Tract By Kellie Everts
Which explains the deep dark night all souls must go through before the mystical marriage to God
The mystical death happens prior to the mystical marriage. This does not happen suddenly, but like normal death due to age or disease it occurs slowly, with life ebbing away.
In my case I was stricken - almost but not quite sick - on Nov. 16th 1981, and until Feb. 13, 1982 (when I beheld the Beatific Vision) there was no Light. On Feb. 15th this period of dark night and mystical death officially ended with the mystical marriage to God.
My dark night lasted from that period in November to Feb.13th, dying to all things but God, dying every way but physically.
After the 15th I was transfigured or transformed, a new and final rebirth, radically advanced from the rebirth when Christ is first born in the soul. This was the completion of the united mystical state, the time when God takes you over not only spiritually but also physically.
It seems to me your purgatorial state is over at that time, and if you died at that moment you would go straight to heaven. Perhaps as you keep living you accrue more sins and faults, but never, I believe, is one capable of mortal sin after that time.
The reason: No longer you live, but God in you, truly. And God who is truly living in your soul completely cannot be extinguished.
Before the mystical marriage, as its logical antecedent, is the gift of contemplation. It is the invitation to this higher life soon to be unfolded. This gift is like a trumpet call, which begins the final journey into God, or introversion into the soul where God is.
I did not immediately go into seclusion upon receiving the gift (Easter Thursday, 1981, lasting four whole days), but I had the vision that would propel me to do so. My seclusion was a few months off.
There was also another vision, which I cannot place in all this. It relates both to the gift of contemplation and mystical marriage.
On November 3, 1981, I was infused with four gifts I was praying for several weeks: Union of wills, memory, wisdom and understanding.
Shortly thereafter, as I mentioned, I entered the great darkness. It seems that many of the greatest graces of Light are soon followed by darkness and pain.
To explain these visions which then follow darkness and pain I would say this:
You see what it is you will reach. You see the beauty, the truth, the way and so on by an intellectually infused vision. Then it fades away because the "infusion" or its light has worn off and you must now reach or develop into it to be able to sustain it within yourself on a permanent basis. This is because your faculties have not yet developed to hold it but for a split second, a few minutes, a few days, depending on what it is .
So logically we see me seeing "all" of God (and myself and the world)
In the infused gift of contemplation, then taking many months, almost a year, before I could digest and assimilate this vision into my natural being. The same principal extends to the other gifts and infused virtues to some degree I saw them first, then had to "pay" for them.
It is like seeing the prize, then fighting to receive it, but the prize is already given before you do the work!
Contemplation pointed the way. It should be defined here what it is. It is not the ability to think or meditate in a rational way, but to see, at once, not in part the whole picture that the human intellect is able to see up to that point with the aid of much grace. Contemplation, the word, has many meanings, but here I am referring to it in only the specific meaning known as the specific gift. This has been best defined by Delacroix which I take from "Mysticism," by Evelyn Underhill: Dutton paperback, pg. 330:
"...The subject ceases to perceive himself in the multiplicity and division of his general consciousness. He is raised above himself. A deeper and a purer sought substitutes itself for the normal self. In this state, in which consciousness of I-hood and consciousness of the world disappear, the mystic is conscious of being in immediate relation with god himself; of participating in divinity. Contemplation installs a method of being and of knowing. Moreover these two things tend at bottom to become one. The mystic has more and more the impression of being that which he knows, and knowing that which he is." ('Etudes sur le Mysticisms, p. 370. Delacroix.)
I am sure that this miracle of contemplation manifests differently in each soul even this particular, specific gift herein described.
In my case I saw a reality of myself, God, myself in relation to God and all things I was involved in at once. I saw my whole life, past and pre sent, in a totally new, clear, sharp perspective. I suddenly discerned what was good, bad and in between in it. I saw how all my good works in the past were made imperfect by self-interest. I was basically good, not having malice, but there was still that taint of selfishness in all my works.
I saw instantly that the only way I could remove that taint now was to seclude myself and break all ties with people. It was at the point of people - wanting their love, wanting involvement, that I fell short. It was applause, recognition on an earthly level that tripped me up, even in all my good works.
And I saw how easily active work could trip anyone up - even a saint. By its very nature it was prone to draw one into faults. Seclusion at this point was the only answer.
I saw a grim picture of the world in itself. I saw that the economic system of the world, the entire world, was permeated by the spirit of evil to its very core. There was no goodness in the world whatsoever, just the stream of perfect goodness that came from God and made it palatable, but I saw the frightening aspect of the world for what it really is as a place devoid of God and goodness.
