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THEOLOGY: mid-14c., “the science of religion, study of God and his relationship to humanity,” from Old French theologie “philosophical study of Christian doctrine; Scripture” (14c.), from Latin theologia, from Greek theologia “an account of the gods,” from theologos “one discoursing on the gods,” from theos “god” (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + -logos “treating of” (see -logy). Meaning “a particular system of theology” is from 1660s.
THE STUDY OF: THEOS: DIETY (God) / LOGI: LOGOS
MYSTIC: late 14c., mistike, “spiritually allegorical, pertaining to mysteries of faith,” from Old French mistique “mysterious, full of mystery” (14c.), or directly from Latin mysticus “mystical, mystic, of secret rites” (source also of Italian mistico, Spanish mistico), from Greek mystikos “secret, mystic, connected with the mysteries,” from mystes “one who has been initiated” (see mystery) Meaning “pertaining to occult practices or ancient religions” is recorded by 1610s. That of “hidden from or obscure to human knowledge or comprehension” is by 1630s.
MYSTERY: early 14c., misterie, in a theological sense, “religious truth via divine revelation, hidden spiritual significance, mystical truth,” from French *misterie, Old French mistere “secret, mystery, hidden meaning” (Modern French mystère) and directly from Latin mysterium “secret rite, secret worship; a sacrament, a secret thing.”
This is from Greek mystērion (usually in plural mysteria) “secret rite or doctrine (known and practiced by certain initiated persons only), consisting of purifications, sacrificial offerings, processions, songs, etc.,” from mystēs “one who has been initiated,” from myein “to close, shut” (in silence); perhaps referring to the lips (in secrecy) or to the eyes (only initiates were allowed to see the sacred rites).
The Greek word was used in Septuagint for “secret counsel of God,” translated in Vulgate as sacramentum. Non-theological use in English, “a hidden or secret thing; a fact, matter, etc., of which the meaning explanations, or cause is unknown,” is from late 14c. In reference to the ancient rites of Greece, Egypt, etc. it is attested from 1640s. Meaning “detective story” is recorded by 1908.
Do you hear the secret counsel of God, And do you limit [the possession of] wisdom to yourself?
Mystical theology is the science which treats of acts and experiences or states of the soul which cannot be produced by human effort or industry even with the ordinary aid of Divine grace. How can we separate Science and Religion? They are but, ONE. It comprises among its subjects all extraordinary forms of prayer, the higher forms of contemplation in all their varieties or gradations, private revelations, visions, and the union growing out of these between God and the soul, known as the mystical union. As the science of all that is extraordinary in the relations between the Divinity and the human spirit, mystical theology is the complement of ascetical, which treats of Christian perfection and of its acquisition by the practice of virtue, particularly by the observance of the counsels. The contents of mystical theology are doctrinal as well as experiences, as it not only records the experiences of souls mystically favoured, but also lays down rules for their guidance, which are based on the authority of the Scriptures, on the teachings of the Fathers of the Church, and on the explanations of theologians, many of them eminent as mystics. Its rules and precepts are usually framed for the special use of those who have occasion to direct souls in the ways of mysticism, so as to preserve them from error while facilitating their advancement. [Disernment: rightly dividing truths from falsities]. It must therefore take note of the wrong systems of prayer, like Quietism or Semiquietism, and of the self-illusion or deception of souls that mistake the powers of darkness for those of light or the promptings of their own self-seeking for Divine communications. Mystical theology has a system of names and terms within the arts and sciences all its own, seeking to express acts through symbolism and states that are for the most part purely spiritual in terms denoting inference from one particular to another particular experiences in material order.
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