Mystical experiences
#11
It is natural to want to have those experiences. It seems though that God does not normally give them to those who desire them.

One that has stood out for me is the instant conversion of the Anti Catholic Jew, Alphonse Rattisbone, from the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to him when wearing the miraculous medal, reluctantly.

[Image: 2015_Alphonse_Ratisbonne_his_brother_Theodore.jpg]


All of his anti Catholic contempt melted away by a miraculous infusion of knowledge as he stated:

"I now understand everything."

God gratuitously worked that miracle for a spiteful disbelieving Jew so that other Jews would be saved.

He went on to establish a congregation specifically to convert Jews with his brother who also converted.. (Of course Vatican II "corrected " him on that).

http://www.tfp.org/the-conversion-of-alp...atisbonne/
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#12
(05-06-2017, 05:20 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: In my own case I had an interior crisis when I was a Buddhist that led to reading the NT seriously for the first time.  When I got to MT 11:29 I literally sensed that Jesus Christ meant that for me at that moment, and that He loved all of us collectively ands individually.  It was more an intuitive sense of something deep, powerful and mysterious and...personal.  I've never again had this type of experience, but it's been enough to keep my faith in Jesus intact even when I've lost my faith in Roman Catholicism.  As for Budfhism,I've never again felt the appeal of it after that experience.

You made me go look it up. It goes Matthew 11:  [28] Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. [29] Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. [30] For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

Praise God for that, FB. He gave you what you needed at that time. I've had that same sort of "intuitive sense of something deep, powerful and mysterious and...personal" that led to tremendous joy and consolation right when I needed it most. I didn't even ask for it; it was just THERE. And I have the sense that if I were to ask for it and expect Him to give me what I merely want, on command, I might never experience such a thing again on earth.
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#13
(05-06-2017, 10:32 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Something must have happened to you to just drop 17 years of Buddhist practice even if it didn't involve visions. As you know, Buddhism is fundamentally a different religion than Christianity. What was it that brought you out?

Nothing dramatic happened although my return to the Church occurred two months ago, and rather quickly. Overnight, I decided to abandon my Buddhist practices. I woke up one day and realised that Jesus is the Way and the Life, and that the Catholic Church is His Church on earth - not Anglicans or any one of the other 31 flavours of ice cream protestantism.

I have been thinking deeply for years about whether Buddhism is the way to everlasting happiness and the end of suffering. I meditated a lot, went to retreats, but there was always something lacking. Occasionally I would still pray to God (which means, I wasn't really a Buddhist all those years because Buddhists don't believe in God).

What I can say is that a deep peace has overcome me, a serenity that I never had in all the years of sitting on my ass meditating on a cushion. I think it's the Holy Spirit. And I have been praying the Rosary everyday since my return to the Church. It's working.

You guys are right. I don't need any kinds of miracles or visions or visitations from angels. My faith is very strong and I feel our Lord right beside me every minute of my day.
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#14
(05-08-2017, 01:52 AM)Julia Augusta Wrote: Nothing dramatic happened although my return to the Church occurred two months ago, and rather quickly. Overnight, I decided to abandon my Buddhist practices. I woke up one day and realised that Jesus is the Way and the Life, and that the Catholic Church is His Church on earth - not Anglicans or any one of the other 31 flavours of ice cream protestantism.

Isn't that just amazing? It's so interesting hearing about different people come to realize the Truth! So glad you did :) He's obviously got His Eyes on you!

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#15
(05-06-2017, 02:44 AM)Julia Augusta Wrote: I have a question about mystical experiences. Several converts to Catholicism (Jews, atheists) reported having mystical experiences that caused them to convert. Example: Sally Read in "Night's Bright Darkness" reported having been almost physically lifted when she prayed in church for guidance from Jesus; some Jewish converts reported either seeing the Virgin Mary or being in the presence of Jesus.

I recently came back to the Church after 17 years of Buddhist practices and my coming back was quite undramatic. It just happened almost overnight - no mystical experiences whatsoever.

Nevertheless, these people reported intense feelings of love and sanctity and I must confess that I am quite jealous. I shouldn't be, but I am and I find myself asking the Virgin Mary and Jesus to appear to me - not for any "wow" experience but to be in the presence that kind of overwhelming love and divine grace.

So the question: what does the Church say about mystical experiences and why do some people have them and others don't?

