The Contemplative Light Podcast, Episode Seven: The Stages Of Christian Mysticism. Purgation, Illumination, and Divine Union.

The hosts discuss the stages of Christian Mysticism, using the models of early Desert Father John Cassian and 20th Century Anglican writer Evelyn Underhill. This episode is rich in explaining some of the traditional models used in the mystical tradition that has always been in Christianity, throughout history, even if not often discussed in churches. The hosts also often candid feedback as to how (and if) these models apply to the modern Westerner trying to balance contemplative life with a hyper-stimulated socio-economic culture.  

Some of the themes touched on in the episode are:

1. What is the difference between John Cassian's model and Evelyn Underhill's model?  Why does Cassian have three stages, Underhill have five, and Thomas Keating seem to have four? 

2. Do these stages have to occur in order?

3. Are these stages helpful for the process, or are they simply an outside observation seen in retrospect?

4. Is contemplation and mysticism for everybody? How come so many mystics seem to say that only a small percentage of the population is called to mystical practice?

5. Do people have to have some sort of psychological "breakdown" or period of intense inner pain in order to begin on this path?