Saturday, October 20, 2007

Meister Eckhart, OP (The Catholic Church moves slowly but it always moves forward)

"Seek God and you shall find Him and all good with 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."
~ Meister Eckhart

Mesiter Echart (1260-1368), also known as Eckhart von Hochheim or Johannes Eckhart, was a thirteenth century Catholic mystic and theologian who gained notoriety for his sermons during a period of chaotic competition between religious orders and Inquisitions. He was born near Erfurt in Thuringia, and in adulthood became a Professor of Theology and took a leading pastoral and organisational role in the Dominican Order in Germany.

Axiomatic in Eckhart's central message is the relationship of God to the soul and to all of creation. Unfortunately, because he used symbolic and metaphorical language only the spiritually advanced could understand, Eckhart developed oppugnant detractors who tried to discredit his believes as miscreant and impious. Although he managed to deflect multiple accusations of unorthodoxy in his lifetime, and on one occasion even recanted any articulations that may have been perceived as heretical or erroneous, Pope John XXII found seven of Eckhart's deductions as heretical and another eleven as derisive and suspicious.
In recent times, however, the Dominican Order has sought to rehabilitate Meister Eckhart by gaining an acknowledgement from the Pope for "the exemplary character of Eckhart's activity and preaching and to recommend his writings (particularly the spiritual works, treatises and sermons) as an expression of authentic Christian mysticism and as trustworthy guides to the Christian life according to the spirit of the gospel." That effort began in 1980, and its current ambiguous status lies somewhere inside the Vatican.

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