Christian Mysticism Quotes

There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with GOD: those only can comprehend it who practise and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive; it is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because GOD would have us.
    Were I a preacher, I should above all other things preach the practice of the presence of GOD; and were I a director, I should advise all the world to do it: so necessary do I think it, and so easy too.

Brother Lawrence (The Practice of The Presence of God - 5th Letter)

I see without eyes, and I hear without ears. I feel without feeling and taste without tasting. I know neither form nor measure; for without seeing I yet behold an operation so divine that the words I first used, perfection, purity, and the like, seem to me now mere lies in the presence of truth. . . . Nor can I any longer say, “My God, my all.” Everything is mine, for all that is God’s seem to be wholly mine. I am mute and lost in God...God so transforms the soul in Him that it knows nothing other than God; and He continues to draw it up into His fiery love until He restores it to that pure state from which it first issued.

St. Catherine of Genoa (Life and Doctrine - Chapter 9, 1551)

Keep constant, O blessed Soul, keep constant; for it will not be as thou imaginest, nor art thou at any time nearer to God, than in such cases of desertion; for although the Sun is hid in the Clouds, yet it changes not its place, nor a jot the more loses its brightness. The Lord permits this painful desertion in thy Soul, to purge and polish thee, to cleanse thee and dis-robe thee of thy self; and that thou mayest in this manner be all his, and give thy self wholly up to him, as his infinite Bounty is intirely given to thee, that thou mayest be his delight; for although thou dost groan, and lament, and weep, yet he is joyful and glad in the most secret and hidden place of thy Soul.

Miguel de Molinos (The Spiritual Guide - Book 3: Chapter 4, 1675)

A Christian is he who lives in Christ, and in whom Christ's power is active. He must feel the divine fire of love burn in his heart. This fire is the Spirit of Christ, who continually crushes the head of the serpent, meaning the desires of the flesh. The flesh is governed by the will of the world; but the spiritual fire in man is kindled by the Spirit. He who wants to become a Christian must not boast and say: 'I am a Christian!' but he should desire to become one, and prepare all the conditions necessary that the Christ may live in him. Such a Christian will perhaps be hated and persecuted by the nominal Christians of his time; but he must bear his cross, and thereby he will become strong.

Jakob Böhme

How wonderful
is the wisdom
in the God-head's heart.
It is the heart that sees
the primordial eternity
of every creature.
When God gazes upon the countenance
of humankind,
the face that he moulded,
he contemplates this creation
in its entirety,
its totality in this human form.
How wonderful is this breath then,
this breath that awakened humankind.

Hildegard of Bingen (Symphonia Caelestium)

The soul has a hidden abyss,
untouched by time and space,
which is far superior to anything
that gives life and movement to the body.
Into this noble and wondrous ground,
this secret realm,
there descends that bliss of which we have spoken.
Here the soul has its eternal abode.
Here a man becomes so still and essential,
so single-minded and withdrawn,
so raised up in purity,
and more and more removed from all things. . . .
  This state of the soul cannot be compared to what it has been before,
for now it is granted to share in the divine life

Johannes Tauler

Just as, in the case of the sunlight, on one who has never from the day of his birth seen it, all efforts at translating it into words are quite thrown away; you cannot make the splendour of the ray shine through his ears; in like manner, to see the beauty of the true and intellectual light, each man has need of eyes of his own; and he who by a gift of Divine inspiration can see it retains his ecstasy unexpressed in the depths of his consciousness; while he who sees it not cannot be made to know even the greatness of his loss. How should he? This good escapes his perception, and it cannot be represented to him; it is unspeakable, and cannot be delineated. We have not learned the peculiar language expressive of this beauty. … What words could be invented to show the greatness of this loss to him who suffers it?

Gregory of Nyssa (On Virginity - Chapter 10)

But I would not and I could not tell you all. Some things lose their fragrance when exposed to the air, and so, too, one's inmost thoughts cannot be translated into earthly words without instantly losing their deep and heavenly meaning. How sweet was the first embrace of Jesus! It was indeed an embrace of love. I felt that I was loved, and I said: "I love Thee, and I give myself to Thee for ever." Jesus asked nothing of me, and claimed no sacrifice; for a long time He and little Thérèse had known and understood one another. That day our meeting was more than simple recognition, it was perfect union. We were no longer two. Thérèse had disappeared like a drop of water lost in the immensity of the ocean; Jesus alone remained—He was the Master, the King! Had not Thérèse asked Him to take away her liberty which frightened her? She felt herself so weak and frail, that she wished to be for ever united to the Divine Strength.

Thérèse of Lisieux (Story of a Soul - Chapter IV: First Communion and Confirmation, 1897)

This divine knowledge of God never deals with particular things. This sublime knowledge can be received only by a person who has arrived at union with God, for it is itself that very union. It consists in a certain touch of the divinity produced in the soul, and thus it is God Himself who is experienced and tasted there… This knowledge savors of the divine essence and of eternal life. They are so sensible that they sometimes cause not only the soul but also the body to tremble. Yet at other times with a sudden feeling of spiritual delight and refreshment, and without any trembling, they occur very tranquilly in the spirit. Since this knowledge is imparted to thesoul suddenly, without exercise of free will, a person does not have to be concerned about desiring it or not. He should simply remain humble and resigned about it, for God will do His work at the time and in the manner he wishes. God does not bestow these favors on a possessive soul, since He gives them out of a very special love for the recipient. For the individual receiving them is one who loves God with great detachment.

John of the Cross (Ascent of Mount Carmel - Book II, Chapter 26)

A Seeker's Thoughts on Christian Mysticism
The defining characteristic of the “Christian mystics” was and is undeniably the power of their prayers, not that the Sufi mystics did not pray, oh dear lord did they pray. But the prayer of their Christian brethren and counterparts had in a subtle way a different quality to it. The words in the prayers were a little different; and the object of focus and of contemplation was distinctive too, though they in truth never differed one inch when it came right down to the mystical experience.

(excerpt from Who's Who in the Mystics Zoo)