Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mystical Experiences


Suddenly there's God! On a recent early morning trip this is the sight that literally stopped me as I came over a mountain and saw a valley shrouded with fog. I pulled off the road and tried to get a picture of it. The nearby hills, dark in the picture, were at their peak of fall color.
Experiences like this take me immediately into God. This is what I think of as a "mystical experience," an awareness of God's presence and love, often sparked for me by some natual beauty.
I wonder if this isn't what Karl Rahner was talking about when he said that the contemporary Christian will be a mystic or nothing at all. As explicit supports for religion fade away in our society, it helps to become sensitive to the many ways that God shows Godself in ordinary life. This leads us also to find God in the values of our so-called "secular society."
In a very helpful article in the October 7 issue of "Commonweal" titled "Nearer to God:Demystifying Mysticism," Lawrence S. Cunningham points out that "Rahner believed that God's self-communication was at the heart of human experience." To me that means that the direct sense of God's presence and love is not something reserved for religious experts or even for just plain old religious folks. It is available to every human being. I think this is what Rahner means by "everyday mystic."

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