I’ve been teaching on female mystics at a friend’s church, and will do so in April at my church. I came across a quote on mysticism by Bernard McGinn in his introduction on his edited volume, The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism. New York, Random House, 2006.
Here’s his definition:
Mysticism is a part or element of Christian belief and practice that concerns the preparation for, consciousness of, and the effect of what the mystics themselves have described as a direct and transformative presence of God. (xiv)
He emphasizes consciousness over experience because consciousness suggests new ways of knowing, being, and doing, as a result of a direct encounter with the presence of God. Further, the test of a mystic is whether they truly live out this consciousness.
This definition made me think of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. If an encounter with God results in a transformed consciousness, shouldn’t we all be mystics?
Just a thought.