I saw Satan controlling the entire world - as strange as it may seem, as fanatical as it seems to ordinary ears and I fail in my attempts to describe this but I saw the manifestation of Satan, his works, his poison, permeating the entire structure of the world. And not only that, Satan's hypnotic evil spirit was everywhere, deluding all people except those in contemplation or in the spiritual/mystical realm. Even good people who had not mysticism were engulfed and swept over by this evil spirit most of the time.
They blindly followed Truth, because they had been taught it, but of themselves, they could not discern good and evil. That is to say that the average person, good, virtuous, pious, without the benefit of training in religion, would be taken over and swept away by the evil spirit!
I recoiled from this evil system. I saw its dangers to anyone, but especially myself since now I saw the plan or delusion.
It is like catching a criminal in his crime. Once you spot him, he wants to kill you. I saw that Satan would do anything to kill a person like me, who saw him for what he was and had done - that most evil and monstrous criminal of all time. One like me, who saw, was very rare and posed a threat to his kingdom.
I also saw quickly how he - Satan - worked best through individuals, for it is so easy to delude and sway mortals in their state.
How many dangers I had already been subjected to, how many times he had tried to kill me and I was only saved by God, and for what? Was it worth it, all this active labor, filled with taint, when I could have been contemplating?
Withdrawal was the only answer. It wasn't only direct attacks that demons would use against me in the world, it was also the indirect slaughter of dissipation and stress. Dying fast or slow, doesn't make a difference. (After all, aren't most diseases caused by stress?) And all this work, in the world, which I already saw in the vision was imperfect, was causing me a great deal of exhaustion, dissipation and distraction from all that was perfect.
You see the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of Satan, and how all commerce in the world puts one in danger of contact or domination by the evil spirit. Just innocent commerce - nothing criminal - because you are dealing with something that has permeated every institution of man, even the churches - all the churches. Wherever there is unclean, unregenerate mankind, there is Satan and corruption.
Then you see how safe you are when you are alone in that the handles that Satan touches you by removed. He is almost helpless against a soul that secludes itself for religious reasons. He can tempt, but he cannot use the world and other mortals against that soul - which removes innumerable handles for him to trip you up and destroy you.
But this seclusion must be as complete as possible for the cleansing of your soul to be complete. You must not be alone pining away for worldly liberty. You must bask in the sunshine and desire of God. Your mind cannot be contaminated by memories and unrequited desires.
Besides all the other bad things, you see the waste, the time-consuming waste, that it is to be active in the world.
You must now work on your soul. Distraction from the soul and God saps your energy, confuses and distorts this now presiding interest in God.
This "second" or "third" call that I now had was greater than the second a call to greater perfection. When I was first called to contemplation in 1971, I unfortunately did not heed it too long. I was pushed by someone to enter the active life. I gained merit, but this call to contemplation was above the ministry I had been doing.
It was a greater sacrifice to give up my clients, my spiritual children, than to hold on to them. It was a greater thing to give up proselytizing at this point than to go on preaching. I saw that my daily attempts at conversions were not worth the efforts; I could do more now. I could do more in my present state by praying than by talking.
Most people I talked to didn't want God. They were merely wasting my time. We work like that with averages. We talk to a hundred to try and get one. I now saw that wasn't good enough. I had better things to do with my time.
Perhaps, in one state, one needs that kind of a cross. I believe for some it is necessary. I no longer needed to teach, to convert or pray for physical healing.
Soon the Lord would tell me to drop all my individual clients, spiritual children and forget all.
When I first began to withdraw and later entered the dark night/mystical death I had no idea how long it would last.
That is one of its greatest tortures - not knowing. God does not tell you the future. But the vision does tell you what to do imminently. It is frightening to think that such a state may last a long time. It is similar to solitary confinement in a sort of unpleasant dungeon. Not only do you not know how long it will last, you don't know what's on the other side.
I would explain the need for withdrawal in one way: You must develop the interior faculties, which needs total concentration. They are yet weak, undeveloped. You must put all your time/attention to them. You can not do this in the active life because your energies are elsewhere.
Your mind cannot be in two dimensions at once - the eternal and the now. To be in the mystical state you must be opened on a deeper level. That means the unconscious level - or usually dormant level. All mysticism comes from the deeper levels. All the visions, both of senses and intellect, come from this deeper level. You cannot be so open in the world.
