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Love's Immensity

Mystics on the Endless Life

Scott Cairns


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Paperback (5/1/2007)


One of America's finest living poets has breathed new life into the early Christian mystics.   From Saint Paul to Julian of Norwich, the original texts of these mystical fathers and mothers of the Church have been pored over, pressed for further revelation, and set in verse to provide readers with fresh encounters of their wisdom and provocations.   At the heart of this undertaking is Scott Cairns’ conviction that the words of the mystics sacramentally partake of the Word Himself, and as such are inexhaustible, generative powers. These particular selections cohere in their common claim that Love is the most compelling name of God, and also the most apt attribute of the Holy One in Whom we live and move and have our being. In that spirit, these luminous texts are understood to partake of Love, and concurrently to witness to His presence and His promise that, as “our Courteous Lord” averred to Julian, “All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.”

Praise For Love's Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life

Scott Cairns is the author of six collections of poetry. He is Professor of English at the University of Missouri and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006. In this alluring collection of adaptations and translations, he presents the short sayings and teachings of the mystical fathers and mothers of Christianity. From St. Paul to Saint Therese of Lisieux, Cairns covers the love that these theologians and saints had for God and their experience of hte manifold mysteries of grace, faith, and spiritual transformation. Here are two examples of the material found in this book:
Capable Flesh
by Saint Irenaeus
"The tender flesh itself will be found one day - quite surprisingly - to be capable of receiving, and yes, full capable of embracing the searing energies of God. Go figure. Fear not. For even at its beginning the humble clay received God's art, whereby one part became the eye, another the ear, and yet another this impetuous hand. Therefore, the flesh is not to be excluded from the wisdom and the power that now and ever animates all things. His life-giving agency is made perfect, we are told, in weakness - made perfect in the flesh."

Love's Purpose
by Saint Issac of Nineveh
"In love did He bring the world into being, and in love does He guide its difficult slow-seeming journey now through the arc of time. In love will He one day bring all the world to a wondrous, transformed state, and utterly in love will it be taken wholly up into the great mystery of the One who has performed these things - and all of this so that in love absolutely will the course and form and governance of all creation at long last be comprised." Spirituality and Practice September 2007

Paraclete Press, 9781557255259, 142pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2007

About the Author

Librettist, essayist, translator, and author of nine poetry collections, Scott Cairns is Professor of English and Director of the Low-Residency MFA Program at Seattle Pacific University. His poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Image, Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and both have been anthologized in multiple editions of Best American Spiritual Writing. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and the Denise Levertov Award in 2014.