Sunday, October 1, 2017

Activist Mystics

From The Plough:
Along with other thirteenth-century Beguines and former Beguines, such as Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch of Antwerp,4 and Beatrice of Nazareth, Porete wrote in a variety of literary genres. These women developed a theological aesthetics grounded in love. Their mystical writings, like the Song of Songs, depict a spirituality of the bridal chamber. Theirs is a spirituality of complete abandonment: love serves as both their way of knowing and their way of acting. This love appears in the world as care for the poor. They understand God by forsaking understanding. They transcend the idea of ascent to God by degrees, instead uniting themselves to him directly through love. They take Augustine’s “Love God and do what you will” seriously – which is what alarmed the ecclesiastical authorities of their times. As Hans Urs von Balthasar observes, “Lovers are the ones who know most about God; the theologian must listen to them.”5 Unfortunately, the theologians of the medieval period did not tend to be big listeners, especially with regard to women. (Read more.)

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