THE SPIRITUAL TEACHING OF SISTER ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY
MYSTICS everywhere and always are concerned with what is substantially the same experience, experience of union with God. Moreover the Godhead with whom they experience this union is experienced as transcending every image or concept, blinding with its "light inaccessible" the weak vision of mortal man. It is not therefore surprising that there is comparatively little variety in their accounts, particularly when the mystics in question accept the same dogmatic theology and interpret their experience in terms of its doctrines. This inevitable uniformity, however, renders mystical literature more repetitive than any other. And the individual mystic describing his experiences has not many different things to say. Nevertheless the intensity of the mystic's experience, the infinite content of the absolute Reality he experiences, combined with the tormenting incapacity to communicate more than suggestive hints, impels him to repeat himself indefinitely, as though by mere insistence he could force into his readers' field of vision something of the glory he is seeking to convey.
Moreover the friends and disciples of one thus admitted to the secret of the King are convinced that everything he has written is worth our attention, even when he does but repeat devotional commonplaces.
Nevertheless it is far from true that to read one mystic or even one Catholic mystic is to read all. Not only does the degree of experienced union with God differ widely--and only a few have climbed the loftiest summits. Even when the experience is the same, the individual mystic may insist upon a particular aspect of it, may distinguish that aspect more clearly than others, and may possess a peculiar ability to give it expression.
The student of mysticism therefore must study a considerable number of mystics, though, except in the case of a few giants