The Christian church has for a long time now been the victim of the Age of Reason or Enlightenment. During the time of the Modern Era analytical thought and logic reigned supreme. This reliance on rationalism and what we can explain with our limited human intellects has dominated Christian theology and “faith” since the end of the Middle Ages. While this has caused growth by leaps and bounds in the arena of science, it has left our spiritual walks sadly empty and void of anything other than what the natural mind has use for. During the Modern Era anything having to do with the supernatural was suddenly reduced to superstition. Instead of seeking a spiritual experience with our Creator the “religious elite” began writing books on systematic theology. It was during this time that Christianity was boiled down to its “essentials” known as the “Romans Road.”
Praise be to God we’ve entered the time of postmodernism!
It’s not that we are rejecting modern thought; it’s that we are transcending it.
We’ve tried scientific spirituality and found it empty.
True religion is not about analysis but intimacy.
This realm of intimacy with our Creator is the realm of the mystic.
Here is the definition of MYSTICAL from Webster’s dictionary:
1 a : having a spiritual meaning or reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence <the mystical food of the sacrament>
b : involving or having the nature of an individual’s direct subjective communion with God or ultimate reality <the mystical experience of the Inner Light>
And here’s the definition of a MYSTIC from dictionary.com:
6. a person who claims to attain, or believes in the possibility of attaining, insight into mysteries transcending ordinary human knowledge, as by direct communication with the divine or immediate intuition in a state of spiritual ecstasy.
7. a person initiated into religious mysteries.
Now Christian mysticism is nothing new. We have the writings of those who have practiced what we would today consider to be mysticism going all the way back to the beginning of Christianity.
The beloved disciple John is possibly the most famous Christian Mystic although few would think to call him that.
After him we have the writings and stories about the “Desert fathers”who follow along in the footsteps of John the Baptist; living in the deserts, selling their possessions, devoting their lives to prayer and intimacy with God. The stories of their lives, experiences, visions and revelations are truly amazing.
Going further along in history we have people like Brother Lawrence, Madame Jeanne Guyon and her student St. John of the Cross.
Their books on mystical union, how to experience God and enter into the place of rapture have given countless saints throughout the ages a hope for both what is to come and what is available to us now.
Brother Lawrence in his book The Practice of the Presence of God teaches us how we can constantly beware of God’s tangible, manifest presence no matter what we’re doing or what we are going through.
Teresa of Ávila in her book The Interior Castle gives us what is quite possibly the most beautiful and powerful description of entering into our spirit to experience the kingdom of God.
Either of these books would be a great place to start for anyone who desires a true, powerful encounter with the living God.