MYSTICISM: Hadewijch Of Antwerp by Harvey Egan

June 21, 2017

From An Anthology of Christian Mysticism The Flemish Beguine, Hadewijch, is perhaps the most sublime exponent of love mysticism in the Western tradition.  Love mysticism contends that God allows himself to be experienced as Love by a person who ardently desires to love and to be united with God in this life. In addition, this love is usually deeply emotional, ecstatic, visionary, and bridal.  So traumatic is this madness at times that the visionary’s physical well-being and even life are endangered. Hadewijch was a Beguine, that is, a woman who lived a semi-religious community life, but without vows.  The Beguines were pious women who seem to have rejected both a woman’s constructed life at court and the stricter obligations [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: The Two Loves by Evelyn Underhill

March 8, 2015

From Concerning the Inner Life There is a wonderful chapter in Ruysbroeck’s Book of the Twelve Béguines in which he describes the life of one who has achieved this state, as “ministering to the world without in love and in mercy; whilst inwardly abiding in simplicity, in stillness, and in utter peace.”  Reading it, we remember that it was said of Ruysbroeck himself, that supreme mystic, that during the years in which he was a parish priest in Brussels, he went to and fro in the streets of the city “with his mind perpetually lifted up into God.”  He was ministering to the world without in love and mercy; whist inwardly abiding in simplicity, stillness, and utter peace.  Action, effort, and tension, then, [...]

MYSTICISM: The Beguines, with writings

March 2, 2012

The Beguinage, Bruques The high gate keeps, it seems, nobody in And the bridge leads contentedly out as well as within And yet, it is certain that each and everyone Is in the old Elm Court; they do not leave Their houses, except to walk the short way To church, in order that they may the better understand Why there should be such love in them. (Rainer Maria Rilke) Some women in the middle ages wanted to control their own lives.  They neither wanted to be married off by their families, nor did they want to submit to the authority that was wielded by convents.  Their hearts were filled with love for God, and, in what feels like a strange application, they took what was current in their culture — the idealism of chivalric [...]