Thursday, March 26, 2015

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170. Jesus Christ seen/heard over centuries. Part two

 

 

4. The mother of St Augustine, saw a young man, which I presume was Jesus Christ, in a dream. I have already narrated the dream in a previous blog (154). However for the sake of continuity I will briefly narrate it here:

 

 

            “For she saw herself standing on a certain wooden rule, and a shining youth coming towards her, cheerful and smiling upon her, herself grieving, and overwhelmed with grief. But he having (in order to instruct, as is their wont not to be instructed) enquired of her the causes of her grief and daily tears, and she answering that she was bewailing my perdition, he bade her rest contented, and told her to look and observe, “That where she was, there was I also.”

 

5. St Teresa of Avila had several talks and visions of Jesus, sometimes both together (1). I have written about some of them in my blogs, 74-78. I will now narrate most of them. However to understand some locutions/visions I will have to describe the context. Her first locution of Christ was as follows:

 

“While I was wondering how in Thy justice Thou couldst ordain that so many of Thy faithful handmaidens, as I have said, should not be given the graces and favors which thou didst bestow on me, being such as I was, Thou didst answer me, Lord saying ‘ Serve thou Me, and meddle not with this’. This was the first words which I ever heard Thee speak to me so it made me very much afraid.”

 

She describes her vision of Jesus, for the first time in her book (not necessarily her first vision of Jesus):

 

‘ I was in the company of a certain person, right at the beginning of my acquaintance with her, when the Lord was pleased to make me realize that these friendships were not good for me, and to warn me and enlighten my great blindness. Christ revealed Himself to me, in an attitude of great sternness, and showed me there was in this that displeased Him. I saw Him with the eyes of the soul more clearly than I could ever have seen with the eyes of the body; and it made such an impression on me that, although it is now more than twenty six years ago, I seem to have Him present with me still. I was greatly astonished and upset about it and never wanted to see that woman again.’

 

Jesus Christ revealed Himself to her in stages:

 

‘I had the following experience. I was at prayers of glorious St Peter when I saw Christ at my side___or, to put it better, I was conscious of Him, for neither with the eyes of the body nor those of the mind did I see anything. I thought He was quite close to me, and speaking to me. I was very much afraid, and did nothing but weep…..’

‘One day, when I was at prayer, the Lord was pleased to reveal nothing but His hands, the beauty of which was so great as to be indescribable’.

‘A few days later I also saw that Divine face, which seem to leave me completely absorbed.’

One year, on St Paul’s day, when I was at mass, I saw the most complete representation of this most sacred Humanity, just as a picture of His resurrection body, in very great beauty and majesty.

Although this vision was imaginary, I never saw it, or any other vision, with the eyes of the body, but only with the eyes of the soul.’

‘……even in its whiteness and radiance alone, it exceeds all that we can imagine. It is not a radiance which dazzles, but a soft whiteness and infused radiance which, without wearying the eyes, causes them the greatest delight; nor are they wearied by the brightness they see in seeing the Divine beauty. So different from any earthly light……..by comparison with it, the brightness of our son seems quite dim……..It is as if we were to look at a very clear stream, in a bed of crystal, reflecting the sun’s rays’

 

She was never able to see His eyes. ‘His gaze has such power that my soul cannot endure it and remain in so sublime a rapture that it loses this beauteous vision…’

‘Almost invariably the Lord showed Himself to me in His resurrection body…..Only occasionally, to strengthen me when I was in tribulation, did he show me His wounds, and then sometime He would appear as He was on Cross and sometime as in Garden. On a few occasions I saw Him wearing crown of thorns and sometime He would also be carrying the Cross.’

 

She describes a mysterious light: “ For the light we see here and the other light are both light, there is no comparison between the two and the brightness of the sun seems quite dull if compared with the other.”

“ Once when I had been for more than an hour in this state, and the Lord had shown me wonderful things, and it seemed as if He were not going to leave me, He said to me, ‘ See, daughter, what those who are against me lose: do not fail to tell them of it’”

“ One day, when I was hearing Mass, at the elevation of the Host, I saw Christ on the Cross. He spoke certain words to me, which He told me to repeat it to the Rector for his comfort, and he added other things to warn him of what was to come and to remind him of what he had suffered for him and how he too must prepare to suffer. This brought him great comfort and gave him courage and everything has since happened as the Lord told me it would.”

 

 

For a period of time she was assailed with doubts that her locutions and visions were the work of devil. Her confessor and very pious and learned men of the church were also of the same opinion or had mixed feelings. During such periods Christ would comfort her. Here are some examples:

 

‘I have sometimes___often, indeed___found myself in this kind of affliction, but never, I think, have I been in such straits as I was then. I was like this for four or five hours, and neither in heaven nor on earth was there any comfort for me. When I was in this terrible state of exhaustion……….these words alone were sufficient to remove it and give me complete tranquility: “Be not afraid, daughter, for it is I and I will not forsake thee: fear not”’

On another occasion, when she was worried about a certain matter, the Lord said to her; “Why dost thou fear? Knowst thou not that I am most powerful? I will fulfill what I have promised thee”

 

“Once, when I was very much troubled about this, the Lord asked me what I was afraid of, for only two things could happen: those who believed it was His work would praise Him, and those who did not would condemn me without my having done wrong and that either course would be advantageous to me and therefore I should not be troubled. This calmed me a great deal and whenever I think of it, it still comforts me”

 

‘Once when I was struggling with the same doubts that I described above, as to whether these visions were from God or no, the Lord appeared to me and explained sternly: “Oh children of men, how long will ye be hard of heart”’

 

(1). The life of Teresa of Jesus, the autobiography of St Teresa of Avila

 

To be continued