I was editing an essay for a university religion class for my youngest about mystical experiences when I was struck by this quote. Read mystical literature from anywhere around the world and you will discover “passages that speak of mystical, self-transcending participation in an ultimate reality that is far more important than the momentary evils that may afflict people” (p.172). These passages, found in literature from vastly differing time periods, cultures, religions and locations, describe almost identical mystical experiences.These experiences are core to many religions; their validity cannot be simply dismissed. These encounters are universal because God yearns to speak to people, touch them, love them, heal them and save them.
Mystical encounters are life changing. Any pain, suffering evil fades in the face of His divine light and presence. That’s why St. Paul could say, that Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love (Romans 8:35-39 New Living Translation)
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?… No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Yet modern, western Christians, especially those in the more traditional streams, are constantly shutting out an encounter with this Love because they are afraid of being deceived, led astray. I am aware that some experiences can be dismissed which are called mystical but are not religious; they can be explained by psychoanalytical theories such as those purposed by Sigmund Feud and Carl Jung. Some so-called mystical experiences do arise from dysfunctional childhoods or perhaps as the result of a collective consciousness, yet it is impossible to dismiss all inexplicable experiences with these theories.
For goodness sakes, the ONLY reason we have religion and devotions is to prepare our hearts to meet God. Everything is about Him, meeting Him, worshiping Him, returning His love.Yes, we all need guidance and teaching but let us not be so cautious, so afraid of deception, that we shut out God completely. Christianity is not about ritual or dogma. These are simply a means to an end. Our goal is communion with our Father. God’s goal in sending His Son to die for our sins was to restore communion with man. Let’s stop wasting the crucifixion