June 14, 2013

Mystic on the Water

O God, Origin, Sustainer, and End of all your creatures: Grant that your Church, taught by your servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by your power, and guided by your Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to you all glory and thanksgiving and attain with your saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have promised by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Evelyn Underhill's biography reveals an unlikely candidate for mysticism — at least as our prejudices would construct that vocation. We image the mystics (some of us do it with icons!) as desert ascetics, cloth-draped monastics, anchorites, hermits. Surely that is part of the tradition. But it is that very temptation to categorize that Evelyn sought to upset by her teaching along the lines of the children's hymn for All Saints’ Day. From her perspective, a deeply personal one, she knew you could meet them in shops or at tea — or in Florentine museums, or on her father’s yacht. So here is a mystic not in sackcloth, but with a string of pearls. God bless her witness that the grace of God inbreaks for all who seek that mystic sweet communion, wherever, whenever, as the Ground of All Being is always present and ready to embrace the Beloved.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


June Butler said...

Lovely icon of a lovely woman, Tobias. I think of her words:

"God is always coming to you in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. Meet and receive Him there with gratitude in that sacrament."

The wisdom of practical mystics is much needed in every age. I think of Brother Lawrence who said that God was no more present to him when he was in adoration in the chapel than when he was bustling about in his kitchen.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks, Mimi. Thank God for the Saints of the Everyday! Lawrence is one of my favorites --- and I often think of him when doing the dishes or gardening...

Unknown said...

Dear Tobias Stanslas Haller BSG
I am a Verger in a small Norman Church in West Sussex, England. A totally practical job for a retired Chartered Structural Engineer
It is an Anglican Church, full of local village people, I love it.
For 30 Years I have evolved into what I call 'a Christian mystic' note small m.
I go on silent residential retreats two or three times a year to keep me on the right track.
10 years ago I discovered Evelyn Underhill .Read and reread all her major books and 4 biographies . she endorsed what had happened to me.
I have given a talk about Mysticism and Evelyn in my Church after which, just last year, I went on a very strenuous Directed Retreat at Pleshey house Chelmsford, Seeking direction.
This is where Evelyn Underhill started Retreats for Lay People..
Since then I have published three booklets:- Anglican Mysticism,Evelyn Underhill and Practical Mysticism. .
Various Biographers( theologians all and obviously still existant,) our local Bishops and Clergy non of them have been harsh with criticism
.Only a dear friend who is an Evangelical Christian said 'Its not Christian but I know where your coming from. We are still friends
I give the booklets away.
So if you are interested I will send you a couple of copies
Just send me an address where you can receive them
My E-mail is manatporch@gmail.com
I write under the name 'Man at the Porch' being the Verger.
God Bless You
Christopher Weymouth.