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Richard Hooker and Mysticism

Egil Grislis


As the judicious Richard Hooker celebrated divine revelation as well as law and reason, so too his emphasis on a mystical union with Christ, personally experienced and ecclesially oriented, serves to enrich the spiritual life of the church. Hooker concentrates on gradual growth in holiness rather than individual ecstatic experiences. Union with Christ is experienced rationally in an ecclesial context, and unitive individual prayers are perfected within the experience of the church's solemn common prayer. Thoughtful composition, rather than "effusions of undigested prayers," should be the norm. Equally significant is Hooker's attention to the sacraments as effective "moral instruments." Baptism incorporates the baptized into Christ, and the eucharist is instrumental in the "transmutation" of the souls of the participating believers. Throughout his mystical concerns, Hooker reflects an intense awareness of both being in the presence of God and sharing God's very life.

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