In No Strange Land illuminates the richness of mysticism–in the life of Philip Neri–as an “experience of the activity of God.” The life of the Apostle of Rome demonstrates that it is primarily people, not arguments, that reveal the mysteries of God. Philip’s experience of God, his mysticism, was given him for the sake of others. Furthermore, that experience itself was embodied; that is to say awakened, nourished, and brought to fruition within the religious tradition into which he was born, and from which he lived–in particular the Church of Renaissance Florence and Rome, with its own particular appropriation of Christianity. It is this sacramental life that places mysticism beyond the merely private and esoteric, and allows for the mystic, in Newman’s phrase, “to use this world well.”
With great deftness, Fr. Robinson traverses biographical, historical, and theological domains as he examines the nature of experience, the roles of knowledge and love in prayer, and the primacy of grace in the accomplishment of salvation. Informative and engaging, In No Strange Land is an outstanding contribution to Renaissance biography, historical theology, and the study of mysticism.