Medieval Mystics Themes

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Many medieval mystics describe a dramatic personal experience in which they are first awakened to the full reality of the divine life. Once the experience has occurred, the mystic is never the same again. He or she has been allowed to experience, as a matter of direct cognition rather than intellectual speculation, the ultimate reality of life, its spiritual essence. After this experience, the mystic can never go back to the old way of understanding, and they may also find that the direction and purpose of their life is dramatically altered.

Sometimes the experience of awakening comes spontaneously and unsought; at other times it represents a deepening of a religious life already chosen. An example of the first category is Catherine of Genoa, who had no interest in the religious life until the age of twenty-six. At that time, as it is recorded in her biography, written by...

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This section contains 1,591 words
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Literary Movements for Students
Medieval Mystics from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.