German Mystics of the Middle Ages

[Mysticism = Unity with God]

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The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine - by MateoCerezo - from Museo del Prado, Madrid

 

Mysticism, according to its Etymology, implies a Relation to Mystery. As a Philosophical System, Mysticism considers as the End of Philosophy the Direct Union of the Human Soul with the Divinity through Contemplation and Love, and Attempts to Determine the Processes and the Means-of Realizing this End. This Contemplation, according to Mysticism, is not based on a merely Analogical Knowledge of the Infinite (∞), but as a Direct and Immediate Intuition of the Infinite (∞).

From the Catholic Encyclopedia

 

German Mystics of the Middle Ages

from various sources

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What is Mysticism?

Mysticism is about Oneness (1) with God or Divinization. Mystics are the Great Giants of the Spiritual Life who have a Profound Desire of Unity (1) with God. The Mystical Soul surrenders its Will to God's Will, Transcending our Sensate World. They Advance-into Saint John of the Cross' Darkness, where they Experience God, not by Words or Idea, but in Pure Love.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) What kind of Person seeks after God?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) What is the Personality of the one who spends a Good Part of their Life Pursuing an Experience-of the Transcendent?

"The Mystics, to give them their Short Familiar Name, are Men and Women who insist that they Know for Certain the Presence and Activity of that which they call the Love of God".

Although God calls us all to Mystical Union, most of us will never Achieve it on this Side of the Grave. Still, the Paschal Mystery is what Christian Spirituality is all about. The Paschal Mystery, is the Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord into Glory. The Paschal Mystery is the Central Mystery of the Christian Faith, Celebrated at the Easter Triduum with a Sublime and Unique Solemnity. We Die to-self and Come-to New Life in Christ, not Once (1), but Continually. The End of that Process is our Mystical Union with God.

 

Great German Mystics of the Middle Ages

To most English-speaking Readers, the "Imitation of Christ" is the Representative of Mediaeval German Mysticism. In Reality, however, this Beautiful Little Treatise belongs-to a Period when that Movement had nearly Spent-itself. Thomas Kempis was only a Semi-mystic. He tones-down the most Characteristic Doctrines of the Great Dominican Mystic, Meister Eckhart, who is the Great Original Thinker of the German Mystical School. To find German Mysticism at its Strongest, and to Understand its Growth, we must Retrace our Steps as far as the Great Awakening of the Thirteenth Century -- the Age-of Chivalry in Religion -- the Age-of Saint Louis, of Saints Francis and Dominic, of Saint Bonaventura and lastly, Saint Thomas Aquinas. It was a Vast Revival, bearing Fruit in a New Ardor of Pity and Charity, as well as in a Healthy Freedom of Thought.

 

alert1.gif (7254 bytes) Perhaps a Word of Warning may, without Impertinence, be inserted here. Readers of Mystical Works are sometimes Exposed-to the same Danger that Unprofessional Students of Medical Treatises experience; they feel that they themselves have all the Symptoms which they find in the Books they read. We know how Illusory that feeling can be, and how much Imaginary Misery is thereby Generated. Now it is just as Easy, and just as Dangerous, to become a Mystique Imaginaire as a Malade Imaginaire. Every Spiritual Director knows the Type.

If we find ourselves Carried-away by such Flights of Mystique Imaginaire, it does not follow that we are Mystics or Possessed-of any special Mystical Aptitude, or even Spiritually Advanced in any Notable Degree. It only shows, or at least it need only show, that we are Susceptible-to Spirituals conveyed in Sublime and Telling Language.

Father Joseph Bolland, S.J.

 


"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" - Icon of the Eastern Church

[The Church Militant, Church Triumphant and the Angels, assist Souls against Satan in their Divine Ascent to Jesus , Head of the Mystical Body. Mystics, as 'Guides-to-Holiness', assist in the Divine Ascent of the Souls of the Church Militant.]

It is, after all, as 'Guides-to-Holiness' that these Mystics are Chiefly Important to us. This Aspect of their Life's Work can never be Out-of-Date, for the Deeper Currents of Human Nature change but little; the Language of the Heart is Readily Understood everywhere, and at all Times. Therefore these Writings are as Pertinent and Meaningful today, as they were in the 13th and 14th Century.

 

Sermons and Treatises

 

Meister Johannes Eckart (1260 - 1327)

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Attractive Power of God

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Nearness of the Kingdom

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) True Hearing

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Angel's Greeting

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Self-Communication of God

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Sanctification

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Outward and Inward Morality

 

Blessed John Ruysbroeck (1293 - 1381)

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage     (Still in Publication)

 

Blessed Henry Suso (1295 - 1366)

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Little Book of Eternal Wisdom star4.gif (851 bytes) star4.gif (851 bytes) star4.gif (851 bytes) star4.gif (851 bytes) star4.gif (851 bytes) (Still in Publication)

 

Friar Johannes Tauler (1300 - 1361)

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Sermon I - How Men may Learn to Know their Infirmities

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Sermon II - Grains of Wheat

 

Brother Thomas Kempis (1380 - 1471)

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Imitation of Christ star4.gif (851 bytes) star4.gif (851 bytes) star4.gif (851 bytes) star4.gif (851 bytes) star4.gif (851 bytes) (Still in Publication)

 

Anonymous

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Theologia Germanica    (Less than easy reading! For the more Advanced Student of Mysticism.)