In the world a different set of senses is operating senses having to do with the earth plane, the here and now. If you open up totally on the earth plane or non-godly plane it is frought with dangers. You can get hurt in all kinds of ways through being besieged by the wrong vibrations or impressions, both the natural and demonic. It is bad enough to manage these delicate mecha[text missing]
The mystical death is absolutely necessary before the mystical marriage. The second cannot happen before the first; there are not shortcuts.
I know there are those who think they can get there through studying and knowing. There is no such thing.
Mystical marriage is not only a mental/spiritual transformation, it digs right down into the roots of personhood. How can I explain that you are touched physically by God, and that every cell, every pore of your body is transformed? You don't do that by studying!
This death is losing. I know very little about clinical death from an experimental or studious point of view, but what I do know about it coincides with the mystical experience. In physical death you feel yourself slipping away, losing, in a sickening, helpless way. You lose the accuracy and strength of your senses and control over them. You feel yourself sinking, and into what? It is a horrid fear, because you don't know where you are going.
And as I said, in mystical death you also don't know what's on the other side because you have never gone that route. You can imagine, wish, but you don't know.
You feel yourself dying in all ways physically and mentally. That is, you lose your health and strength, and you lose your drive, your willpower. You have no desire which usually spurs one on. To say you are depressed would be an understatement. You are depressed in a unique way which no therapy of any kind can get you out of.
(When I was in the dark night I avoided everyone. Nevertheless, people saw me on the street, and later, gave me their feedback when I returned into the world. They said "you looked like you were paying for something," and "you didn't look like yourself." Of course, that vision was augmented by the fact that not only did I not care what anyone thought about me, I purposefully wore the ugliest, most concealing clothes I had in my possession, hoping to ward people away. And when someone inadvertently still had the desire to approach me and speak to me, I was filled with disgust, absolutely revolted.)
One good way of putting where you are at is to say you are leaving the sense world, just as the dying leave the sense world and enter another plane.
Some people get very sick during the dark night. I didn't. I did not feel well, but I was not incapacitated to the point of staying in bed. But normal tasks took superhuman effort because the energy level and the willpower are almost non existent.
At this time my mental chastity forbid me to even talk to men in general, and attractive men in particular. I recall getting a phone call from a male model who was the most desirable man from the physical point of view. He insisted on meeting me. I insisted just as strongly I was unable to see him. This was abnormal behavior for me. My revulsion extended toward both sexes.
Part of the state of introversion during the dark night is an intense vision of what is wrong. That is to say, you see the dark side of human nature for what it is; your own human nature and that of others. Just like you saw evil permeating all things in the world, you also see the evil in all motives, the impurity, the taint.
Suddenly the taint in all things and people takes over your vision. Your own is bad enough. But you can't bear the sight of everyone's. At least you yourself, although you're a sinner, you know you love God. What of these others who don't even admit sin? What of their lust, materialism, phoniness, hypocrisy?
You just can't stand the sight of sin any more, and you see it everywhere, in all invitations, in all manifestations in all phone calls, in contacts, in people staring at you., What are they thinking? You know what they might be thinking! You can almost feel it like a ray of evil trying to touch you.
Physical chastity is also very strong at this time. You have no problem keeping away from people and your mental state deprives you of a sex drive.
I am not saying it is impossible to be stimulated. I am only saying that a person who has been practicing chastity and wants to keep it has no trouble doing so at this time - the mystical darkness helps. So as long as you don't look for stimulation, your condition makes the vow of chastity easy. You may be sexually impotent at this time. Chastity principle holds true for all things. Slowly is ebbing away.
You lose your identity. Identity is what you are in your own eyes and your image in the world. You may have several identities and careers. All this will crumble to pieces and nothing must remain in your mind.
It is the intention of the dark night to remove from you all that is not God, all not of truth. Everything fades from your mind of the earth; your careers, your roles in life, your relationships.
The reason for this could be explained in terms of security and new identity. You found your security, ego and identity in earthly things. It took your whole life to build these up. Now in just a short time, what took a lifetime to build will be torn down. Your ego will be torn down. You will be a kind of nothingness. You will no longer identify with anything in the past, no matter how strong it was. Now your ego and identification will be found only in God. I am not saying in the Things of God: I am saying in God him/herself.
And before you can find this new security you must lose the old or become insecure in all earth things. (Just the opposite site of what the world teaches you!)
This new security/existence/place you have in God is reached by plumbing your own depths, your inner core down to its center. There God is alone, unmasked.
Before you find this depth you must leave all else behind; every last vestige of ego, identity, desire and attachment having anything to do with your old life. That is why aloneness is important. It takes time to accomplish this and time to forget your life.
