Page 2, 4th May 1956

4th May 1956
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Page 2, 4th May 1956 — ALCUIN on the Latest Books
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ALCUIN on the Latest Books

MYSTICISM FOR ALL CHRISTIANS

MYSTERY AND MYSTICISM:

As . 6 dS. ly.mposium (Blackfriars,

9

rr HE two most striking-per-1haps even surprising-impressions to be gained from this book which cannot be too highly recommended arc that, clean contrary to our ordinary, practical, Catholic attitude, every Christian ought to be a mystic; and. contrary to the indulgent and charitable attitude of many students of the matters discussed, every true mystic is a Christian. '' Mystery and Mysticism " was first published in France as a special issue of " La Vie Spirituelle." It is a symposium to which five authors contribute six papers. By far the most considerable in length and importance is Fr. A. Leonard's " Studies on the Phenomena of Mystical Experience."

Most helpful to the understanding of this paper are Fr, A. Ple's study of " Mystery and Mysticism," which introduces the book and gives it its name; Fr. Louis Bayer's discussions of the history of the word "IMysterion," one paper, and " Mysticism," the second. They contribute notably to the intelligibility of the main study and ought both to precede it. Fr. Ian Hislop writes a very brief note on "The Christian Myth."

Standing on its own-though it, too, is a valuable contribution to the symposium as a whole-is the study of "St. Paul's Mysticism," which is clearly of basic importance in exegetical and theological contexts.

This most valuable paper (some 14 pages) is by L. Cerfaux and would justify the buying of the book (137 pages in all) for those who would not " bother" with studies of mysticism.

PERE PLE, who recalls the polarity in such phrases as " the mystery of Christ," the " mystery of faith," the " mystery of the Eucharist," of " the hidden and the shown forth," has this to say about the special need for a mystery-minded mysticism (mystique des rnysteres) in these days: " It is even more particularly adapted to the modern mentality in so far as that expresses itself, more or less happily, by existentialism. Whatever is healthy in modern mentality easily falls in with the mode of divine revelation. ' He who is ' did not reveal himself to mankind by inspiring a treatise on the metaphysics of essences: hut by acting on human life, by manifesting himself in perceptible and human realities, by mysteries."

IN regard to the impression that every true Christian ought to be a mystic, a brief quotation might be more misleading than helpful, but the following will indicate the line of thought in L. Cerfaux's study of "St. Paul's Mysticism ": " God, the author of the message, is at work in Apostle and Christian alike, and if the faith of the recipient be sufficiently intense, he will be conscious of the divine action. For in seality, Christian light and glory are only aspects of that unique Christian reality which is formulated in ontological mysticism. . . . Whoever is earlscious of this glory within him has mystical contact with Christ; and every Christian should strive after such an awareness, since it falls within his normal supernatural vocation."

Many points, too numerous to mention, are made briefly and succinctly, but convincingly, in Pere Leonard's fine essay: that mysticism is only an element in religious experience; that it is inextricably bound up with doctrine (recall how Si. Teresa wanted teamed directors): with the missionary charge of the Church; above all with Christ, Christ-God, or GodChrist; and most mysteriously in all genuine Christian mystics, with the mystery of His Passion, His Sufferings. His redemptive work.

YOUR PASSPORT TO HEAVEN, by Wilfrid Diamond (The World's Work, Ltd., 7s. 6d.).

rTIHOSE with the new taste for

• their spiritual reading written by laymen, will find the above little book interesting. Those who, attracted by that quality, have found Professor Pieper or Dr. von Speyr an pen trop fort. a little too difficult, will here be at home; for the work is very simple and straightforward.

Nevertheless, Father Benedict Bradley. O.S.R. of St. Mary's Abbey. Newark, New Jersey, thinks, and says in his foreword, that this book " is destined to do much good. Our Laity and religious everywhere will find its pages interesting, instructive and inspiring."




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