We Will All Be Mystics Or We Will Be Nothing

Last night was the last session of our Adult Faith Formation gatherings at St. Thomas Apostle church. Our theme this year was Mysticism.

While I was walking the Camino in the fall, Bill Nolan, pastoral associate at STA and the person with whom I have co-facilitated these sessions, walked through Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now with the participants. Upon my return, we together organized our sessions around a number of mystics: Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and Thomas Merton. (We had planned to include Meister Echkart, but poor Meister got dropped out when we needed additional time on the others.) We read selections from their writings, considered some of their other works (poetry in the case of Teresa and John, and music and drawings in the case of Hildegard) and in some cases watched some film excerpts.

Throughout the year, we encouraged individual reflection and focus on the participants own mystical experiences, even if that was not a label they had previously used to describe their experience. It was humbling at various times, including last night, to hear people share some of their deep experiences of God.

Bill ended our session with the quote with which he began the first session last fall. It was from Karl Rahner, who observed, “In the days to come, we will all be mystics or we will be nothing.” (Rahner’s definition of a mystic is “one who has experienced God for real.”)

You might spend some time reflecting on what Rahner meant by saying that and, more importantly, on your own “real” experiences of God.

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