It is a washing away, a removal. You are being forced and also willingly cooperating with the removal of all things from your mind, heart and memory. (How can you stop wanting all the old things when you keep remembering them?)
The slipping and ebbing away of all things is a disgusting and violent experience. Confusion is strong here because no one knows for certain what is happening.
I, fortunately, had studied mystical theology (on my own) and knew vaguely what dark night of the soul meant. I had read about a cleansing, purging when even faith is threatened. (I guess it is easy to believe when times are good, hard to believe when all goes wrong. This is the time of "all wrong.")
I clung strongly to my faith at this time and felt it strengthening more than ever. Thank God I had knowledge. Pity those who have no idea what they are going through!
(Is it possible, though, for a mystic not to have any idea what she is going through, when the vocation of a mystic is to know through love? I believe a mystic always has some idea of what is going on, though that idea may be vague and confused. I like it when St. Thomas of Aquinas says it is our obligation to study the things of God!)
Speaking of vague and confused, you probably think I knew I was in the dark night of the soul leading to marriage. I didn't. I had had an experience similar to marriage in February, 1980. Thinking back, I realize it was a union of closeness or "trial" marriage, but not the real one. I did not know the big wedding was still ahead of me. (I am not referring to the betrothal I had in January, 1978. There was no mistaking it was the actual mystical betrothal.)
Literature on mysticism is severely lacking. There is more scholastic literature, which is mulling over the experiences of the mystics, than there is fresh fact. we are still interpreting writings of hundreds of years ago as some of the best things ever written. Namely, for example, the writings of Dante, revelations of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bonaventure, St. Gertrude the Great, all of the 1200's. Then in the 1500's there are St John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. My own favorite for study is one little known to the academic world; Van. Mary Of Agreda and her Mystical City of God.
Much of this literature is antiquated in expression although it is well translated and explained by scholars. Still, there is much modernization needed to apply the experiences of the mystics to our experience today in the light of what we know through psychology and medical science, technology and all the rest.
Mysticism is probably the least known, although the most important, of all sciences. It is confusing, even when one studies mystical science, because each soul follows its own path.
Of course, each religion or discipline has its own set of symbols to try and chart the way. Even if one follows one's own religion, in my case Catholicism, there is still much difference in the individual experience.
Symbols are only symbols. They represent what is happening inside and outside to try and explain something in essence. Not only each religion but each culture has its own symbols, and culture changes through the ages, so that not all the symbols of Dante's time nor even of the 1600's, nor even of the 1800's, can easily apply to today. So, no matter how much you study the treasure of mystical theology, you are bound to get confused.
You are writing your own map as you travel along life's way of mysticism.
I will give an example: The gift of contemplation. How did I know I had received it? I knew I had received something. What I saw and felt, but what was it?
When you get the vision there is no announcement: "This is the gift of contemplation."
I finally found out what it was by reading Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism, especially the description by Delacroix.
But how would a Moslem explain the gift of contemplation? How would a Jew deal with the Holy Trinity within the soul? The Holy Trinity is there, in all souls by grace, but how do Pon-Trinitarian religions explain it?
Various mystical gifts come to all mystics of all religions, but do they all explain them, and in what way? Are there some things we are missing from Yoga?
Certainly, all religions could benefit from some of the great revelations elsewhere.
Let us get together and establish a science that all people of all religions can understand. Mysticism is mysticism, like psychology is psychology. It can be, to some degree, non denominational by taking away denominational terms. (For instance, praying to God instead of Christ for rebirth. You are still reborn when you do so.)
Although there is such a disparity from soul to soul, I would like to make a general guideline according to my own experience confirmed also by some of what I have read.
First, of course, there is the rebirth. This is the little rebirth although it seems (perhaps) big at the time. My own rebirth was in 1968, but I hardly felt it at all on the sensible, emotional plane. There was no consolation, just a hidden work of God within my soul and body which began to make things right.
I only felt a big, powerful influx of grace during my second conversion in 1971, when a faith healer healed me of a severe oppression.
After 1971 I began my period of illumination - the second step. In some people illumination starts right after the "little" rebirth, if their rebirth is an upheaval, or in fact, not little at all. For example, St. Paul's rebirth on the way to Damascus which was rebirth and conversion and a remarkable miracle all at the same time. St. Paul's illumination began as soon as he was healed of the darkness; my illumination did not begin till my second conversion.
