Miguel de Molinos

From Anthroposophy

Miguel de Molinos (1628-1696) or (1640-1697) was a Spanish mystic, the chief representative of the religious revival known as Quietism. He wrote 'Guida Spirituale' (1675) and was sentenced to life imprisonment in Rome for this book by the Pope in 1686.

For the last three centuries, Molinos has chiefly been known as the main proponent of the most fundamental mystical heresy in Catholicism, a heresy which has come to be the touchstone for doctrinal judgements about correct and incorrect claims for mystical contact with God.

Life (and location)

From wikipedia:

He was born in 1628 near Muniesa (Teruel), in Aragon, a village around 100 kilometres south of Zaragoza.

He moved to Valencia in his youth and undertook religious education with the Jesuits there at the College of St Paul. He was ordained in 1652, and seemingly took his doctorate shortly thereafter, though it is unclear when or where (both the University of Valencia and the College of St Paul granted doctorates).

On 4 June 1662, Molinos was admitted to the local chapter of the School of Christ, a religious brotherhood that would play an important role in his later life in Rome. He seems in these early years in Valencia to have held a number of secondary roles in the chapter’s leadership, at least one of which earned him a place on the chapter’s governing body.

In July 1663, Molinos was chosen to travel to Rome to support the cause of the beatification of, and to report back to Valencia on, the Venerable Francisco Jerónimo Simón (d. 1612), a secular cleric and beneficer of the parish of St Andrews in Valencia. He left Spain in late 1663; he would not return.

There is almost no specific evidence of Molinos's activities in Rome in 1663–1675. It is known that Molinos was affiliated with the Roman chapter of the School of Christ (and, by 1671 at the latest, had become its leader). He also became well known as a spiritual director – and it was in this role that he gained prominence as the leading advocate of the teaching and practice that would come to be known as Quietism.


In spring 1687, Molinos was brought before a tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition and asked to explain his teaching, with 263 questionable propositions from his works at stake. Although initially defending them, by May 1687 his attitude had changed and he confessed his errors of conduct and teaching and waived his opportunity to present a defence. By July, the tribunal had isolated 68 objectionable propositions and had prepared articles of censure for each. On 23 August 1687, the entire case was read to the cardinal inquisitors, and on 2 September Molinos’s sentence (life in prison) was announced. His last words to a priest before entering his cell of imprisonment were: "Goodbye, Father. We shall meet again on the day of judgement. Then it will be seen if the truth was on your side or mine."

On 3 September Molinos made a public profession of his errors in the Dominican Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. On 20 November Pope Innocent XI ratified his condemnation in the bull Coelestis Pastor, condemning 68 propositions from the Guida spirituale and other unpublished writings of its author.

Molinos died nine years later in the prison of the Holy Office on 29 December 1696.


Wikipedia states:

Quietism is the name given (especially in Roman Catholic Church theology) to a set of Christian beliefs that rose in popularity in France, Italy, and Spain during the late 1670s and 1680s, particularly associated with the writings of Miguel de Molinos (and subsequently François Malaval and Madame Guyon), and which were condemned as heresy by Pope Innocent XI in the papal bull Coelestis Pastor of 1687. The "Quietist" heresy was seen to consist of wrongly elevating "contemplation" over "meditation", intellectual stillness over vocal prayer, and interior passivity over pious action in an account of mystical prayer, spiritual growth and union with God (one in which, the accusation ran, there existed the possibility of achieving a sinless state and union with the Christian Godhead)

Lecture references

The following shorts excerpts from The Spiritual Guide (1685) illustrate how Molinos was going into meditation and initiation exercises such as those in Steiner's Knowledge of the Higher World and Franz Bardon's Initiation into Hermetics (eg steps 1 and 2), of course in a mystical language of the age and context in the catholic church.

In Chapter 8 is on Internal mystical silence

There are three kinds of silence; the first is of Words, the Second of Desires, and the third of Thoughts. The first is perfect; the second more perfect; and the third more perfect. In the first, that is, of words, Virtue is acquired; in the second, to wit, of Desires, quietness is attained to; in the third of Thoughts, Internal Recollection is gained. By not speaking, not desiring, and not thinking, one arrives at the true and perfect Mystical Silence, wherein God speaks with the Soul, communicates himself to it, and in the Abyss of its own Depth, teaches it the most perfect and exalted Wisdom.

and further

How the Soul is to carry it self in the Faults it doth commit, that it may not be disquieted thereby, but reap good out of it.

in Chapter 11 offers maxims for a simple humble and true heart.

1910-02-17-GA059 see link1 or link2


Thus you will find in the writings of many authors who have known only the type of prayer in which inner warmth is to be found — even in the work of Miguel Molinos — remarkable descriptions of all sorts of passions and impulses, fights, temptations and wild desires that the soul has to experience if it seeks perfection by inner prayer and complete surrender to what it understands to be God. If we approach the spiritual world by seeking God one-sidedly, if we only unfold that feeling for prayer that leads to inner warmth and excludes illumination, this neglected other side takes its revenge on us.

Anyone who seeks for God in his soul and refuses to take what he has gained out into the world will find that his refusal turns back on him in revenge. And in many writings by saints and mystics who have known only the prayer that gives inner warmth — even in the writings of the Spanish mystic, Miguel de Molinos — you will come upon remarkable descriptions of all sorts of passions and urges, fights, temptations and wild desires which the soul experiences when, it seeks perfection through inward prayer and complete devotion to what it takes to be its God. If someone tries to find God and to approach the spiritual world in a one-sided way, if he brings to his prayers only the kind of devotion that leads to inner warmth, and not the other kind that leads to illumination, then the other side will take its revenge. If I look back over the past with feelings of regret and shame and say to myself — there is something great in me to which I have never allowed full scope, but now I will let it permeate me and perfect me — then in a certain sense a feeling of perfection does arise. But the imperfection which remains in the soul turns into a counter-force and storms out all the more strongly in the form of temptations and passions. But as soon as the soul, after having recollected itself in inner warmth and intimate devotion, looks for God in all the works where he is revealed and strives for illumination, it comes out of itself, turns away from the narrow, selfish ego, and the storms of passion are stilled. That is why it is so bad to allow egotism to find its way into mystical devotion and meditation. If we wish to find God, but only in order to keep him in our own souls, we show that an unhealthy egotism has crept into our highest endeavours. Then this egotism will take revenge upon us. We shall be healed only if, after having found God within us, we pour out into the world, through our thoughts and feelings, our willing and doing, what we have inwardly gained.

The mystic Molinos is referenced oa in 1911-02-12-GA266 see Q&A Q00.006 - spiritual events at various points in life


Related pages

References and further reading