English Mystics of the Middle Ages
July 9, 16, & 23 at 11:45
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Los Gatos
For three Sundays this month, on July 9, 16, and 23, during Coffee Hour, Fr. Bill Stafford will treat us to another lecture series, this time focusing on four English mystics: Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich, and the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing.
England had a rich spiritual tradition in the High Middle Ages that came to fruit in the mystics of the fourteenth century. Richard Rolle taught thousands of men and women how to love God in ways that went beyond the normal round of church services, in heart’s warmth and song. Later the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing moved people’s hearts toward union with God in the darkness of intellect, moved only by love, in something very like modern “centering prayer.” Walter Hilton guided spiritual directees, including lay people, up the Ladder of Perfection into the prayer of union. Finally, Julian of Norwich shared her revelations of God’s love in Jesus and her theological wrestling with God, in a treatise lost until the twentieth century. They were very diverse; they did not all take the same road into God. Yet they all were faithful children of the Church in England, and all have claimed a place in the modern Anglican spiritual tradition. Fr. Bill has been studying them since his days as an undergraduate, and he looks forward to sharing them with anyone interested in classics of the spiritual tradition.