• Greek: myeo, initiate


The secret intercourse of a fervent soul with God. Considered in its entirety it forms a branch of theology, called mystical theology. The word mystical signifies something obscure, occult, or mysterious. A person initiated into mysteries may be called a mystic, and the science which treats of mysteries may be called mystical. This science may be called secret, in the sense that the great things of God are secret. They are secret on account of their magnitude, according to the words of Our Saviour: “He that can take, let him take it” (Matthew 19); their dignity: “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; but to them it is not given” (Matthew 13); and the unfitness or inability of men to receive them: “Give not that which is holy to dogs” (Matthew 7). It is also a holy science, because it is ordained to the higher sanctification of souls, according to the three ways of perfection: the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive. Among the eminent mystical writers in the Catholic Church are: Pseudo-Dionysius, the so-called Areopagite, Saint Bernard, Saint Thomas, Saint Anselm, Saint Bonaventure, Hugh and Richard of Saint Victor, Gerson, Saint Teresa, and Saint John of the Cross.

MLA Citation

  • “mysticism”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 March 2013. Web. 25 September 2021. <>