Thank you all for the very informative posts and links. I will be following up with some study on my own to understand this more clear.

God bless


I just noticed that you are a Lutheran, Rita :slight_smile: This is quite providential, or rather useful, since Lutheranism - along with Anglicanism - remains one of only two denominations in Protestantism to have retained some vestige of the mystical tradition inherent within medieval Catholicism.

Martin Luther, the founder of your denomination, was heavily influenced by the Theologia Germanica, a 14th century book summarizing in simple language the spiritual insights of the great masters of Rhineland mysticism: Meister Eckhart, Johannes Tauler, Blessed Henry Suso and Blessed John of Ruysbroeck:

Theologia Germanica, also known as Theologia Deutsch or Teutsch, or as Der Franckforter, is a mystical treatise believed to have been written in the later 14th century1] by an anonymous author…

Martin Luther produced a partial edition first in 1516. At that time Luther thought the work might have been written by John Tauler…Luther found much that was congenial to him in this late medieval text…B]Luther wrote,

Next to the Bible and St. Augustine, no book has ever come into my hands from which I have learned more of God and Christ, and man and all things that are


Theologia Germanica gained immense cachet in the Radical Reformation, and in later Lutheran and of Pietism traditions.

A small number of mystics, genuine and at times very profound mystics, arose from the Lutheran fold, inspired by the Theologia Germanica due to the fact that Luther rated it so highly.

The two most prominent Lutheran mystics were:

Jakob Böhme (/ˈbeɪmə, ˈboʊ-/;[1] 1575 – November 17, 1624) was a German Christian mystic and theologian. He is considered an original thinker within the Lutheran tradition, and his first book, commonly known as Aurora, caused a great scandal

Johann Arndt (or Arnd; 27 December 1555 – 11 May 1621) was a German Lutheran theologian who wrote several influential books of devotional Christianity. Although reflective of the period of Lutheran Orthodoxy, he is seen as a forerunner of pietism, a movement within Lutheranism that gained strength in the late 17th century.

There was a third, Johannes Scheffler but he actually converted to Catholicism and became a Franciscan friar under the name Angelus Silesius because the Orthodox Lutheranism of his time was becoming increasingly hostile to mysticism, given its association with Catholicism and sacramentalism. His mystical teachings were embraced by the Catholic Church:

Angelus Silesius (/ˈændʒələs saɪˈliːʒəs/) or Johann Angelus Silesius (born: Johann Scheffler; bapt. 25 December 1624 – 9 July 1677) was a German Catholic priest and physician, known as a mystic and religious poet. Born and raised a Lutheran, he adopted the name Angelus (from the Greek ἄγγελος, ángelos for “messenger”) and the surname Silesius (from the Latin for “Silesian”) on converting to Catholicism in 1653.[1] While studying in the Netherlands, he began to read the works of medieval mystics and became acquainted with the works of the German mystic Jacob Böhme through Böhme’s friend, Abraham von Franckenberg.[2] Silesius’s mystical beliefs caused tension between him and Lutheran authorities and led to his eventual conversion to Catholicism. He took holy orders under the Franciscans and was ordained a priest in 1661. Ten years later, in 1671, he retired to a Jesuit house where he remained for the rest of his life.[1]

An enthusiastic convert and priest, Silesius worked to convince German Protestants in Silesia to return to the Roman Catholic Church

In the late 1650s, he sought permission (a nihil obstat or imprimatur) from Catholic authorities in Vienna and Breslau to begin publishing his poetry.[2] He had begun writing poetry at an early age, publishing a few occasional pieces when a schoolboy in 1641 and 1642.[4] He attempted to publish poetry while working for the Duke of Württemberg-Oels, but was refused permission by the Duke’s orthodox Lutheran court clergyman, Christoph Freitag. However, in 1657, after obtaining the approval of the Catholic Church, two collections of his poems were published

