This is part 3 of 5 of an essay originally published by EA, or Julius Evola, under the title “Esoterismo e Mistica Cristiana” from the third volume of Introduction to Magic. In this section he deals with the esoteric meaning of silence and homelessness.
⇐ Part 2
If we now consider the grades in Christian asceticism beyond the preparatory levels, those which are realized in it and actually mystical, the fundamental point, which is almost exclusive of references, is the imitation of Christ on a sacramental base. Here we will omit the purely devotional and emotional forms, which lack any value for us; that they were able to take root in active and volitive races, in general, as are the Western races, remains an enigmatic point. The mystical view that is encountered on a slightly higher plane is the following: Christ has transfigured the human nature he assumed by incarnating himself in the body of the Resurrection and Ascension. And the glorification of the body of Christ must be likewise understood in its deepest sense, in relation to the Redemption as restoration and fulfillment of the life of our body in paradise. Christian asceticism considers moreover the event of Christ as the way to glorification with reference to the restoration of the Adamic state in which the body was completely subject to the soul and its sensory part, to the spirit. And since in the redemptive work of Christ the way toward a renewed harmony between the soul and the body is passed through death, and since we only must follow this way in order to assure for our body victory over the effects of original sin, so Christian asceticism has as its central point the concept of mortification, of dying and being reborn in Christ [TM 182,183].
That would be accomplished previously in the sacramental area beginning with Baptism. It is believed that redemptive and sanctifying grace shared in man by baptism already contains the seed of supernatural mystical life, because one is baptized in the sign of the death of Jesus and the crucifixion of ancient man. If in baptism, the faithful imitate and follows Christ into death, in the Eucharist, instead, food and nourishment of new life, they would participate mystically at the sacrifice, in the resurrection and ascension: a real participation already in the mystery of the sacrament, even if it is fulfilled in a veiled, invisible way, not accessible to our experience [AC 71-79]. Therefore, the idea prevails in the orthodox Catholic conception, that there is no essential discontinuity between the sacramental life of the common believer and the mystical life: the latter should not be exceptional, it would be already contained germinally in the former. The mystic, instead of leaving the seed of union with God inactive, brings its energy into actuality to the point of realizing this union as experience [TM 44-50]. A more concrete interpretation is the following: ritual (sacramental) participation in the death and resurrection of Christ does not transform the entire man in a single blow. It is first of all the interior man (eso anthropos, Rom 7:22) who is to be transformed. Then the ascetic, aided by a special grace, will have to kill little by little the “law of sin” in his limbs and to prepare in that way, according to the new supernatural principle of life received, a new body, the resurrection of the flesh, physical death going finally to definitively divest man from the “body of sin” [TM 39-42]. In terms of dogma, this realization is nevertheless remanded to the time of the “universal judgment”. It is not admitted that one can accomplish that in life.
We now see how one can judge the whole of this doctrine from our point of view. In this area, there is no need to emphasize that the model of death that opens the way to the supernatural order is not specifically Christian; even if it is not such as to be essential for every way of spiritual realization (because it is not said that this must always entail a crisis), it can have initiatic value. Specific to Catholicism is the idea that it is not an exceptional and dangerous initiatic operation, but the religious rite accessible to everyone that has a power to induce in man a supernatural quality, even if only germinally and potentially, and to produce it in a certain way from the outside, without any participation of the person, even beyond his consciousness, as is evident in the case of infant baptism. Even if, as was mentioned, one speaks of the further actions of the grace of the Holy Spirit for mystical development, this view contains the principle of a dangerous confusion of planes. If conceived in terms of reality, death, resurrection, and glorification in the sacraments, it cannot be other than symbols and prefigurations, concealing an order that transcends the generic sacralization connected to religious life. And it would be erroneous to suppose that the Christian, having had baptism and participating in the other sacraments of his tradition, finds himself for that reason in any position of advantage through the realizations foretold by an effective initiation. The Alexandrian distinction between the pistikos and pneumatikos, i.e., between the simple believer and the gnostic or initiate, must be maintained. Only through mystical experience can the idea fit, that is does not necessarily imply a rift, but can be an almost natural development of life which, in the Christian, is supposed to be supernaturalized by the work of the sacraments. Sacramental life, as pure mystical life, cannot go beyond a psychological-subjective or moral plane, while the initiatic one has an ontological and super-individual character. In regard to the former one can speak, at most, of sanctity, not of deification.
As for formal correspondences, through some details we can point out that baptism is a simple ritual image of contact with the “Waters” of “dissolution” in the life-principle anterior and superior to every individuation or form: experience, that in its radical, exceptional, and even dangerous character cannot obviously have any comparison with whatever is happening—even if invisibly—in Christian baptism. The notion of the “glorified body”, in which the law of death is conquered, comes directly to Christianity from the earlier mystery traditions, losing nevertheless, in the form of the dogmas of the resurrection of the flesh or of purely eschatological perspectives in the afterlife, its concrete and initiatic meaning. The scheme, actually, is already found in the rite of the transmutatio [transmutation] of the Eucharist: the bread counts as the body, the wine as blood and soul. The one and the other principle are transformed and when, after that, a piece of the host is united to the wine, the meaning is the joining of the transfigured soul with the body in the manner proper to the resurrection body or immortal body of Christ. Now it would be the case of speaking really of superstitions whenever one presumes, in the Eucharistic participation, anything more than a simple allegory, with effects of moral elevation and, if one prefers, of mystical rapture: certainly not that which always is taken as the furthest limit of possible accomplishment on this earth to an adept. In regard to all this, whoever has a notion of what it actually is about, would come to think of it almost a profanation.
Aside from the hoped for intervention of grace, in the purview of realization, i.e., of the development and the actualization of the influences induced by the sacraments, there is no precise way recommended to the Christian. The simple subjective dispositions corresponding to the so-called theological virtues, i.e., faith, hope, and love, remain. “Mortification” is conceived in essentially moral terms, with undeserved stress on the value of everything that is suffering and “penance”. Here there is actually an incompatibility with what is typical to a healthy and normal Western type of man: on the basis of the sense of “guilt” and the congenital sinfulness which every man must be conscious of, we know that almost pathological tendencies have often appeared specifically in Christian mysticism. Moreover, prayer, oration, understood as a gift of the Holy Spirit, is conceived as the fundamental power of the mystical life, to the point that ecstasy itself is considered by some as a level of it, the highest level [AC 121].
 The Gospels speak of a baptism by fire beyond that of water. This double baptism and double regeneration corresponds to the two phases of initiatic work called albedo and rubedo in Hermetism.
 Cfr. the article on the “immortal body” in Introduction to Magic.
 The contemporary writer, Frithjof Schuon, who strove to find initiatic prospects in Christianity, believed that the active counterpart of passive participation mediated by the sacraments was (with specific reference to the Eastern Church) the practice of the invocation of the saving name of Christ. This is one of the more primitive techniques for the “killing of the manas”, i.e., for the neutralization of the mental ego, analogous to the continuous repetition of the “divine Name” in Islam. Moreover, the abuse of the liturgy in the Catholic contemplative orders does not have objectively any other end. That, beyond the negative aspect, the “virtue of the name” also enables certain states of illumination, is something problematic. In every way, it is a chance event, and it is necessary to have faith in the protective actions of the sacraments in order to unwrap the possibility of an action of the most diverse extra-sensible influences, once the manas is “killed”. In any case, the mystic has little way of interpreting correctly the phenomena that occur, because it is held on an emotive, rather than intellectual, level, and the Christian devotional framework, with its various images, rather than helping him, serves instead to lead him astray.