The Case for Everyday Mysticism
By Amanda Hudson
Saw a quote recently from theologian, Karl Rahner, who said, “The Christian of the future will be a mystic, or he/she will cease to be anything at all.”
In general, we Catholics could benefit from a healthy dose of mysticism. The Church is more than how we typically experience it — much more than its organizational parts and personalities, rules and regulations, buildings and fundraisers.
The Eucharist is solidly mystical — but we know that the bulk of Catholics miss that unitive understanding and many now see the host as a representation of Christ’s body — not His actual body.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of mysticism is: “1: the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics. 2: the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (such as intuition or insight).”
Have you ever felt a touch that seemed to come from God? Perhaps you noticed that all kinds of pieces of life suddenly fell into place so you could do what you suspected God wanted you to do? Or maybe you felt strongly encouraged and empowered to turn away from a destructive path that beckoned, or niggled to stop watching a program that only later you realized was dragging you into a darkness of mind and soul.
Rahner and others have spoken of an everyday mysticism that many, if not most, people have experienced during their lives.
Those often-sudden moments of connection with God can help us in huge ways. I’ve read and heard stories from many people whose sinful lives were turned around, while others were greatly strengthened in their attempts to follow Christ. Our local rescue mission shelter has no lack of stories of powerful changes made by residents who discovered God and His immense love for each individual soul — including them.
Encounters with God can be quite cosmic as witnessed by some of the saints of our Church — but also by regular folks, including some people we know. But most of these occasions of connection with God are unusual in a plainer way. They leave us feeling that the mystical moment was somehow more “real” and “normal” than our typical day-to-day walking around.
Such encounters can be short in length — like the “aha!” insights of some who are called to a particular vocation. Our own seminarians and priests can tell us a good story or two when God made Himself present to them in some mystical way.
Such meetings can be longer, like one day back in college when it felt like God had His elbow in my ribs as He pointed out this person and that bird and those plants that He had created and delighted in. His sense of humor was quite evident in some of what He (and I) enjoyed that day.
The troubles and fears and responsibilities and challenges we face in life can pile up and rob us of the openness of spirit that welcomes God whenever He wants to check in with us in a slightly-different way. We can find ourselves forcing our prayers into our days, checking off our daily list of wordy petitions or devotions. Such vocal prayers are good, of course, but they can overwhelm us when we have to wedge them in among a bunch of obligations of life. We gain discipline, which is great except when we lose our ability for everyday encounters with our wonderful, personal, gentle and loving God Himself.
Perhaps this Lent we can take some time to remember our own “God moments” of the past.  Maybe we can turn off the radio or television or phone for a bit and center down into our souls and ask God to be with us — and then just listen.
Rahner had a prayer we might enjoy: “Thanks to your mercy, O Infinite God, I know something about You not only through concepts and words, but through experience. I have met You in joy and suffering. For You are the first and last experience of my life. Yes, really You Yourself, not just a concept of You, not just the name which we ourselves have given You!” 
Blessed Lent!