Thursday, June 04, 2009

Extraordinary mystical phenomena.

Revelations contrary to faith and morals must be absolutely rejected. God cannot contradict Himself, nor can He reveal things opposed to what He teaches through His Church.
A day or two ago a friend emailed me with a link to Rose Ferron, an early 20th century mystic from Rhode Island. I had been aware of Little Rose, a stigmatic for several years. She is from a class known as ecstatics - many such souls are believed to have lived for several years in a nearly constant state of ecstasy, subsisting on the Holy Eucharist alone, and some bore the stigmata and suffered the Passion regularly. Many claimed to have received revelations they recounted to others, some foretold future events, the need for penance, and so on. Such souls were considered to be voluntary victims of Divine Justice. I mentioned to my friend that this type of soul seems to be out of 'fashion' as it were, since we hear of so few, while in the 17th, 18th and early 20th centuries there seemed to be a profusion of victim souls.
Some of these persons have been recognized by the Church, although none have been canonized for the mystical phenomena they experienced. A relative few of those canonized received messages which found approval by the Church: The message of Divine Mercy, revelations of the Miraculous Medal, Lourdes, and Fatima are examples. The cult surrounding Rose Ferron was at one time forbidden, although now I believe private devotion is permitted. I know oddball groups have formed around her - one such claiming Ukrainian Orthodox affiliation. As such, this group canonized Rose. Morbid fascination can lead one into error and away from the Church, which is why the Church has rules governing discernment of private revelations, in order to guard the faithful from error.
"Since the devil apes divine works, diabolical phenomena are known to occur at times among the mystics." (All quotations from Tanquerey.) "A revelation may be true in the main and yet contain some incidental errors." Thus, in private revelations the errors of the times as regards physical or historical science may get included in the interpretation of the revelations. So too the prejudices and training of the spiritual directors of the seers can affect the message. Details involving historical errors may also be introduced, sometimes arising from the seer's meditation or intelligence, often contradicting historical documents or revelations of the saints.
Private revelations may not only be wrongly interpreted, they "may be unwittingly altered by the seer himself as he attempts to explain, transcribe, record, or dictate the experiences to another. St. Brigid realized herself that at times she retouched her revelations, the better to explain them; such added explanations are not always free from errors. It is acknowledged today that the scribes who wrote the revelations of Mary of Agreda and Catherine Emmerich modified them to an extent difficult to determine." (Spiritual Life, Tanquerey, Book III, Chapter III.)

1 comment:

  1. Terry, we have so many approved mystics--no need to try to find more, unapproved mystics. People run from place to place trying to find some "new" mystical phenomena--when we have Jesus--right in our own neighboorhood church, just waiting for us to visit Him.


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