*** This is a rough transcript of today’s show ***
It is the 29th of June 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org, I’m Dan van Voorhis.
It was on this day in 1628 that Miguel de Molinos was born. By the time of his death in prison in 1696, he would be hailed as a great spiritual guide and a master of contemplative art. However, this would also lead to him being attacked as a Jansenist, Antinomian, and heretic.
If there is one word that is most closely associated with Molinos it is “Quietism” and now that I’ve thrown all these 5 dollar words at you let’s slow down and break down the life of Miguel de Molinos.
3 Things about Miguel:
Born to noble parents in Spain he studied with the Jesuits, received his doctorate, and was ordained in 1652.
In 1663 He was sent to Rome on behalf of the Spanish crown to work towards the canonization of a local saint- which he never really worked on and the saint was never canonized. But he became a popular spiritual advisor to many including the exiled former Protestant Queen Christina of Sweden.
His most important work was called the “Spiritual Guide” and it has become the Ur-Text for “Quietism.”
What is Quietism?
Pietism and Quietism not only rhyme, not only involve post Reformation spirituality but are almost always going to be handled in a ham-fisted way to cast aspersion on how “the others are doing it wrong”.
It is not being “too passive” “politically passive” “timid” or any other description I’ve read by someone who seems to be making up a new -ism with the word quiet attached to it.
So what was it? It was based on Molino's “Spiritual Guide”. In it he questioned the practice of guided meditation, spiritual rubrics for growth, or any other such design on dissecting the spiritual life.
Quietism was the belief that the highest state one can achieve is one of passive reception. The Quietist seeks to lose his or herself in union with God and Christ.
To some, it was a pretty jacked-up version of mysticism. In the 17th century and beyond it was attacked as “Jansenist” which it wasn’t. EXCEPT, that it could be read to lessen the authority of the externally visible church and thus was a no-no for the Catholics.
It was called “antinomian” because Molinos wasn’t concerned with the sins or temptations of believers when they had reached this state of passivity.
Molinos was being protected for a time by Catholics on account of his attackers being Jesuits (when they were in the dog house). Molinos would recant some of his positions and claim that he could have been more precise. Molinos did affirm that he could be read in such a way as to lead to heresy, but that was not his intent. Molinos also seems to have had some kind of personal scandal that would discredit him. The movement would eventually blend with French and Spanish variations on the same theme.
Miguel de Molinos would die in prison in 1696. Born on this day in 1628 he was 68 years old.
The last word for today comes from Psalm 34:
I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.
O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
for those who fear him have no want.
The young lions suffer want and hunger,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 29th of June brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.
The show is produced by neither an Antinomian, Jansenist, or Quietist. He is Christopher Gillespie.
The show is written and read by Dan van Voorhis.
You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.