Archive for the ‘Meister Eckhart’ Tag

Feast of Blessed Henry Suso (March 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Henry Suso

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED HENRY SUSO (MARCH 21, 1295-JANUARY 25, 1366)

German Roman Catholic Mystic, Preacher, and Spiritual Writer

Born Heinrich von Berg

Alternative feast days = January 25 and March 2

Also known as Amandus and the Servant of the Eternal Wisdom

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Ah, gentle God, if Thou art so lovely in Thy creatures, how exceedingly beautiful and ravishing Thou must be in Thyself.

–Blessed Henry Suso, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 101

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Blessed Henry Suso comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), in which March 4 is his feast day.

Heinrich von Berg, born in Uberlingen, near Contance, on March 21, 1295, changed his life then preached the love of God.  Our saint, from German nobility, joined the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) at the age of 13 years.  Young Suso was obsessed with his salvation or damnation.  He mortified his flesh and reported terrifying visions of Hell.  Then our saint sought and received spiritual counsel from another Dominican, Meister Eckhart (1260-1329).  Under Eckhart’s guidance Suso stopped being self-centered spiritually, abandoned physical mortification, and focused on the salvation of other people.

The Dominican prior became an itinerant preacher in service to Christ, whom he called “Eternal Wisdom,” “a gentle loving mistress.”  Suso sought to bring people to God and to deepen their faith by focusing on divine love, not by scaring them.  He also wrote under the pseudonym “Amandus” and worked mainly in Switzerland and the Upper Rhine valley.

Suso was a good man, objectively.  He was also gentle and kind.  Nevertheless, he had to contend with false allegations, including poisoning someone, fathering the child of a woman he was counseling, and stealing.  Our saint spent time in prison on false charges.  Authorities ultimately exonerated him with each other, however.

The self-identified “Servant of Divine Wisdom,” aged 70 years, died in Ulm on January 25, 1366.

Pope Gregory XVI beatified Suso in 1831.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 14, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCINA THE ELDER, HER FAMILY, AND SAINT GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS THE YOUNGER

THE FEAST OF SAINT CAESARIUS OF ARLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND HIS SISTER, SAINT CAESARIA OF ARLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS

THE FEAST OF EIVIND JOSEF BERGGRAV, LUTHERAN BISHOP OF OSLO, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND LEADER OF THE NORWEGIAN RESISTANCE DURING WORLD WAR II

THE FEAST OF KRISTEN KVAMME, NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT SAVA I, FOUNDER OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND FIRST ARCHBISHOP OF SERBS

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Henry Suso,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 723

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Feast of Meister Eckhart (March 23)   1 comment

eckhart

Above:  Eckhart of Hochheim

Image in the Public Domain

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ECKHART OF HOCHHEIM (CIRCA 1260-1327/1328)

Roman Catholic Theologian and Mystic

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Do exactly what you would do if you felt most secure.

–Eckhart

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I conclude that certain ecclesiastical leaders chose to ignore that advice.

Eckhart, born at Hochheim, near Gotha, Turingia, Holy Roman Empire, circa 1260, was a mystic.  Like certain mystics before and after his time, he incurred the wrath of ecclesiastical authorities seeking to safeguard their power.

Eckhart joined the Order of Preachers, or the Dominicans, when he was what we would today call a teenager.  From 1293 to 1302 he studied theology at St. Jacques, Paris; he graduated as a master (meister).  Two years later he became the provincial minister of the order in Saxony.  From 1314 to 1322 our saint taught and preached in Strasbourg.  Next he preached in Cologne for years.  He was the most popular preacher in Germany.

In 1326, however, the charge of heresy fell upon Eckhart.  His theology, though, was fairly orthodox.  One of the influences on Eckhart’s theology was St. Thomas Aquinas (canonized in 1323), his favorite author.  Another major influence on Eckhart’s theology was St. Augustine of Hippo.  Eckhart’s main doctrine was the birth of God the Son (Christ) in the soul, signifying the mystical union of the divine and the human.  This union, he wrote, was the highest human goal and occurred via a union of wills.  This union of wills came about via grace, not human merit.  He always affirmed the necessity of the Church and of the sacraments.  Furthermore, in true orthodox fashion, Eckhart argued that rituals and good works were spiritually useful only when one was inclined toward God.

So what did Eckhart allegedly do wrong?  He wrote and uttered statements that seemed to undermine the authority of the Church.

Seek God and you shall find him.  Indeed, with such an attitude, you might step on a stone and it would be a more pious act than to receive the body of our Lord, thinking of yourself.

–Eckhart

That statement is orthodox, is it not?  Anyhow, Eckhart’s use of Neoplatonist language (He was in the vein of St. Thomas Aquinas, recently canonized.) opened him up to false allegations of pantheism.  He was really in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Holy Mother Church pressured Eckhart into recanting the allegedly heretical propositions in 1327.  On March 29, 1329, Pope John XXII issued a bull (an appropriate term for the document) condemning those 28 propositions and mentioning Eckhart as being deceased.  Our saint had died in the good graces of the Church, which had abused him.

You may call God love, you may call God goodness.  But the best name for God is compassion.

–Eckhart

Pope John XXII and others who condemned Eckhart should have paid attention to that piece of wisdom.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ALBERT THE GREAT AND THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS

THE FEAST OF CHARLES KINGSLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, NOVELIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Almighty God, you gave to your servant Meister Eckhart

special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus:

Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God,

and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent;  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 721

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