The list author says: "Karl Rahner said 'The Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all.' But what is mysticism, and what difference does it make to Christians of the twenty-first century? Here are a number of interesting books to assist you in exploring Christian mysticism, both as a tradition of wisdom and as a living contemplative practice. The list includes general introductions to Christian mysticism, books which explore ways to live the contemplative life today, anthologies of mystical writings, and some of the greatest books by the most renowned mystics of the Christian tradition."
"First published in 1911, this is the grandmother of books on western mysticism. Primarily, although not exclusively, Christian in its focus. Underhill explores both a general theory of mysticism and provides a map of the developmental stages of the mystical life."
"Written by arguably the greatest Christian mystic of the twentieth century, this book is an invitation for all people to enter more fully into an intentional spirituality oriented toward the longing for intimacy with God."
"Richard Rohr (b. 1943) is one of the most vibrant and visionary of contemporary Christian contemplatives. This book invites the reader to embrace mystical wisdom as a doorway to a transformed, loving consciousness."
"This short book by Evelyn Underhill provides a step by step guide to entering into contemplative practice, written for the average person. The language is a bit dated, but the wisdom presented here is universal."
"Cynthia Bourgeault has a clear understanding of how Christianity is not just a system of moral principles, but rather a living wisdom tradition geared toward inner transformation; this book is a concise introduction to her teaching."
"Traditionally, theology and spirituality were not considered separate disciplines, but rather two sides of the same coin. Anglican theologian Ken Leech seeks to re-integrate the way we think about God with the things we do to foster intimacy with God."
"This excellent anthology of mystical writings is arranged topically, rather than chronologically, so it serves as a fine introduction to the breadth and depth of contemplative writing. McGinn's introductions to the various selections are helpful and informative."
"If you read one classical work of mysticism, may it be this one. Julian of Norwich was a fourteenth-century visionary, a woman steeped in prayer, who received splendid revelations of God's passionate love for us. Her writing is poetic and her theology is so far ahead of its time that we still haven't caught up with her."
"If Julian of Norwich and John Ruusbroec are theologians of the mystical life, this little gem (also from the fourteenth century) is a much more practical manual of contemplative prayer: How to do it, how to keep doing it, and how to let it transform your life by the grace of God."
"Mysticism isn't just about being heroic or "great." St. Therese of Lisieux, who died while still in her twenties, has become the patron saint of contemplation as a humble, down to earth spiritual practice which anyone can explore."
"This mysterious fifth century monk provides a brilliant synthesis of pagan and Christian philosophy, and laid the foundation for the theology of God as a mystery who can never be fully grasped by a mere, mortal human mind."