After illumination follows betrothal, then marriage, and then divine stigmata. After the stigmata it is difficult for me to say what happens, since it has been two years and eight months since mine, and nothing truly dramatic has changed.
I think perhaps I will have to undergo more darkness and more severe conflicts before the next stage of progress is met. It is hard to judge because one needs I would say at least two years to assimilate/understand each significant change, and in the case of the stigmata, which is so baffling, twice as long.
To continue the study of what happens after marriage and stigmata you could read Dante's Paradise (if you can make anything of it, it is so advanced and arcane you need a guide to make it out) but most of all, for clarity of expression, the last part of Mystical City of God by Ven. Mary of Agreda, who explains how the Virgin Queen retired from active life and was never again assaulted by Satan. She lived at this time a life somewhat in the Light of Glory, while still retaining her mortal body. Naturally, this doesn't happen to most mortals, but at least gives an idea of what could happen, to some degree, in the very proficient. (It seems to me some of these things happened to Ven. Mary of Agreda herself.)
It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the purgative state because we have sufferings more or less all the time, and then we have mystical sufferings. Mystical sufferings are much more sensitive and have an unreal or unearthly aspect.
My purgation did not start in full until the unitive state, and the unitive state did not start till the betrothal.
I think it is appropriate at this time that one begins to suffer, because during the betrothal, I, for one, received the rings of Faith, Hope and Charity from God. They seemed to come from the hands of Jesus Himself (or was that just because I was looking at Jesus?)
Jesus became my fiancée, in other words.
(But now I think, how would a Moslem, Jew, Hindu and other interpret this betrothal? Remember - it happens to all in all religions when they are on the unitive way.)
In the unitive state you could say Our Lord says to you: "Take up your cross and follow me. Here it is. This is your cross and now you can feel it. You wanted it and asked for it, you were willing to bear it. Now take it, and at the same time, my love. Yes, you are now truly, mystically united with me!"
And how blessed are those words, how beguiling to the vision of the mystic who hears them one way or the other This is the official beginning of reparation.
I am not saying that one has not suffered before this. One may have had crucifying sufferings. Most people, in fact, have been crucified a lot simply to have reached this state. It isn't easy to come so far! Or else millions of millions would reach it, yet why is it always one out of millions? Because it is so hard!
The state of illumination is the state of infusion. Reparation is discipline. One is joy and consolation, one is misery and merit.
How can I explain the difference? You may discipline a child for many years, training, training. The child suffers and obeys, grows older and wiser. But you must keep training the child. Someday the child grows up and says to you: "Mother, father, teacher, I will now take the discipline by myself. You can trust me. You don't have to watch me all the time anymore. I will do what I know I must."
In the state of reparation/unity there is the element of willingness, of love. There you have it: Love has matured.
Before one has reached this state one may have talent, love and zeal. But this fluctuates as a quality not yet stable. One applies one's energy and zeal with great aplomb, but this is usually side by side with many sins and faults, or vices and faults.
It is the age of spiritual puberty. In puberty you get a lot from your parents. You get it automatically by infusion or grace-free gifts. Then, in the unitive state begins the time of extraordinary effort. Heroic or extremely hard to come by virtue begins.
In the betrothal, you see your sins and are willing to pay for them. This is mature love; commitment, This is true love - the supernatural kind, the only kind that counts.
One comes closer to Christ, becomes more like Him, the Sufferers suffering for love. Before you were a baby/animal craving for love; Gods humans, any kind of love. You were a taker who had the need of love and was willing to return it but had to be given.
Now, of course, you still want God's love and will certainly take whatever Light, love, peace, joy and etc. God will give you are to delay this feedback or recompense indefinitely. And you are willing to forego earthly recompense to a heroic degree.
(All saints know they are going to be rewarded sooner or later but are willing to wait till later: whereas the immature cannot wait for recompense.)
You cannot avoid purgation! Once it starts it is in you, around you, wherever you go! You cannot change circumstances to avoid it. (To run from one cross, that is inevitable, throws you smack dab into another; frying pan to fire when it is God's will you suffer.)
It is an interior mechanism that does something to you inside and somehow affects outside circumstances (mostly people) which makes your life hell, or at least purgatory in relations to others.
Perhaps it is because you have taken on partly the countenance of Christ and how He suffered, how the demonic hated Him! Now you are Him to some degree and the same thing happens to you. The demonic attacks the Christ in you.
Your only defense or retreat is into that same Christ. You learn to use the Christ within you as your shield, refuge and strength. You feel something inside you that is totally different, a kind of "sainthood" feeling, although you are not proud or vain. You feel, I guess, holiness because you reside in it. And others who rate holiness feel it too.
