Thursday, May 3, 2018

Fellow Students of 'Christian Mysticism'

Dear Parish Faithful,


Pascha - The Twenty-Sixth Day

One of my students at XU in my "Christian Mysticism" class chose to write his final paper on St. Augustine of Hippo. While quoting St. Augustine, he chose three particularly insightful texts that I would like to share. The first is very "paschal" in its emphasis on the contrast between mortality and immortality; while the other two are simply wonderful and justifiably famous words from the saint:

"We made bad use of immortality, and so ended up dying; Christ made good use of mortality, so that we might end up living." 
"Christ is not valued at all, unless he is valued above all."

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You."

For his final exam essay, another student chose to answer the broad question, "What is Christian mysticism?" The point was to get my students to synthesize what they learned through the course of the semester and put that in coherent terms as an essay.

Since most of my students could not adequately answer this question at the beginning of the semester, I thought that it would prove both challenging and interesting to read what they wrote after sixteen weeks with the subject. Be that as it may, one of the requirements for this question was that the student had to support his/her answer with at least there direct quotations from the course's primary text, The Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clement. This is the book that we read and studied together in last Fall's Adult Education Class.

So, here are the three quotations from the book that this particular student chose to include. All three are from the Orthodox theologian Olivier Clement (+2008). No commentary on my part, just three deep thoughts that are worthy of meditation, or deep and hard thinking:

"God remains a beggar who waits at each person's gate with infinite patience, begging for his love. His silence, with which we sometimes reproach Him, only shows His consideration."

"God offers Himself, wishes to disclose Himself, but He does not force us. His power is the power of love, and love wants freedom from the beloved. God speaks and at the same time keeps silence; He knocks at the door and waits."

"The inaccessible God reveals Himself as the Crucified. He is by that very fact a hidden and incomprehensible God, who upsets our definitions and expectations."

No comments:

Post a Comment

You are welcome to post a comment. Comments are monitored to make sure they are appropriate for our readership. Please observe common courtesy to all. Offensive remarks will be removed.