appreciation of mysticism focuses on things like sensitivity, perception, appreciation, insight, and the ability to read between the lines, and to relish and savor what one is about, much like what a wine-taster does in evaluating a glass of wine. It’s a frame of mind that totally comes to terms with what one is about.

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