Friday, June 05, 2009

Don't listen to me.



I'm often mistaken... a few reflections...
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Another reason I published yesterday's reflection on mystical phenomena is because I was looking for a connection between diabolic influence and perversion, but I got sidetracked on to mystical phenomena instead. After thinking about it, even though gay hostility towards Catholic teaching can get to be extremely hateful and vindictive, filled with obscenities and contemptuous slander, it seems to me that fallen human nature is quite capable of atrocities on it's own, even without diabolic influence. So I put that question to rest for now, although a part of me suspects the devil in the details.
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However, pondering the phenomena associated with Rose Ferron and similar mystics kind of gives me the creeps as well, which may explain why I am more attracted to the spirituality of St. Therese and John of the Cross. Thankfully, when I first returned to the Church I had as a confessor, a holy Capuchin, Fr. Gabriel Diefenbach; a very straight forward no nonsense kind of guy whose counsel based upon his book, Common Mystic Prayer helped me avoid a lot of frivolous detours in the spiritual life. (Fr. Gabriel was very traditional and also the favorite of the Carmelite nuns.)
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Within that particular Carmel resided a nun who considered herself a mystic, she received locutions and stuff like that. I think she really did, but as we know, one can be deceived by one's own revelations - I'm not saying that she was however. Anyway, she is no longer a member of the community, having left to continue the reform begun by St. Teresa of Avila. (I know!) Since then, she has moved about the country founding hermitages - although they do not seem to survive.
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I contrast that nun with my spiritual sister, Mother Paula, who died last year. While the mystic made herself available to all comers for spiritual direction and an occasional deliverance prayer in the parlor, M. Paula was much more simple, and hidden. (I'm sure I've written about this before.) The mystic seemed absorbed by mystical phenomena. She lived on a steady diet of mystical writing and private revelations - nothing essentially wrong with that of course, but it may have left her vulnerable to delusion as well as leading her to place too much reliance upon her own inspiration and messages, if you know what I mean. Towards the end of her monastic life I suspect she wanted to be a director of souls, an apostolate Carmelite enclosure would ultimately restrict. Indeed she knew all the great mystical writers, Garrigou-Lagrange, Tanquerey, Eugene Marie of the Child Jesus, and so on. But she had to be in charge.
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On the other hand, M. Paula found her soul's nourishment in the Scriptures and liturgy - especially the Eucharist, while her spiritual reading mostly consisted of the spirituality of St. John and Teresa, and most especially the little way of St. Therese. Her soul was simple and uncomplicated, but very wise.

3 comments:

  1. two excellent post, Terry.

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  2. I just spoke with some one about this nun since I was wondering what ever became of her...believe it's the same nun, um, sister. Even as a child, I thought it was odd she came out of the cloister, but what did I know! I think it was a difficult time to be a nun back then and leaving the cloister may have just muddied the waters. But, so true with all of us.

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  3. If it is of God, it will "bear fruit." If not--her work is not likely to survive. God has a way of working these things out. Sometimes these people are just seeking attention, or are mentally ill.

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