I urge anyone who seeks holiness/perfection not to run from the purgative state. Take it with courage, for it is inevitable.
Don't be like the rest of mortals who will do anything to get out of pain, to make life easy. Don't they consume their lives trying to make life easy? And where does it get them in the end? Sickness, and death, and misery, just like everyone else!
They may enjoy some extra privileges, if they are lucky, of the terrestrial kind. But how deep is it? Do they enjoy that deep interior peace of a tortured saint? No, of course not. It is only superficial peace; the peace of this world. And in the end, their fate is illness, failure, death, and then damnation or a very horrible purgatory.
So be smart. Do the right thing now. It is easy to suffer now, relatively speaking, no matter how horrid it seems. And it will be over in the twinkling of an eye, and you will be glad you suffered and you will be so happy.
The more you suffer now, for love, the more happy you will be in eternity! It is so fair, so merciful of God to do it this way. Reward commensurate to suffering!
My health was not seriously affected by the purgation following the mystical betrothal, but it was during the dark night. I did not collapse, but as I said elsewhere, energy and willpower were gone. Small deeds took big efforts.
Many people break down during purgation and collapse or be come incapacitated during the dark night. Some are paralyzed. I don't know why that happens but I have my theories.
My theories are natural and supernatural causes. The natural - that the inborn condition or the lack of normal human strength, causes the person to break down.
Secondly, God allows this for His own purposes, namely, to bring attention to that individual in the most economic way; perhaps in a way that that individual could not attain by any other method. So we see most of the stigmatists, and reparatory sufferers, getting an enormous amount of attention and respect and being able to convert and influence a tremendous amount of souls. Bad turns into good; sickness, poverty and pain into health, wealth and happiness.
In my own case I have been crucified and have undertaken reparatory sufferings but no one knows this.
Isn't that in itself a great pain?
After all, to suffer secretly for love, to be passed over for recognition for no one sees your pain, that is pain. And It is enough pain, as far as I'm concerned to make up for the fact that I am not physically crippled or incapacitated on a bed of reparatory sufferings.
No matter how awful, the fact that some people believe a stigmatist is suffering in union with Christ has to give some recompense, some small measure of consolation.
True - most people are attracted to reparatory sufferers/stigmatists, for all the wrong reasons (just as men are attracted to beautiful women for all the wrong reasons.) The reasons; curiosity, free healings rubbing shoulders with a celebrity.
Those who come in deep love are very rare, and these deep lovers would compassionate with, the suffer and be willing also if they could, to undertake such sufferings. (You know how few are willing to undertake sufferings.)
On the subject of celebrity, I also have enough of that in my life, without the need of physical wounds. As the well known repairers have been outsized and abused, so have I, in abundance, I have been called everything in the book, as they have in some cases: A hypocrite, phony, false prophet, etc. They have put salt in my invisible wounds to see if I hurt, to see if they are real; just as they put caustics into the wounds of exterior stigmatists.
Yes, I believe one can suffer equally with the crippled without any exterior wounds.
(I must add here, a healthy body notwithstanding, there is a great degree of physical suffering that often goes with my pain. One can suffer physically without being clinically ill. And herein the body goes along with the soul to keep it company in reparation. This is just, for St. Thomas Aquinas says that in the end, the body will enjoy either Heaven, with the soul, or the tortures of Hell. And this is just because the body participated in either reparation or sin. So the body as well as soul is rewarded or punished. Praise God for His justice.)
Sometimes reparatory or purgative sufferings take on a comedic aspect, or as I said, an unreal dimension.
Right after I was betrothed to Christ, and just before, I suffered immensely from a group of show business people I was working with.
The majority of them banded together as a group to see if they could overcome me, because of my "glorious" aspect and my appearance and celebrity (which was just blossoming.)
They tried to get me fired from the job, to destroy me publicly, to make life hard for me all around during the three months I worked with them. I just bore it all patiently, plodding along in my mission for God, supremely triumphant in the end but not without extreme humiliation.
My triumph was not an earthly kind. Or I should say, I achieved success in an earthly way, but my joy was only in that I did God's will and succeeded.
My best friend at the time said I acted like "a doormat."
But I countered with, "My success will be my revenge."
She said, "If I were you and treated like this, I would take the next plane back home."
I said, "Not until I have accomplished my mission for God. No adversity will stop me."