St Teresa said a lot about them and those who do not have them. Basically having mystical experiences does not make the saint. Many times those who have mystical experiences also have very heavy crosses.
Those who don't have them she said that they are like Martha, the one who serves. If you  serve the Lord with charity and don't have mystical experiences then it is very likely that God is holding them in reserve for that person when they enter into Heaven.   
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#16
(05-06-2017, 01:28 PM)Vox Clamantis Wrote:
(05-06-2017, 01:02 PM)richgr Wrote: It's not entirely a mystery why some receive mystical graces like those you describe and why others don't. Plenty of saints and doctors speak about it, and it goes right back to 1 Corinthians 12 where St. Paul enumerates some mystical graces, such as healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues (that is, speaking another language without prior study of it), and the interpretation of tongues (being able to understand different languages).

I have to disagree with you here. St. Paul's speaking of the charismata; the OP was talking about having visions and levitating and such -- things that don't work directly to edify the Church as the charismata do. Asking for a charismatic gift is one thing, but asking God to send Mary down so you can have the experience of seeing her (and not be jealous of those who have)  is pretty different, KWIM?

But, as you say, asking for charity (and the gifts of the Holy Ghost) are what we should be after. Leave things like bilocation and having visions to whomever God grants such things, for whatever inscrutable reasons He has (and know that demons can mimic these things and lead us astray, likely a good reason to not ask for them!).

The majority theological tradition call the charismata gratiae gratis datae (extraordinary gifts of grace). The main understanding of these gifts, which are the same as the charismata, are for the purpose of edifying the Church as a rule.

There are also other extraordinary mystical phenomena that may occur concomitantly with the growing spiritual life, but as the late Fr. Jordan Aumann says in summarizing the tradition, "Like the graces gratis datae, [these gifts] could be given for the good of others or they could be interpreted as a divine witness to the sanctity of the individual for the edification of the Church." So either way, it's for the edification of others. You disagreed with me perhaps because I used a general term "mystical grace," but I didn't want to go into nitty gritty details because I didn't think I needed to. But you can be assured I'm not just making this up but expressing the traditional theological teaching on this.

A summary of this tradition from Fr. Aumann (a more thorough treatment is in Antonio Royo Marin, The Theology of Christian Perfection):

---

Graces "Gratis Datae." In his first letter to the Corinthians (12:4-6), St. Paul states that there are diverse gifts of God, but that God is one in himself. All that we have received in both the natural and the supernatural order we have received from God, so that we could speak of all these things as graces gratis datae. But theologians reserve the term graces gratis datae for a special type of graces called charisms. Unlike the grace gratum faciens (habitual or actual graces) a grace gratis data has as its immediate purpose not the sanctification of the one who receives it, but the spiritual benefit of others. It is called gratis data not only because it is above the natural power of man but also because it is something outside the realm of personal merit. With this distinction in mind, we may list the following conclusions regarding the graces gratis datae:

1. The graces gratis datae do not form part of the supernatural organism of the Christian life as do sanctifying grace and the infused virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit nor can they be classified under actual grace.

2. They are what we may call "epiphenomenon" of the life of grace and may even be granted to one who lacks sanctifying grace.

3. They are not and cannot be the object of merit but are strictly gratuitous.

4. Since they do not form part of the supernatural organism, they are not contained in the virtualities of sanctifying grace, and hence the normal development of the life of grace could never produce or demand them.

5. The graces gratis datae require in each instance the direct intervention of God.

From these conclusions concerning the nature of the graces gratis datae we can formulate the following norms to serve as a guide for the spiritual director:

1. It would be temerarious in the normal course of events to desire or to ask God for graces gratis datae or charisms. They are not necessary for salvation nor for sanctification, and they require the direct intervention of God. Far more precious is an act of love than a charsimatic gift.

2. In the event that God does grant a grace gratis datae, it is not a proof that a person is in the state of grace; much less can the gratuitous grace be taken as a sign that the individual is holy.

3. The graces gratis datae do not sanctify those who receive them. And if anyone in mortal sin were to receive one of these graces, he or she could possibly remain in a sinful state even after the gratuitous gift or charism has been received.

4. These graces are not given primarily for the benefit of the individual who receives them but for the good of others and for the edification of the Church.

5. Since the graces gratis datae are something independent of sanctity, it is not necessary that all the saints should have received them. St. Augustine gives the reason for this when he says that they were not given to all the saints lest weak souls should be deceived into thinking that such extraordinary gifts were more important than the good works that are meritorious of eternal life.

