John Ruysbroeck

MYSTICISM: John Ruysbroeck—The Little Book of Enlightenment

October 4, 2017

From The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism John Ruysbroeck is the most famous of Dutch mystics.  His long life (1293–1381) spanned one of the most troubled centuries of the Middle Ages, but he does not dwell on the contemporary problems of church and society.  Rather, Ruysbroeck concentrates on the soul’s progress toward the “common life,” that is, our sharing in the interaction of the divine persons in the Trinity.  Ruysbroeck’s mysticism was set forth during an era in which there were many debates about mysticism and mystical union.  He was aware of at least some of Eckhart’s writings, and he was careful to qualify and even to criticize, what he thought were some of Eckhart’s excesses. [...]

POETRY: The Inward Stirring by John Ruysbroeck

October 4, 2017

The inward stirring and touching of God makes us hungry and yearning; for the Spirit of God hunts our spirit; and the more it touches it, the greater our hunger and our craving. And this is the life of love in its highest working, above reason and above understanding; for reason can here neither give nor take away from love, for our love is touched by the Divine [...]

MYSTICISM: See by John Ruysbroeck

May 22, 2015

From The Spiritual Espousals Our Heavenly Father wishes us to see, for he is the Father of light, (cf. James 1:17).  Accordingly, in the hidden depths of our spirit he eternally, ceaselessly, and without intermediary utters a single, fathomless word, and only that word.  In this word he gives utterance to himself and all things.  This word, which is none other than, “See,” is the generation and birth of the Son, the eternal light, in whom all blessedness is seen and known. If our spirit is to contemplate God with God without intermediary in this divine light, three things are necessary.  The first is that a person must be exteriorly well ordered, interiorly unhindered, and as empty of all his exterior works as if he were [...]

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, [...]

PRAYER: The First Step To Contemplation by John Ruysbroeck

December 19, 2014

From Reflections From the Mirror of a Mystic When the soul has arrived at true life, and all her actions are referred to the glory of God, she feels herself suddenly stirred by a desire to see what her Spouse is like, asking who and what is he who has become man for her sake?  He who has died to save her, and has given himself to her?  This Jesus, who on leaving the Earth has left her his sacraments and promised her his Kingdom; this Jesus, ever ready to provide for the needs of the body and the consolation of the soul, what is he like?  And the soul, full of questions, feels the desire of seeing her Spouse increase within her; the longing to know what he is like, what he is in himself; for the knowledge, such as it is, which she [...]