I was recently discussing in another thread here about the relationship between Mysticism and Faith. I think the subject deserves its own thread, and I would like to start a more extensive discussion on this.
Here are a bunch of questions that this thread aims to investigate:
- How is mysticism related to faith?
- Does mystical experience lead to greater faith?
- Is mystical experience necessary to give rise to faith?
- If the answer to (3) is a no, then what gives rise to faith?
Personally, I see faith as one’s personal response and acceptance of God’s revelation. I pretty much agree with the view summed up by Vladimir Lossky in the first chapter of this book called “Faith and Theology”: https://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Vladimir_Losskij/orthodox-theology-an-introduction/#0_3
Outside of faith, theology has no sense: it can only be based on interior evidence of the truth in the Spirit, on the teaching of the truth by the truth itself. The regula fidei is the first actuation of this evidence. It is this interior evidence that is stressed by St. Augustine in his treatise on the biterior Master: I have spoken to all. However, those in whom anointing does not speak, those who are not taught inwardly by the Holy Spirit always departed indocti. “The flesh of Him Who teaches is found in the heavens: I speak of the Lord. . …” “Only the action of Christ in the heart allows the heart not to remain in solitude. Only the Interior Master teaches. Where His anointing is absent, external words assail the ears to no purpose.”
So I agree with the view that faith is this “interior evidence” of the truth of Revelation. As such, I see that a minimum of mystical experience is absolutely necessary for someone to come to faith. I don’t mean that one must engage in contemplative prayer and such - no - but rather that a minimum of mystical experience through the Holy Spirit is necessary.
I’m open to hear other views and to be corrected if necessary!