Monday, November 14, 2011

'n Mistikus se voete is in hierdie wêreld geplant

Dit is opvallend met watter insig van ons grootste denkers oor die mistiek skryf. Sommige van hulle name kry 'n mens in Cunningham se boeiende artikel oor die mistiek. Hier is 'n kort aanhaling daaruit - 'n aanhaling wat vir my belangrik is in die lig van soveel oningeligte opmerkings asof die mistiek ontvlugting is. Cunningham, dosent by Notre Dame, skryf met gesofistikeerde insig oor die onderwerp: 

All the mystics in the Christian tradition assumed that the person of prayer who sought a deep intimacy with God would participate in the ordinary means of holiness in the church: regular prayer, participation in the sacraments, a sensible approach to asceticism, and the works of charity. In fact, St. Teresa of Ávila’s The Interior Castle had a very simple criterion for judging whether someone had had an experience of the hidden love of God: Did that person love her sisters more? In one of his informal talks to young friars, Meister Eckhart said that if a person were lifted by rapturous prayer into the third heaven described by St. Paul and knew that a brother was sick, it would be better to climb down and bring that ailing brother a bowl of soup. It is care for the ordinary duties of life that motivated Evelyn Underhill to insist that those who were under her spiritual direction do good works for the poor, lest they think that progress in contemplative prayer was for the sake of the self and its own joys. The Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar said that the first proof of genuine mystical consciousness was that a person showed a definite love for both God and neighbor. In short, the mystical experience is not to be construed as some sort of Plotinian flight of the alone with the Alone.

Contrary to the popular image of the mystic as a recluse, St. John of the Cross traveled (that is, walked!) about fifteen hundred miles during his active ministry. He taught; he organized; he built an aqueduct still in use today. Nor did most mystics live under a cloud of suspicion by church authority. While it’s true that Meister Eckhart had his problems with the papacy and Teresa of Ávila had a scrape or two with the Inquisitors in Spain, for the most part the mystics were regarded, even in their own lifetimes, as reformers and leaders of what would become “schools of spirituality.” But it’s hard to erase the persistent cliché of mystics as persecuted rebels. Many still wish to believe that mystics stood apart from the community of ordinary Christians rather than at its heart.

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