The last day, they riddled me with pies when I was taking my bows on stage. This was done with malice. Feeling guilty, they then tried to make up for it at a cast, party, but I did not attend.
Many strange and funny things happened during this period which can not be explained in this short work.
I am only stating these things to make the point: Purgation is often followed out in an external aspect, by people and things making life miserable for you, more miserable than is normal. It has an UNREAL aspect.
Concerning this I would like to quote from a book: "Seeking Jesus In Contemplation And Discernment," by Robert Faricy S.J., published by Michael Glazier,
In The chapter on "Darkness and Light," pg. 58: -
"What causes the dark night in my prayer? My own need for purification, my own sinfulness, sinful tendencies, selfishness, general unreadiness for the graces the Lord wants to give me as he empties me out, purifies me, by the means of the grace of the dark night. Some factor outside myself can act as the occasion, the apparent cause, of the night: a death in the family, a serious failure or rejection, physical or psychological illness, inability to "fit in" with my present situation, outside pressures, loneliness. But the real cause of the dark night is the lord working in me, getting me ready, helping me to acquire the "night vision" that i need for greater awareness of him."
During a period like that of outside persecution - you hone your talents of courage, fortitude, zeal; an overall untiring, unwavering constancy of your mind. You learn to obliterate the opposition not by reacting in an emotional way, but by not reacting, or perhaps the principal, in this case, of passive resistance.
You simply go on. After all, if they can make you upset, they have caused you stress, and stress is very depleting and debilitating.
(That is one of the great tricks of the devil. He can't cause you to sin, so he exhausts you by Opposition, wearing you out physically so you can't do your work! Oh, beware of Satan and all his wiles! Don't underestimate the enemy, learn the kind of tricks he pulls to avoid them!)
This period of purgation following betrothal was interspersed with illumination. Not so the dark night. Here you enter into a dark cocoon and have no desire to go out, to see people, to be entertained. The sense world is obliterated.
During the dark night I went to church, Post office, shopping for food and little else. I did not talk on the phone. I told people that I had taken a vow of silence and not to call me or even write me. Letters actually caused me stress!
You cannot believe the pain I felt from the simplest things - from the looks of curious people, from the letters of innocent love or curiosity. It was because I saw through it all.
Just as I saw the imperfection in myself down to the core, I now saw the dark-side of all human nature. I saw how tainted were the phone calls and most of the letters I received, even from those professing true spiritual love. They were of the state I had left behind - good works tainted with self interest.
Did they really love me? Of course not! And to see that, to read it, gave me stress. And you can't take stress in the dark night. If you were not afraid to commit sin, you would scream at people trying to bother you. You think nothing of telling off someone, cutting them off completely, if they make some transgression pertaining to God in action or speech.
I told several people like this off on the phone, screaming at them with all my might with the Light behind me. One man called up saying he was the messiah! I blasted him with such a blast that it had to blow at least a few demons out of him.
But you are also like this with relatives and friends, if they do really wrong. You have a tendency to reject everyone and will use the slightest excuse to do so because you want and need to be alone.
It is only when we want the company of others that we become so tolerant . Wanting to be with them, we forgive even grave sins, under the guise of tolerance.
(I ask myself now, is this tolerance of sin good? Wouldn't we be more charitable if we were less tolerant of it and always pointed out the sins of our fellow man?)
But there is also an inordinate fear of hurting anyone, so I never rejected or told anyone off with malice.
My conscience was at a zenith of fear. (Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?)
I overburdened my confessor with almost daily confessions, and I had less to confess than ever in my life. I confessed my whole life to him in a stream of remembrance lasting months. I was obsessed with my state of spirituality you might say. There is an obsessive need of cleanliness, since you see the dirt so clearly, and the dirt gives you so much pain. (What a blessing to see the dirt!)
As I look back now to those stressful times, everything falls into place so neatly and predictably. Would that it could have been so neat then. One of the greatest pains is not knowing where you are, what is happening, where you are going, how long it will last. I did not know I was in the mystical death except in a very vague, nebulous sort of way. How awful is ignorance, how blessed are knowledge and vision!
Relating to your own life what you have studied is difficult. You don't really understand what you have read till it becomes part of your life.
One of the reasons it is almost impossible to determine the next mystical state is because the next mystical state is determined by how we act today; by how we respond to the graces given now.
For instance, God may call to contemplation, yet the soul does not respond in the proper way and doesn't receive it. To be more specific, God waits for your move. If you don't move right, God doesn't give you the graces never gives to the, undeserving or never casts pearls before swine.
