‘WHAT DOES MYSTICISM HAVE TO DO WITH SOCIAL JUSTICE?’
AbstractMysticism, understood as profound experience of the Divine, is not world-denying but has important implications for the ways persons respond to their social and political contexts. The meaning of mysticism is briefly traced from the patristic era to the 20th century. The central argument of the article is that the Incarnation, a core Christian belief, provides the theological foundation for the unity of prayer and commitment to social justice. This is made evident in the lives of Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), Carmelite reformer, Dorothy Day (1897-1980), co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, and Thomas Merton (1915-1968), monk and social critic. Their insights demonstrate that mysticism has important social ramifications.
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