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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/731

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MYSTICISM


665


MYTHOLOGY


more truth and perfection than we can ever acquire through the knowledge of created things. We realize that God alone is the end of man, that in the posses- sion of God alone we can reach the satisfaction of our aspirations. Cf.S. Thorn., Theol., I, Q. ii, a. 1, ad 1"™; Q.xii, a. 1;Q. xliv, a.4, ad3um; I-II, Q.iii, a. 8; "Con- tra Gentes", III, cc. i, xxv, 1; "De Veritate", Q. xxii, a. 2; "Compend. Theologiae", 104, etc. Cf. Sestili, "De naturali intelligentis animae appetitu intuendi divinam essentiam", Rome, 1896. But the rational effort of our intelligence and positive aspirations of our will find here their limits. Is there truly possible a union of our reason and will with God more inti- mate than that which we possess through created things? Can we expect more than a knowledge of God by analogical concepts and more than the beati- tude proportionate to that knowledge? Here human reason cannot answer. But where reason was power- less, philosophers gave way to feeling and imagination. They dreamt of an intuition of the Divinity, of a di- rect contemplation and immediate possession of God. They imagined a notion of the universe and of human nature that would make possible such a union. They built systems in which the world and the human soul were considered as an emanation or part of the Divin- ity, or at least as containing something of the Divine essence and Divine ideas. The logical outcome was Pantheism.

This result was a clear evidence of error at the starting-point. The Catholic Church, as guardian of Christian doctrine, through her teaching and theolo- gians, gave the solution of the problem. She asserted the limits of human reason: the human soul has a naturalcapacity (potera(ia obedieTitialis), hut no exigency and no positive ability to reach God otherwise than hy analogical knowledge. She condemned the immedi- ate vision of the Beghards and Beguines (cf . Denzinger-


Bannwart, "Enchiridion", nn. 474-5), the pseudo- Mysticism of Eckhart (ibid., nn. 501-29), and Molinos (ibid., nn. 2121-88), the theories of the Ontologists (ibid., nn. 1659-65, 1891-19.30), and Pantheism under all its forms (ibid., nn. 1801-5), as well as the vital Immanence and religious experience of the Modern- ists (ibid., nn. 2071-109). But she teaches that, what man cannot know by natural reason, he can know through revelation and faith; that what he can- not attain to by his natural power he can reach by the grace of God. God has gratuitously elevated human nature to a supernatural state. He has assigned as its ultimate end the direct vision of Himself, the Beatific Vision. But this end can be reached only in the next life; in the present life we can but prepare ourselves for it with the aid of revelation and grace. To some souls, however, even in the present life, God gives a very special grace by which they are enabled to feel His sensible presence: this is true mystical contempla- tion. In this act, there is no annihilation or absorption of the creature into God, but God becomes intimately present to the created mind and this, enlightened by special illuminations, contemplates with ineffable joy the Divine essence.

Preoer, Gesch. der deulschen Mystik im Mittelalter (Leipzig, ISSl): SCHMID, Der Mysticismus in seiner Entstehungsperiode (Jena. 1824): GoRHEa, Die christl. Mystik (Ratisbon, 1836^2); Cousin. Histoire generate de la philosophie (Paris, 1863): Idem, Du Vrai, du Beau et du Bien (23rd ed., Paris, 1881), v; Gennari, Del falsa Misticismo (Rome, 1907): Delacroix, Essai sur le mysticisme spiiiilntif en Allemagne au xiv sihde (Paris, 1900); Ueberweg, Hist, of Philos., tr. Morris with additions by Porter (New York, 1894): De Wulf, Hist, de la Philos. medievale (Lou- vain, 1900); Turner, Hist, of Philos. (Boston, 1903).

George M. Sauvage. Mysticism, Theological. See Theology, Mys-

TICAI..

Mythology. See Paganism.