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John Ruusbroec (CWS) : The Spiritual Espousals, The Sparkling Stones, and Other Works (Classics of Western Spirituality Series) Paperback – 1 Jan 1986

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press; New edition edition (1 Jan. 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809127296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809127290
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 624,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding medieval mystic 24 Feb. 2007
By Greg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Ruusbroec is a great Christian mystic who lived a very sensible, grounded life as a Catholic priest in what is now Holland. Ruusbroec lived a very rich contemplative life, and wrote many outstanding works on Christian contemplative spirituality. In terms of depth, beauty and greatness, his mysticism stands equal to that of Meister Eckhart and the Rhineland mystics, his contemporaries, and influenced many later spiritual schools in Europe.

The greatest of Ruusbroec's works is the Spiritual Espousals, which outline a pathway by which the human soul is united with God. The process of union follows the classical pattern of Christian spirituality, purification, illumination, and divinisation, whereby the soul is cleansed of sin through baptism and the sacraments and by living the good moral life and is then lead to a deep and intimate communion with God by letting go of one's will and egoistic desires, rising above all creatures in the world, and by turning inwards in a state of inner unity, calm, and silent contemplation. As a master of the Christian spiritual life Ruusbroec gives many stern warnings about spiritual deception and egoism and false forms of Christian spirituality, including those which proclaim freedom to do as one wishes and total union with God's essence.

Ruusbroec's mysticism is strongly focused on love, God's ineffability, and on the Trinitarian nature of God's inner life. Of all the great mystics, Ruusbroec seems to be the one who most strongly saw God's triune side, as opposed to other mystics who tended to see more God's unity and oneness (Eckhart and John of the Cross). This makes the inner nature of God's love, both for himself and for his creatures, an essential part of Ruusbroec's mysticism, an important and biblical truth often forgotten by some mystics and contemplative writers down the ages. Evelyn Underhill rightly praised Ruusbroec as perhaps the greatest of the medieval mystics, because of his awareness of God's triune nature and the infinite love that flows from that ineffable nature.

This work will be a joy to read for any Christian with an interest in spirituality and the contemplative life, and since Ruusbroec was also a fairly sensible and sober fellow, doesn't depart fundamentally from any teaching of either Christianity or the Catholic Church. In this sense then he is a 'safe' mystic, though like many mystics at times his language can lack rigor and coherence and can at times seem to approach more dubious theological notions.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Eternal rest and eternal movement 4 Dec. 2009
By ecclesial hypostasis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of John Ruusbroec's works - 'The Spiritual Espousals', 'The Sparkling Stone', 'The Mirror of Eternal Blessedness', and 'A Little Book of Clarification'. All of these writings dwell on the same theme, which is the perfection of the spiritual life of a Christian believer. Ruusbroec speaks of different levels of mystical experience - there is the active life, the 'union with an intermediary', where we grow in virtue and gain access as believers to the grace of God through Christ and the Church. There is the contemplative life, the 'union without intermediary' where we draw within ourselves to attend with fervor to the personal presence of the Triune God, with whom we enter into spiritual communion. Finally there is the eternal, superessential life, the 'union without difference', where we find the complete rest in our spiritual origin in the Unity of the divine essence. But he is emphatically not a monist or pantheist. We do not dissolve into the Oneness of God, rather we restfully participate in the divine essence and then continually 'flow out' (a favourite image of Ruusbroec's) into the dynamic Trinitarian life of God and all his creation.

While these are the most profound mystical works that I have ever read, Ruusbroec's humility, discernment and staunch orthodoxy make them feel very safe and accessible. They provide a beautiful and accessible model for the spiritual life of all Christians.

'That we might blissfully possess the essential Unity and clearly contemplate the Unity in the Trinity - may the divine love grant us this, for it turns no beggar away. Amen. Amen.'

Heavy but worthwhile 2 April 2014
By Global Mom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not for everybody. It can be pretty heavy going, but it's definitely worth the effort. Skip the introduction and dive right in.
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