At the celebration of twenty years of women’s ordinations, at our Synod on Saturday, the service began with a series of quotations from mystics, theologians and others. For those who were asking who they were, there are here.
There’s a disproportionate amount of Hildegaard, because I’m slightly obsessed with her.
Hildegaard of Bingen – Mystic, poet, composer, artist, religious 1096-1179
“And it came to pass … that the heavens were opened and a blinding light of exceptional brilliance flowed through my entire brain. And so it kindled my whole heart and breast like a flame, not burning but warming… and suddenly I understood of the meaning of God…”
Glance at the sun. See the moon and the stars. Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings.
What delight God gives to humankind with all these things. All nature is at the disposal of humankind. We are to work with it. For without we cannot survive.
The fire has its flame and praises God. The wind blows the flame and praises God. In the voice we hear the word which praises God. And the word, when heard, praises God. So all of creation is a song of praise to God.
“With my mouth,” God says, “I kiss my own chosen creation. I uniquely, lovingly, embrace every image I have made out of the earth’s clay. With a fiery spirit I transform it into a body to serve all the world.”
Anna Kingsford, women’s rights campaigner 1846-1888
No –one can know God unless they first understand themself. God is nothing that we are not. What we are, God is likewise. As God is the heart of the outer world, so also is God at the heart of the world within. When the God within shall be wholly united to the God without, then we shall be one with the Most High.
Beatrice of Nazareth 1200-1268 Mystic, Cistertian religious
Only with love of eternity itself area we pulled into the eternity of love, into the wisdom and the silent highness, into the deep abyss of the Deity, who is everything in everything that exists, insusceptible, elevated above everything, imperishable, almighty, all-embracing, and who acts all-ruling in everything that exists.
Our Lord is used to give us yet another way of love, sometimes in great delight, sometimes in great pains… Sometimes we want to break with all the misery of the soul and tear loose from the unity with love. But the alliance with love is so strong that we are always being pulled more and more back into the unity of love.
Theresa of Avila Mystic, religious 1515-1582
Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing make you afraid. All things are passing. God alone never changes. Patience gains all things. If you have God you will want for nothing. God alone suffices.
Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
Julien of Norwich Mystic, 1342-1416
Our Lord is the Ground of our Prayer. Herein were seen two properties: the one is rightful prayer, the other is steadfast trust; which He willeth should both be alike large; and thus our prayer pleaseth Him and He of His Goodness fulfilleth it.
We shall suddenly be taken from all our pain and from all our woe, and of His Goodness we shall come up above, where we shall have our Lord Jesus for our meed and be fulfilled with joy and bliss in Heaven.
I saw that He is to us everything that is good and comfortable for us: He is our clothing that for love wrappeth us, claspeth us, and all encloseth us for tender love, that He may never leave us; being to us all-thing that is good, as to mine understanding.
Marguerite Porete Mystic, burnt as a heretic 1310
I am God, says Love, for Love is God and God is Love, and this Soul is God by the condition of Love. I am God by divine nature and this Soul is God by the condition of Love. Thus this precious beloved of mine is taught and guided by me, without herself, for she is transformed into me, and such a perfect one, says Love, takes my nourishment
Mother Theresa 1910-1997 Missionary, religious
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.
Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
Lillian Staveley 1871-1928 Mystical writer.
My intelligence said, “Resign yourself to what is, after all, the truth: console yourself with the world and material achievements.” The heart said, “Resignation is impossible, for there is no consolation to the heart without God.” I listened to my heart, and so I fought for faith.
Generosity is our easiest means of coming to God, because it is also the way of love
Simone Weil 1909-1943 Philosopher, mystic, political activist
If ever there is a seeming disparity between the truth and God, one must always choose the truth; because in the long term, disloyalty to the truth will always be disloyalty to God
Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.
Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand.