Tag: mystical theology

  • Unspeakably Speaking

    Eastern Orthodoxy commonly describes its theology as “apophatic.” The word means, “Unspeakable.” It is perhaps the most important point within Orthodox thought: when speaking of God, we are always saying things that cannot be said. It does not mean that nothing should be said (though this is often a good idea). It means that no…

  • The Final Destruction of Demons

    Final is not a word you often hear in Christian teaching. Most Christians leave the final things until, well, the End. But this is not the language of the fathers nor of the Church. A good illustration can be found in the Orthodox service of Holy Baptism. During the blessing of the waters the priest…

  • The Mystery of the Forerunner

    There is a unanimous witness in the Christian gospels concerning the place of St. John the Baptist. In the Orthodox world he is generally referred to as the Forerunner. All of the gospels agree that he plays a key role in the coming of the Messiah. It is a role that is largely ignored by…

  • Life in a Sacramental World

    At the ordination of a priest, the consecrated Body of Christ is placed in his hands. He is told to “Guard this!” until the coming of Christ. It is a very solemn moment – the beginning of a lifetime in which a man’s relationship to bread will never be the same. It is also something…

  • Unshakeable Reality

    In his novel, The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis imagines a bus-load of people who travel from “hell” to “heaven.” Their trip takes them from a place described as “gray,” and ghost-like in its not-so-solid existence. Heaven, on the other hand, is quite solid. The day-trippers find the most immediate difficulty of their journey to be…

  • The Mystery, Upborne, Fulfilled

    Orthodoxy has a number of “favorite” words – all of which fall outside the bounds of normal speech. Though we commonly use the word “mystery” (for example), popular speech never uses it in the manner of the Church. I cannot remember using the word “fullness,” or even “fulfilled,” in normal speech. More contemporary words have…

  • The Presence in the Absence

    Since I’ve started the topic of mystical knowledge of God, I thought to repost this from 2010. I was reminded of it by a wonderful reflection by Jan Bear on OCN  – an enjoyable read. There is a strange aspect to the presence of God in the world around us. That aspect is His apparent…

  • To Know What You Cannot Know

    You cannot know God – but you have to know Him to know that. – Fr. Thomas Hopko +++ This small quote from Fr. Thomas has stayed with me since I first heard it. It says so much by saying so little. I find two groups of people increasingly common in my conversations – those…


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  1. What does it mean to “experience God”? I think 1 Corinthians 2 is sorely overlooked in thinking about this question:…

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