MYSTICAL WOMEN: Joan of Arc—Breaking the Mold

December 14, 2011

This is the story of Joan of Arc’s first trial. No, it’s not what you think.  In fact, before Joan had to stand before the judges arguing for her very life, she was on trial twice.  And as I wrote, above, this is the tale of her first encounter with the forces of justice.  But, first, for better understanding of this trial, a glimpse into her youth. When Joan was thirteen, she had her first vision.  At the second public examination of Joan (The Trial) on Thursday, February 22, 1431, she described to the judges assembled before her her first mystical experiences: Asked if she received the sacrament of the Eucharist at other feasts than Easter, she told the interrogator to move on.  Then she confessed that when she was aged [...]

MYSTICISM: Hildegard de Bingen, An Early Vision

December 8, 2011

When Hildegard was five years old, she was out walking with her nanny.  They saw a cow, and Hildegard looked deeper and could see the unborn calf inside the cow.  She described the coloring of the unborn calf, amazing her nanny. When the calf was born, Hildegard’s vision proved accurate. Shortly after this, Hildegard decided not to share the content of her visions, until she worked with her spiritual teacher, Jutta.  After Jutta, Hildegard kept the her visions secret until her early forties. Hildegard on the Creation, from the Book of Divine Works The leaping fountain is clearly the purity of the living God.  His radiance is reflected in it, and in that splendor, God embraces in his great love all things whose reflection appeared [...]

ANGLICANISM: The View From The Nearly Abandoned Treehouse

December 7, 2011

It takes a lot to be a mystic.  In addition to having the ability burned into you at birth, it takes patience and endurance, courage and endurance, flexibility and endurance, and just plain endurance.  At times it means suspending all that you’ve grown to accept as reality and expanding the boundaries just a bit further out into the unknown, over the chasm, and plunging into unspeakable discomfort, only to find yourself sitting still and knowing that He is God. But it doesn’t take that much from the world to keep a mystic going.  From almost the beginning of the church, mystics have had a penchant to take themselves away from the world — into monasteries and convents, hermitages and anchorite cells.  For me, though, to [...]


December 4, 2011

When I was seventeen I had a series of visions.  For the first time in my life, however, the visions were really visual.  I could see them. They lasted for four nights.  For the first three nights, I was awakened in the night, in my large, dark, four-poster bed, to see a nun standing serenely and silently at the end of my bed.  She made no demand on me.  She looked at me.  I wondered if I were imagining that she looked at me with expectancy.  Nothing about the experience disturbed me.  I easily sunk back into my pillow and went back to sleep. On the fourth night, the vision changed.  Instead of the nun, a man appeared at the end of my bed.  I didn’t know much, if anything, about appearances like this, so I just assumed, [...]


November 29, 2011

A mystic is not a person who has queer experiences; but a person for whom God is the one reality of life; the supreme object of love. He is a religious realist. Mysticism, then, far from being abnormal, is an essential part of all religion which is fully and deeply alive; it is the light which the mystics cast on the normal spiritual life, their disclosure of the landscape in which we really live, not their occasional excursions into an abnormal spiritual life, which gives them their great importance. (What is [...]