Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christ's Mass Day and Octave; and on Ebulliance

So we take our suffering bodies (and minds, emotions, souls--whatever is suffering) through Christ's Mass Day and Christ's Mass Octave: days and nights stretched out before us on that road God prepared for us through this desert.

"Silent Night" is more real than ever before, this Christ's Mass. This hermit-victimsoul made choices and stuck with them, by God's grace. The choice was to practice the adopted rule of life, and God brought what He desired in form of hospitality.

Still, there remains the years of push, of negativity and criticism, of sorrows that are being touched by Jesus, then melted by His warmth, then flowing out His wound like a stream coursing through the desert but a short while before evaporating. All that strife, struggle, worries, effort to go and do and be--all is somehow deleted. The soul and body, mind, emotions--they rest.

Was reading (even the reading is slow and still, then sleep comes) toward the end of a short book on Teresa Higginson, Servant of God. Her letters display a rather highly enthused soul; she writes floridly, excitedly. I find myself skimming over, but appreciate the tension she feels, the urgency to express what is really inexpressible.

She is an ecstatic, and she writes with mention of stigmata (brief instances, for the most part), of bilocation (not often), of levitating and of being rigid in ecstasy. The point of her relatively few letters to her spiritual director include these aspects but mostly her tremendous love for God as well as the desire to have the devotion to His Sacred Head as Seat of Wisdom, be known and practiced.

The Church continues to investigate her, I learned upon doing some research. In the meantime, she is a new friend, and I do ponder the Sacred Head--and comprehend that all parts of Christ lend Themselves to our loving veneration and emulation. I had never thought much about Christ's actual Mind, His Will and Thoughts--from the standpoint of His Incarnate Mind. I am just now truly delving into what it is to be within His Sacred Heart. But it does make logical sense, and loving sense, to delve into the realities of His Head--Christ's holy brain! Yes, He had a brain, and from His Brain came the messages through His nervous system to His Body, to His Heart, to His voice and tongue, and eyes and ears and nose and fingertips!

It was His Mind which registered pain and suffering as feeling and emotion, and which gave reasoning power to His Sacred Intellect and Will. It was His Intellect which could compose parables to teach others His Way and of the Father and Holy Spirit. And He did all this by Love--the Love of His Sacred Heart and all of Him, for He is God and God is Love.

One detractor of Teresa Higginson commented that she suffered from being an hysteric, and thus dismissed her basically as an emotionally driven woman whose manifestations came from over-excitability. This same detractor dismissed St. Padre Pio and Therese Neumann, also.

While Teresa Higginson's writing style and self-expression differ from that of other saints' writings, it may be due to her not having matured through disciplined spiritual direction, as many of the mystics had the formation in religious orders. There they learned to hone the mystical phenomenon, to subject the senses to the furnace, and to detach, to put all in ordered love. They learned not to allow ebullience to boil and overflow the pot but to keep the lid on and submit themselves to a simmer: steady, slow, yet cooking all the same.

Today, victim souls of the Sacred Heart must learn this self-discipline of the senses. If one does not want to read the Collected Works of St. John of the Cross or Tanquerey's The Spiritual Life: a Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology, then pray for other assistance in various books and Scripture and spiritual direction to form the soul in ways beneficial in suffering, in subduing tendencies to excitability. The senses can become a distraction, and they do not aid in the work of suffering and in the soul's desire for union with God--for this union's goal is not for the soul but for the soul to all the better and to more perfectly glorify God.

Jesus exemplified this submission of the senses, of all of Him, during His agony in the garden. His body erupted in flow of blood from the external tissues; His agony came forth in this silent but visible sign, whereas all emotion was in check, within.

The Virgin Mary exemplifies such equanimity of body and soul. Yes, this is that word: longanimity, and it is well for victim souls to possess this fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Yet, it is quite understandable how Teresa Higginson would write with ebulliance to her spiritual director of such marvelous manifestations of the love of Christ. It must have been frustrating wanting so for others to comprehend what she had experienced. The next step is St. John of the Cross' explanation of why and how to move beyond the excitability, for it can be a stumbling block to the very soul which experiences the wonders--and is a stumbling block then to others who may be distracted. Yet at a very human level: who wouldn't be excited by such imminent closeness with God? Do not the angels tremble at His Omnipotence; did not the Israelites fear death at the prospect of seeing God's Face?

Moses walked down the mountain; he did not run. He remained possessed of God and by God, but possessed in peace. Victim souls do well to remain calm in suffering, no matter the wonder and awe of the numinous, of God's Face in the midst of agony where He is seen and experienced most intimately.


Blogger Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

i used to have a great devotion to her..kinda got me thinking..God bless

5:13 AM  
Blogger zenith said...

Yes, I think I know what you mean about how it can wane--and one should be cautious. My confessor had not heard of her, but he said the way I expressed the devotion regarding Christ's intellect and will, in His Incarnate Body, that it seems nothing wrong with adoring Christ's Mind--as really, all about Christ is worthy of Adoration! However, he cautioned not to be out of balance on any one devotion. The Sacred Heart devotion expresses love, which all can easily relate with. But it is a new frontier in a way, for me to ponder what Jesus' Mind was like, that He had an intellect and will (all in union with God since He is God and Man). I am trying to consider how He thought and spoke, and how He reacted emotionally and when and for what reasons, and to pray that my mind, my intellect and will which make up my soul, and my emotions be one with His.

Is this sort of what you think about it? I can't say I would want to be like Teresa, although I consider her now a friend in Christ. I just do not want to be that excitable, for I can see that it can be an obstacle to others. We must keep our eyes focused on Christ on the Cross, keep ourselves tucked within His Sacred Heart (which is informed by His Sacred Head!), and not hop-scotch. All the devotedness can be enhanced through learning what the mystics have to suggest--the ones approved by the Church. The others being yet investigated can be friends, for like us, the jury is still out on them. God bless you, too!

7:52 AM  

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