Skip to main content

Mystical Union

MYSTICAL UNION

Mystical union may be described as the relationship between a person and God in the highest degrees of the mystical life. Ordinarily, mystical union is said to have three stages: prayer of union, prayer of ecstatic union, and prayer of transforming union (mystical marriage).

In the prayer of union the soul is deeply aware of God's presence. All the internal powers of the soul, including the memory and imagination, are captivated and occupied with God. This union, usually of short duration, is marked by the absence of distractions, and the certainty of being deeply united to God.

The prayer of ecstatic union differs from the prayer of union in that the external senses are also suspended or captivated. As the intensity of the mystical union grows, it becomes so great that the body cannot withstand it and so falls into ecstasy. In this union the Holy Spirit, acting through His gifts, so intimately and ardently unites the soul to God that the natural weakness of the subject cannot withstand the intensity of the light and love communicated. The soul falls into ecstasy, and this causes the body to experience an alienation of the senses.

In the prayer of transforming union (mystical marriage) there is a complete transformation of the soul into the Beloved. God gives Himself to the soul and the soul gives itself to God in a certain consummation of divine love, so that the soul shares in God's life as fully as is possible in this life. This union is more or less permanent; the soul is more conscious than ever of the Blessed Trinity. The soul is absorbed in seeking the honor of God, eagerly desiring to undertake anything or suffer anything that God may will.

Bibliography: teresa of avila, Interior Castle; in Complete Works, ed. silverio de santa teresa and e. a. peers, 3 v. (New York 1946) v. 2. john of the cross, The Living Flame of Love, tr. d. lewis (New York 1912). a. royo, The Theology of Christian Perfection, tr. and ed. j. aumann (Dubuque 1962).

[n. lohkamp]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mystical Union." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mystical Union." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mystical-union

"Mystical Union." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mystical-union

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.