But one should not exaggerate this doctrine. The graces gratis datae may indirectly or by redundance be beneficial to the one who receives them; it depends on the spirit with which such gifts are accepted. These graces do not necessarily require or prove the state of sanctifying grace in the person who receives them, but it seems that God would not normally bestow such graces on persons in mortal sin.

Most of the ancient theologians accepted the names and classification of the graces gratis datae as they were given by St. Paul but modern theologians and exegetes generally maintain that St. Paul did not intend to give a complete and definitive list, but was referring especially to the charisms God bestows on those who are engaged in the apostolate and ministry of the Church. There are other charisms not enumerated by St. Paul.
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#17
(05-08-2017, 01:52 AM)Julia Augusta Wrote:
(05-06-2017, 10:32 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Something must have happened to you to just drop 17 years of Buddhist practice even if it didn't involve visions. As you know, Buddhism is fundamentally a different religion than Christianity. What was it that brought you out?

Nothing dramatic happened although my return to the Church occurred two months ago, and rather quickly. Overnight, I decided to abandon my Buddhist practices. I woke up one day and realised that Jesus is the Way and the Life, and that the Catholic Church is His Church on earth - not Anglicans or any one of the other 31 flavours of ice cream protestantism.

I have been thinking deeply for years about whether Buddhism is the way to everlasting happiness and the end of suffering. I meditated a lot, went to retreats, but there was always something lacking. Occasionally I would still pray to God (which means, I wasn't really a Buddhist all those years because Buddhists don't believe in God).

What I can say is that a deep peace has overcome me, a serenity that I never had in all the years of sitting on my ass meditating on a cushion. I think it's the Holy Spirit. And I have been praying the Rosary everyday since my return to the Church. It's working.

You guys are right. I don't need any kinds of miracles or visions or visitations from angels. My faith is very strong and I feel our Lord right beside me every minute of my day.

Interesting. My own conversion to a real belief in Jesus Christ was fairly quickly, but I struggled to give up Buddhism entirely for awhile. I had invested so much into it,I mean, everyone close to me knew I was a Buddhist; I could quote the Pali Canon, and I even had a Buddha statue in my room. There was a time I seriously considered going to Wat Nanachat in NE Thailand in order to try the monastic life!

I too am way happier as a Christian, and way more at peace. I too used to pray even as a Buddhist , although it felt like a hoarse cry into the Void at times.

The biggest influences on my eventual full acceptance of Christian life was Thomas Mertons The Sign of Jonas and Hieromonk Seraphim Rose's Nihilism and biography. The rest is history.

Ultimately I chose Rome more because my family were cultural Catholics and it was all I knew. My heart was and remains Orthodox though. Protestantism was never even an option; it seemed so absurd to me that Christianity only got things right in the 16th century, and that stuff like sacramental, icons or the Real Presnce were false or just symbols. Interestingly enough, growing up with grandparents who were nominal Catholics I never, ever struggled with most of the concepts of sacramental Christianity that some converts struggle with.


Looking back now I wonder why I ever even dabbled in Buddhism.
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#18
(05-12-2017, 06:11 PM)richgr Wrote: as the late Fr. Jordan Aumann says in summarizing the tradition, "Like the graces gratis datae, [these gifts] could be given for the good of others or they could be interpreted as a divine witness to the sanctity of the individual for the edification of the Church." So either way, it's for the edification of others.

Thank you for explaining this. And there I was fervently praying for an apparition from the Blessed Virgin or Our Lord. When I heard about these experiences (for example, Ratisbonne, Roy Schoeman (also a Jewish convert), the Fatima children) it seems to me that being in the presence of Our Lady or Our Lord would be such a totally amazing experience, something you would just never forget for the rest of your life. People who have been visited by the Virgin Mary say that she is the most beautiful person they've ever seen, has the most beautiful voice, and that they feel completely loved and at peace in her presence. Sigh.

Anyway I have been praying the Rosary everyday, not to get an apparition, but because I know it makes the Blessed Virgin and Jesus happy! They're already unhappy with the way our world is -- how wicked people are, how many Catholics like me (before I came back to the Church) have abandoned the Faith, how many others refuse to acknowledge the Resurrection, etc. Whatever little bits I can do to gladden the hearts of our Lady and our Lord must count for something.
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#19
My 'conversion experience' was personally moving, if not mystical. I tend to intellectualise things. I was reading a book that countered my last argument against Rome. I walked into the Chapel, fell to my knees in front of my Lord and King in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and began to cry. I stood up a Catholic! That was almost 35 years ago, and I can still feel the joy!
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