The Stages of Christian Mysticism – a Summary

The Lord calls some people to a special life of contemplation that frequently includes mystical encounters with Him.

Much of the time this takes the form of a call to monastic life – though not necessarily. Such a life requires great humility, discipline, and commitment to prayer, and in many cases, such as those of St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, it is a call to mystical surrender.

The three major stages of mystical life – the purgative, illuminative, and unitive – are described in detail by these two authors as well as contemporary mystics and scholars of mystical life.

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