How to Experience the Spiritual Meaning of Gospel Texts: The Psychology of Reading Mystically

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This study presents a psychological understanding of the prayer exercises of the mystics. It examines the spiritual unconscious, supporting its assertions with clinical evidence. The work asserts how contemplative prayer practices affect brain hemispheres by quieting the left brain and enabling the right brain to journey to the deepest part of consciousness.


“This book should serve as an excellent reading not only for Catholic homilists who are seeking fresh insights into liturgical texts but also as a practice method for those Christians seeking a new way to meditate on Scripture. This could be, for some readers, an introduction to meditation. However, Father Loyola’s ideas are accessible to those who come from different religious (or even non-religious) backgrounds. He has viewed particular New Testament readings as Christian koans, seeing beyond history, beyond traditional Western thinking, beyond meaning into the obscurity of the God of mystical love.” – Prof. Andrew Tomasello, Baruch College

“. . . offers a creative and inspiring presentation in his book that integrates sound psychology and spirituality with profound meditations on select gospel texts. A unique feature of this book is that he combines the mystical tradition, methods of meditation and psychological.” – Dr. Anthony Ciora, Fordham University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Andrew Tomasello, Baruch College
1. Definitions
Psychological Understanding of the Scriptures
Mystics’ Ways of Understanding the Scriptures
Secrets of Mystical Life
Different Forms or Stages of Prayer
Prayer in General
Meditative Prayer
Discursive Mental Prayer
Affective Mental Prayer
Contemplative Mental Prayer
2. Studies by Medical Science and Transpersonal Psychology
A Much Shorter Version
Brain Hemisphere Studies and Meditation
Study of the Central Nervous System
Psychological Studies on Levels of Being
Concentration versus Relaxation
3. Mystical Meaning and Mystics
Literal, Moral, Allegorical, and Unitive Meaning
Contemplative Meditation Leading to the Unitive Level
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Catherine of Siena
St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. Teresa of Avila
St. John of the Cross
1) Mortification of the Appetites
2) The Journey of Faith
3) The Dark Night and the Communication of God
Implications for Insightful Scriptural Reflections
4. A word of caution
It is not about doing it right
You will be hated because of my name: Love your enemies
The blind man was spiritually able to see Jesus even before being restored
More will be given to the one who has more
The criminal who believed in God dying by his side
A Gentile had more faith than all of Israel
Judge not and you will not be judged
The invisible is present in the visible
Blessed are the poor and the not so poor
Our hearts will not rest until they rest in God
Grateful means transformation within and without
Last judgment has already begun
Forgive in order to be forgiven
The Kingdom of God is more about generosity than justice
God loves us not out of justice but mercy and generosity
Believers can reject God through resistances
Acting with mercy is more important than doing it right
Believers can be paying lip service to God
Earthly matters are not so significant as heavenly ones
Law means love
What we say and do versus who we are
It is more about being rather than about earning
Watchful means embrace uncertainties
Be open-minded, nonjudgmental, and unprejudiced
Living in the now
For nothing will be impossible for God
God is not at the top but at the bottom
Even believers will have to search for God
Suffering and humiliation will lead to a new-resurrection
Faith is more important than healing
Forgiveness is as unconditional as love
The Kingdom of heaven is in your cross

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