The famous philosopher Nietzsche once argued that Christianity is a religion that says no to all of the good things in life. He looked at Christian morality, and he only saw a series of rules and regulations meant to limit and inhibit our natural impulses. This view gets at a fundamental impression that many people of have Christianity. Instead of seeing the faith as a path to happiness, they see it is a road of extreme self-denial that has a vague promise of happiness in the life to come.

Western Civilization has been on a long disastrous experiment ever since. Out was the old virtue ethics of classical civilization, and instead it was replaced by an ethics of power, pleasure, and a distorted notion of freedom that exalts the individual. The problem is that such illusions lead not to peace and stillness, but rather lead to an unsettled heart that constantly craves more. Consumer culture is not so much a product of an incorrect economic system, but rather a mistaken quest to fill the deepest desires of the heart with that which is fleeting and ultimately does not satisfy.

The spontaneity promised by both Nietzsche and contemporary society is not a result of autonomy and unbridled liberty. Instead, true spontaneity is found only in the Spirit, when the heart is opened to the dynamism of the Divine indwelling. This indwelling stirs the depths of the heart, bringing to light the disorders which prevent believers from tasting the sweetness of Divine union. The spontaneity of the Spirit leads the believer not only to discover the potential hidden in every moment, but also creates in the believer an intense participation in the desire of God, a desire that ardently longs for love and the salvation of souls.

As believers enter ever deeper into the mystery of infinite love, their lives becomes intertwined with God’s boundless creativity. The newness offered by communion is the seed of authentic insight and a wisdom that penetrates the veil of ignorance which is cast over creation. This is the vocation of the mystic, not so much to explain and analyze, but to see and to share that vision with the world.

The vocation of the mystic is not tied simply to those in religious orders or in monasteries. Rather, it is the calling possessed by all who sit before the Lord in adoration and allow the Eucharistic gaze of Jesus to penetrate their heart. In this way, the Church is filled with mystics whose lives are quietly drawn up into the paschal mystery and whose devotion awakens in the world the transforming light of the Gospel. This is science of saints: not the zeal of the activist, but rather the dying to self of the Christian.