Prayer is something that people of all religious traditions understand as a necessary component of holy living. And yet somehow, the mystical path is often seen as accessible only to those in religious life, especially members of cloistered or monastic communities.
Drawing upon Sts. Francis, Clare, Anthony, and Bonaventure and others Friar Richard Rohr explores the Franciscan genius that spawned a strain of mysticism characterized by an overreaching wonder at the mystery of the Incarnation, which is grounded in nature, animals, the poor, the outsider, contemplation, joyfulness, and a cosmic sense of Christ. He points to St. Francis' detachment of self; imperfection, not perfection, as the entry way to God; the focus on prayer as experiential; and mind, body, and soul as intimately connected and holy.
St. Anthony Messenger Magazine asked Friar Richard the following questions:
Q. Let's start at the beginning. What is mysticism?
A: To make it simple, it really means"experiential." And when you have a real experience, it's high-level. when most people hear the word mystical, they think it means impossible for most of us, or distant, or only capable to those who are ascetical for 25 years or something like that. Actually, in my judgement. it simply means experiential knowledge of God, instead of merely mental or cognitive knowledge of god.
(to be continued)