This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Mystery and mysticism

We explained elsewhere that the term mysterion is used in three ways in the Christian tradition: first to describe the knowledge or doctrine maintained by the Church—it’s mystery-truth; second to describe the sacramental life maintained and performed—its mystery-life; finally we must clarify the third use of the term, equally valid but relating to the inner question of spiritual development and the personal experience of the Christian union with Christ: the mystery-way. This last usage is what we should understand when certain saints are termed ‘mystics’ and when we encounter the term ‘mystical,’ or mystery as an adjective.

Here again, just as with the title ‘Christian,’ it is really more a matter of recovering the true meaning of a word that has been rendered meaningless over the centuries, such that what was once profound and precise is now vague and superficial.

We can begin with the Greek mystikos, which means simply, ‘relating to the mysteries’ and is itself derived from the verb mueo, meaning ‘to initiate into the mysteries.’

To be more precise and to connect this with the Christian context, that which is qualified by the adjective mystical is a thing pertaining to initiation into the mystery of Christ, and the mystic should be understood as one who has achieved a very advanced knowledge of this mystery or, to put it another way, as one who has experienced union with Him.

If we grant this, then could we not say without much exaggeration that mysticism = esoterism?

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