(There are those who think God gives without cause. That has to be properly interpreted. God does wait for a cause which is proper disposition. If you have not the disposition, the grace would be wasted.. So your disposition is a cause. And the most proper ways of attaining the right disposition is through suffering in love and prayer.)
How are these suffering states different from psychoneurotic or even psychotic states? How do we differentiate between these and mental illness?
It is simple: love.
All our progress here depends on the degree of love. The more you love, the farther in progress you go, the more you suffer. Question the motives of the sufferer. What was the cause of the suffering? Was the sufferer trying to attain God's love, trying to bestow God's love? Is the sufferer trying to fulfill her obligations of life, especially all the religious/moral obligations?
Love motivation is the acid test. Love is everything in the spiritual life. To love everything goes, from love everything has come. We are made for love. Love moves us, is our goal, for God is love. Every step of progress in the spiritual life is a step in love.
In the end we are judged by the amount of love within the soul, and this degree of charity determines our eternal Beatitude.
I am astounded as to how love and pain go together. From the time I entered the unitive state it seems one never happened without the other. Sometimes the love/gift was infused first, giving great elation. This may have been in the form of virtues or mental charisms. But following it was always the pit!
Why the gift, then the pit? As I stated earlier, I-had received the gift of contemplation and that began the final journey down, in or within. You can call it up, down, ascent, descent, introversion or whatever, because it is no physical places. It is in the soul/ mind. It is a place/state where God is, and gyrating toward it, reaching it, attaining it, becoming it cannot be measured in physical terms.
This is the journey of spiritual poverty, of removal of all obstacles, of denuding ourselves, of being undeceived or totally cleansed, and melting into or becoming that place in the soul where is God, and God in the highest form.
Let me backtrack to the betrothal where my unitive pains started. I count the pains before that as less significant, although they were awful enough to think of suicide. How do you compare normal but suicidal to the abnormal pain that comes later in dark night and stigmata?
I think the affectivity of the pain is the same, but later you suffer as a Christ-person instead of a normal person, much stronger. You are capable of survival. Now you can endure what you could not before, making possible the exposure of genetic material, unregenerated parts, locked in silence. Pain and its primitive reaction; rage, hate, envy, malice, etc. are flushed out.
Unitive means deep; it means going beyond the earth ego; for Christ's Kingdom is not of this world. In order to enter His Kingdom, He must lead us into it through pain. It is painful because it is a ripping through, a forced entrance into states deeper than normal.
It is like an operation - opening the body up and working on it. I can think of actors digging deep into themselves, exposing buried emotions, primitive ones, and suffering greatly. Situations which bare us down to the bone, expose our inner anxieties and wants, are painfully Sometimes we cry from this emotional exposure. Mysticism is like that.
Don't forget that all suffer even animals and reprobates.
But does their suffering go deep?
In the animal, there is not the sensitivity that a human has and as far as reprobates, they make themselves like animals; they harden themselves or become insensitive like animals - thereby losing their souls.
People who do not make progress lose by steeling themselves against pain; what God calls "hard of heart. Then it is difficult for God to enter our hardened hearts. A sensitive heart is malleable and sensitive to pain and love.
Now you want to feel love, live in love? Then you've got to take pain! That's why mystics suffer!
The opposite of that is opposition to love/pain.
It takes pain to be a whole person, deeply, totally opened. Those who close themselves off become half persons and dead graves. They create a hell for themselves to which they are precipitated at the time of death, although at has already been created (their own niche in hell) and chosen during their life.
This is exactly what mystics want to avoid. We are lovers who seek to bear our pains now and bear them well, to force entry into the deepest levels, cleanse them and make ourselves whole in God. We seek union with God now and in eternity no matter what the cost.
When I woke up out of the mystical death and was resurrected I felt a new energy which had been gone for months. My body was not yet completely revitalized or adjusted to new life, for the mystical process is spirit over mind over matter, the body being touched last. I had been in a spiritual coma for months, and I was not steady when I woke up, but what I did have was a sudden jolt of energy which totally transformed me.
For a while I felt happiness. I had eight months of mystical peace and fulfillment. The marriage was February 15. Sometime in August I began praying for the divine stigmata of the interior kind. (I wish I had written the date! But I never thought I would receive what I prayed for!)
I received it on October the 8th, 1982, and that ended my mystical repose . From then I suffered a state of hell and purgatory I never dreamed about, and it is taking years to recover from.
Now I remember the dark night in a bittersweet, nostalgic way, and the time of contemplation between marriage and stigmata as my halcyon days.