Ts025 – Mysticism: Bridge between East and West

Richard Cemus, SJ

Course Information

Professor: Richard Cemus, SJ,

Schedule: 2nd sem.


In an era like ours, tired of abstract concepts but desirous of personal experiences, an interest in mysticism is increasing. If in the East mysticism is a “constant attitude of prayer that through a supreme love takes the intelligence to intellectual heights” (Evagrius Ponticus), in th west Saint Ignatius of Loyola can declare that the objective of the Spiritual Exercises is “to see God in all things.” Karl Rahner prophetically expressed it thus: “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or won’t be at all.” To see God (theory, contemplation) requires conforming one’s life to the Gospel (praxis) since God reveals himself to the pure of heart. By an exceptional phenomenon, the need is brought to a new age, against its daily ordinariness, in the depth of Christian experience. Furthermore, if in the West there exists a mysticism without God, the East insists on the indissoluble link between theology and prayer, between mysticism and faith. Vladimir Lossky maintains that for the East theology is always prayer because it deals with the mystery of God.


Starting with a reading of Lossky’s book, the seminar will examine various directions of Eastern and Western mysticism, seeking an answer to the question whether Mysticism might aid the unity of Christians.


V. R. Lossky. Teologia mistica della Chiesa del Oriente. 1967.