It is my privilege to welcome Connie Rossini as my guest blogger today. Connie is a homeschooling Mom of four boys, a Lay Carmelite and a gifted writer and author who hails from Minnesota.. You will want to visit her blog regularly:
What is a Mystic?
by Connie Rossini
The word mystic presents a similar problem as the word contemplation. It's not particular to Catholics, or even Christians. And among Catholics, mystic is understood in different senses. What does it mean to be a mystic, according to the Catholic Church? How did the Carmelite saints view mysticism? Is mysticism for a chosen few, or for everyone?
First, let's look at the history of the word mystic. Mystic comes from a Greek root meaning "hidden" or "concealed." In the rime of Christ and the early Church, many people in Eastern Europe, which was then under the influence of Hellenistic (Greek) culture, practiced mystery religions. Practitioners were initiated into spiritual secrets through private rites.
Early Christians adopted the word mystical to refer to the Eucharist, and the Greek culture influenced the development of the liturgy. When converts were preparing to enter the Church, they left Mass before the Eucharistic prayer. They did not observe the consecration until they were baptized and ready to receive Communion themselves.
This practice has changed only in the past several decades. Last week, catechumens were admitted to the Eucharist for the first time, at the Easter Vigil Mass. But, as we know, they were welcome to attend the entire Mass before their initiation was complete, even though they could not yet receive the Sacrament.
In popular parlance, a mystic is someone who experiences supernatural communication with God (or a pagan deity, etc.) through visions, locutions, or altered states of consciousness. So, if we hear that a woman is a mystic, we might suspect she is receiving private revelations. When non-Christians hear the word mystic, they may think of a Buddhist monk in meditation.
Continue reading at Connie's blog Contemplative Homeschool.