One of the last things we did at the seminar with Bernard McGinn this past weekend was read through and discuss Saint Francis of Assisi's poem and religious song Canticle of the Sun. McGinn considers this to be a very mystical text from Francis, as Francis seems to see God powerfully in and throughout the whole of creation, including in the sun, moon, stars, Earth, etc. McGinn noted that it is a kind of nature mysticism. Francis wrote most of it in the year 1224, and the last few lines in 1226 just before his death.
Many mystical paths in the world's spiritual traditions claim to lead one to a conscious merging, union, and a direct identification with Deity, the Sacred, Reality, the Universe, the Transcendent, with a first-hand experience of being God.
How should I say what is infinitely ineffable?
Deep within me a thousand sweet breaths of Silence cover my lips and say— "Be Still."
A short poem.
As I was studying the works of St. Teresa of Avila, I came across a poem that is attributed to her, but apparently is not found in her writings. It seems to be a modern pseudepigraph. Even so, I thought it was beautiful. It is called Christ Has No Body.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was a noted poet, essayist, and journalist, perhaps best known for his collection of poems titled Leaves of Grass. He wrote of divine experiences on several occasions in his poems.
We awaken in Christ’s body as Christ awakens our bodies, and my poor hand is Christ, He enters my foot, and is infinitely me.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Bengali author, poet, essayist, playwright, novelist, composer, and painter. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, the first non-European to do so. He recounted the following experience that he had while in Calcutta, India.
I am not my body. I am not my thoughts. I am not my mind. I am not my brain...