Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Because of Catholic Mysticism

Did you ever see the movie Field of Dreams? I ask this only because I realize that this movie hit the theaters 22 years ago come April. In a way, this modern classic is about mysticism. And when I was reading Algar Thorold's essay on Catholic Mysticism, I was reminded of one of the final scenes in the movie.

This scene is like a conversation between two mystics. Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, heard a voice in his corn field, and then had visions and went on a quest which led him to an author he respected from his college years named Terrance Mann. Mann too heard a voice when Ray took him to a baseball game, and the two of them went on a journey together wondering where it would lead.

In the clip below Ray and Terrence, played by James Earl Jones, discuss Mann's being invited into the corn by the long deceased Shoeless Joe Jackson. Have a look (please excuse any commercials),

Some viewers think that the character of Mann must leave the world behind when he enters the corn field at the invitation of Shoeless Joe Jackson, never to return. But that misses the point of the conversation between Ray and Terrence, as Terrence promises Ray that he will write of his experience.

That is what the great Catholic Mystics have done for us all. They have seen a glimpse of Heaven and have lived to tell us about it. From St. Catherine of Siena's Dialogues, to the Ascent of Mount Carmel of St. John of the Cross; From St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle to St. Faustina's vision of the Divine Mercy; St. Catherine of Genoa's visions of Purgatory to the visions of Meister Eckhart, the great preacher of the Dominican Order.

And where did these Catholic mystics experiences lead them? Straight into the arms of Christ, and thus unto our Triune God. Which is where their experiences will lead you as well.

You don't have to believe the private revelations of Catholic mystics in order to be saved. But like my friend John C.H. Wu said,

It is most gratifying to see the importance of the mystical element in religion is being more and more recognized in the West. It is to be hoped that the mysticism of the saints will gradually leaven the whole lump of Christendom.