Lesser Feasts and Fasts

RECOMMENDED FEAST DAY TO OBSERVETuesday, June 15 is the Feast of  Evelyn Underhill (1941). Evelyn Underhill was born in Wolverhampton, England, and grew up in London. She was educated there and in a girls school in Folkestone, where she was confirmed in the Church of England. She had little other formal religious training, but she read widely, developing quite early a deep appreciation for mysticism. At sixteen, she began a life-long devotion to writing. In the 1890s, Evelyn began annual visits to the Continent, and especially to Italy. She spent nearly fifteen years wrestling painfully with the idea of converting to Roman Catholicism, but decided in the end that it was not for her. In 1921, Evelyn Underhill became reconciled to her Anglican roots, while remaining what she called a Catholic Christian. She continued with her life of reading, writing, meditation, and prayer. She had already published her first great spiritual work, Mysticism. This was followed by many other books, culminating in her most widely read and studied book, Worship (1937). Evelyn Underhill’s most valuable contribution to spiritual literature must surely be her conviction that the mystical life is not only open to a saintly few, but to anyone who cares to nurture it and weave it into everyday experience, and also that modern psychological theories and discoveries, far from hindering or negating spirituality, can actually enhance and transform it.  O God, Origin, Sustainer, and End of all your creatures: Grant that your Church, taught by your servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by your power, and guided by your Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to you all glory and thanksgiving and attain with your saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have promised by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.            (Holy Women, Holy Men)