Farley on Women Mystics


In her book (The Thirst for God) about three 12th and 13th century women mystics (Julian of Norwich, Marguerite Porete, and Mechthild of Magdeburg), Wendy Farley says: “These women share the optimism that human beings can fully participate in God’s love. Mechthild relies primarily on the erotic and bridal imagery of the Song of Songs … to portray the union of the soul with God. Marguerite occasionally used bridal imagery but more often describes union in terms of the soul’s disappearance into divine reality. Her word, adnientie, is translated in various ways, reduced to nothing, annihilated, or stripped.   She does not mean that personhood becomes nothing, rather she means that those elements of egocentric desire that separate us from God are reduced to nothing. In this joyous “nothingness,” we are opened to the spaciousness of God. Julian describes God as thirst: “It is the thirst of God to have all humanity drawn within Godself.” She gives us a taste of the radical goodness of God, depicting God’s longing for us and our longing for God.”


Surely this is something of what Paul is getting at when he says “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:19-20)




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