De la vie d'oraison is an early and neglected work by Jacques Maritain. Exploring its major themes and biographical context reveals a tension in Maritain between his commitment to orthodox Catholic mystical theology and his belief in his godfather Léon Bloy's unique, tripartite vocation of lay mystic, prophet, and artist. This tension, I argue, has been overlooked due to Maritain's public image as an esteemed Thomist philosopher, but becomes clear when we study Maritain's defense of Bloy, especially in his dialogues with his Dominican peers and church authorities. I suggest that this tension reveals two deep-seated convictions at work in Maritain's life and writings. The first is that the reasons for the necessity of lay Catholic mysticism, and the diverse forms it may take, need to be spelled out more clearly. The second is that for Maritain, his godfather is an exemplar of such lay Catholic mysticism. Understanding Maritain's reasons for these convictions can open up a pathway for Catholic mystical theology to better accommodate and conceptualize alternative forms of mystical life among laypeople whose mystical and artistic experiences spill over traditional theological categories.