What is Mysticism?
with Bishop Porter Taylor
May 16, 2022
7:30-9:00PM, in person and via Zoom
Roman Catholic theologian Karl Rahner said, “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all.” If that is so, there is no better person to guide the Church into embracing that reality than Evelyn Underhill. She was the first woman in the Church of England to lead clergy retreats, simply because she was able to articulate how to cultivate a deep inner life better than anyone else in her time. Her definition of mysticism was “the art of union with reality and the Science of Love.” The reality she speaks of is God.
Underhill lays out a specific path to this union—one that involves “recollection and selfsimplification.” We remember who we are in God and as a result let go of all that distracts us from that core identity. Her promise is that if you live “in the atmosphere of Reality, you will, in fact, yourself become more real.” This is not an esoteric process. Underhill asserts that a person can begin “by trying to give spiritual quality to every detail of their everyday lives.” Mysticism, therefore, is about changing the way we see and consequently the way we behave and define ourselves and one another.
Bishop Porter will seek to define mysticism in a way that invites us as Christians to embrace it and to be transformed by it. This task is not just important for the future of the Church; it’s important for the well-being of our souls. ~
Bishop Taylor is completing his term as Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Virginia. He and his wife Jo will return to their home in Asheville, NC, at the end of May. ~
St. Aidan’s has two labyrinths for walking prayer and meditation. The outdoor labyrinth, located between the memorial garden and Riverside Road, is always available. The labyrinth in the church is available most of the year and is used during special services and retreats. We can also arrange to open the church at other times for those who would like to walk the labyrinth.
Evelyn Underhill: What is Mysticism?
with Bishop Porter Taylor
7:30 to 9:00PM in person
and via Zoom
Continuing Classes and Offerings
the Gospel of Thomas
1st and 3rd Thursdays, 7:30 pm Zoom
The Gospel of Thomas is new to most of us and it is at the same time ancient. It may well be the oldest of the gospel writings. This gathering of sayings of Jesus seems to have been a source for the writers of the canonical gospels. The sayings from this text, which was found in a cave in Egypt in 1945, have contributed to a new appreciation of Jesus as a wisdom teacher in the Eastern tradition. We meet twice a month to work with one or two of the 114 sayings through lectio divina, or sacred listening. All are welcome for this reflection/meditation/discussion gathering. You do not need to have attended previous meetings to participate.
2nd and 4th Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Zoom
We gather on these Thursdays for conversation about the Spiritual Life. We meet in this community of others who, with us, long to become the sound, whole persons our traditions tell us we were created to become. The leader for the evening opens with a reading, we share the guidelines for welcoming conversation, then those who wish to are invited to speak about the experience of trying to live intentionally the life to which they feel called.
Silent Prayer, & Meditation
In the Sanctuary on Tuesday mornings
via Zoom on Friday mornings
at 8:00 am
We light a candle and spend 25 minutes in silence. The last person out of the room blows out the candle. It is that simple. Those who seek to include meditation in their weekly practice often find it easier to do so in the company of others.