Silesius’s poetry directs the reader to seek a path toward a desired spiritual state, an eternal stillness, by eschewing material or physical needs and the human will. It requires an understanding of God that is informed by the ideas of apophatic theology and of antithesis and paradox.[10] Some of Silesius’s writings and beliefs that bordered on pantheism or panentheism caused tensions between Silesius and local Protestant authorities…

**His mysticism is informed by the influences of Böhme and Franckenberg as well as of prominent writers Meister Eckhart (1260–1327), Johannes Tauler (c. 1300–1361), Heinrich Suso (c. 1300–1366), and Jan van Ruysbroeck **(1293/4–1381).[4] Critic and literary theorist Georg Ellinger surmised in his study of Silesius that his poetry was influenced by loneliness (especially due to the death of his parents and becoming an orphan early in life), ungoverned impulsivity, and lack of personal fulfillment, rendering much of his poetry confessional and exhibiting internal psychological conflict.[11]

You can read quotations from his mystical poetry on wikiquote (which I put up a few years ago):

Thank you, Vouthon! I sometimes check in with a group of Lutheran Apologists on Facebook and want to run some of this by them. I appreciate everyone’s taking the time to share this info with me!

I think it is imperative that we all learn and understand from each other. Too many times we look at one’s denomination and our preconceived ideas/thoughts blind us to the person posting.

God bless you all!

Very true :thumbsup:

You may also wish to look at other orthodox Protestant mystics, for example in the Anglican tradition. These include the likes of Thomas Traherne and Henry Vaughan.

Evelyn Underhill, an Anglican mystic herself and one of the greatest scholars of Christian mysticism, wrote this excellent book back in 1911 that I would encourage you to read:

Evelyn Underhill (b. 6 Dec. 1875, d. 15 Jun 1941) was an English Anglo-Catholic writer who wrote extensively on Christian mysticism. A pacifist, novelist, and philosopher, she was widely read during the first half of the 20th century. This work, Mysticism, is not a textbook of the subject. She disagrees with William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience with his four-part division of the mystic state (ineffability, noetic quality, transcience, and passivity). She sees Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness as only the gateway to Unitative Living, about halfway there by her view (p. 193).

Underhill maps out her own view of the mystic’s journey into five parts: “Awakening of Self,” “Purgation of Self,” “Illumination,” “the Dark Night of the Soul,” and “the Unitative life.” Underhill is focussed on mysticism in Christianity but she also mentions Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other belief systems. This has long been considered a crucial work on the subject of Mysticism, and continues to guide seekers a century later.–J.B. Hare

This is a real classic, probably the best book ever written on Christian Mysticism. Underhill was an ‘Anglo-Catholic’ (High Church).

As I said, Lutheranism and Anglicanism are both wonderful in that they have retained significant elements of the mystical tradition, even if this is less visible or known today.

The Mystical City of God: Life of the Virgin Mother of God, manifested to Sister Mary of Jesus of Agreda:

Excerpt :

The dragon in agonizing efforts to escape,
said :open_mouth: Woman, give me leave to hurl myself into hell,
for I cannot bear thy presence, nor will I ever venture to
come before Thee as long as Thou livest upon this world.
Thou hast conquered, O Woman, Thou hast conquered,
and I acknowledge thy power in Him who has made
Thee his Mother. Omnipotent God, chastise us Thyself,
since we cannot resist Thee

but do not send thy punishments
through a Woman of a nature so inferior to ours.
Her charity consumes us, her humility crushes us, and
She is in all things a living manifestation of thy mercy
for men. This is a torment surpassing many others.
Assist me, ye demons! But alas, what can our united
efforts avail against this Woman, since all our power
cannot ever deliver us from her presence until She her
self casts us forth? O foolish children of Adam, who
follow me, forsaking life for the sake of death, truth or
falsehood? What absurdity and insanity
is yours, (so
in despair I must confess), since you have in your midst
and belonging to your own nature the incarnate Word
and this Woman ? Greater is your ingratitude than mine
and this Woman forces me to confess the truths, which
I abhor with all my heart. Cursed be my resolve to
persecute this Daughter of Adam, who so torments and
crushes me!

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