ANGELS: Hildegard of Bingen — A Voice for the Angels

January 27, 2012

Now, I retain a memory of anything I see or learn in this vision for a long time, so that, once I have seen and heard it, I may bring it to mind.  And I see, hear, and know all at once, as if, in that moment, I discover what I know.  But what I do not see, I do not know, because I am unlearned.  And I write those things that I see and hear in the vision, for I do not learn from this vision how to write like philosophers write.  And the words that I see and hear in that vision are not like words that are heard from a human mouth, but like a glittering flame and like a cloud moving in the clear air.  Moreover, I can in no way know the appearance of this light, just as I cannot gaze fully at the sphere of the sun. And sometimes, though [...]


January 20, 2012

When I was a teenager, I was sent to Episcopal church camp.  It wasn’t my choice, really.  My grandmother and the church I attended decided it would be good for me.  Otherwise, I would just keep working at my summer job: scooping ice cream for laughing townsfolk and for vacationers thrilled with being on the coast of Maine. Doing anything as a child in Maine was very understated.  I remember reading accounts of how children from other states would go to exotic places for vacation and do inscrutable things, like study rocketry or cheerleading.  Were I to be sent on “vacation,” I would be driven a few minutes away from my home and dropped at the dock belonging to my great-aunt to be shuttled out to her summer island. [...]

MYSTICAL WOMEN: Faustina—Painting the Portrait of the Divine

January 18, 2012

A passage from the diary of Faustina: Jesus made known to me how very pleasing to him were prayers of atonement.  He said to me, The prayer of a humble and loving soul disarms the anger of my father and draws down an ocean of blessings.  After the adoration, half way to my cell, I was surrounded by a pack of huge black dogs who were jumping and howling and trying to tear me to pieces.  I realized that they were not dogs, but demons.  One of them spoke up in a rage, “Because you have snatched so many souls away from us this night, we will tear you to pieces.”  I answered, “If that is the will of the most merciful God, tear me to pieces, for I have justly deserved it, because I am the most miserable of all sinners, [...]

GOD 101: The Quality of Accuracy

December 26, 2011

Whenever I am asked, how do you know that your visions are from God, I am able to answer quickly.  Before I’ve taken my next breath or blinked an eye.  The answer is always with me. I know my visions are from God because the visions are accurate. Invariably the person asking the question blinks a bit and then looks a tad vacuous.  No response.  Ever.  It is as though they want to, but hold themselves back from asking, what exactly do you mean by accurate? I like the definitions that Merriam-Webster gives the word accurate: 1.  free from error especially as the result of care. 2. conforming exactly to truth or to a standard; exact. This is, in a way, one explanation of how I approach and handle visions for the most part. [...]

GOD 101: The Lesson Of Silence

December 23, 2011

It would take me more than a lifetime or two to recount all the lessons that have come to me in my visions.  I’m exaggerating, of course, but some days it doesn’t feel like it.  Lessons of God take up a mighty percent of my visions. This is the lesson of silence: In your words, you will find your willingness to serve God.  In your silence, you will find your willingness to be served by God. For me, this could be the first lesson in our understanding of God.  It could also be the last lesson in our understanding of God, as far as I am concerned. As with any study or application of a study of God, the three fundamental laws of God, respect, courtesy, and gratitude, must be the ground on which we base our thoughts, feelings, [...]


December 22, 2011

I was in my early twenties.  I was a student at the University of California, otherwise referred to as Berkeley.  And I had come to the somewhat painful realization that my mystical attributes were not going away.  If anything, they were getting worse.  Worse, being the way I described the weirdness that was me. For my relationship with and understanding of God, it was a time of rapid growth.  As I grew out of my resistance to being me and settled into taking note of the visions that were coming fast and furious, some of my “gifts” were revealed to me. One was that if I let myself become very, very still and turned myself wholly over to God, and if I was near another person, also still, I could feel my [...]

MYSTICISM: On Visions And Visionaries

December 16, 2011

I don’t talk with people much about my visions.  For most of my life, I’ve kept very, very private about it all.  But, amazingly, the few times that the subject of visions has come up in a conversation and I have addressed it, there are people who respond to me by saying, you know, that’s not just the way it’s done. And I agree wholeheartedly. Most of the time, I don’t see things, like an apparition of Jesus, neither do I hear things like Joan of Arc.  My visions are like enlarged thoughts.  A thought that I have to purchase some more dish-washing detergent has a low vibration in my brain, a gentle hum.  But a vision about say, the lesson of silence, which I know from experience is not just a [...]

MYSTICAL WOMEN: Joan of Arc—A Declaration of Faith

December 14, 2011

Were it not for God’s grace I could do nothing.  Had I not the assurance that God directs my work, I would rather tend sheep than expose myself to such great perils. If I am not in God’s grace, may God bring me there.  If I am in it, may he keep me there.  I should be of all creatures the most miserable if I knew myself not to be in God’s grace. When I am in any way opposed, because one will hardly believe that what I declare has come from God, I seek solitude and pray to God, lamenting to him that they to whom I speak will not readily believe me.  When my prayer to God is ended, I hear a voice that says to me, “Daughter of God, go, go, go.  I will be your helper.  Go!”  And when I hear this voice, I [...]

MYSTICAL WOMEN: Joan of Arc—Breaking the Mold

December 14, 2011

This is the story of Joan of Arc’s first trial. No, it’s not what you think.  In fact, before Joan had to stand before the judges arguing for her very life, she was on trial twice.  And as I wrote, above, this is the tale of her first encounter with the forces of justice.  But, first, for better understanding of this trial, a glimpse into her youth. When Joan was thirteen, she had her first vision.  At the second public examination of Joan (The Trial) on Thursday, February 22, 1431, she described to the judges assembled before her her first mystical experiences: Asked if she received the sacrament of the Eucharist at other feasts than Easter, she told the interrogator to move on.  Then she confessed that when she was aged [...]

MYSTICISM: Hildegard de Bingen, An Early Vision

December 8, 2011

When Hildegard was five years old, she was out walking with her nanny.  They saw a cow, and Hildegard looked deeper and could see the unborn calf inside the cow.  She described the coloring of the unborn calf, amazing her nanny. When the calf was born, Hildegard’s vision proved accurate. Shortly after this, Hildegard decided not to share the content of her visions, until she worked with her spiritual teacher, Jutta.  After Jutta, Hildegard kept the her visions secret until her early forties. Hildegard on the Creation, from the Book of Divine Works The leaping fountain is clearly the purity of the living God.  His radiance is reflected in it, and in that splendor, God embraces in his great love all things whose reflection appeared [...]

ANGLICANISM: The View From The Nearly Abandoned Treehouse

December 7, 2011

It takes a lot to be a mystic.  In addition to having the ability burned into you at birth, it takes patience and endurance, courage and endurance, flexibility and endurance, and just plain endurance.  At times it means suspending all that you’ve grown to accept as reality and expanding the boundaries just a bit further out into the unknown, over the chasm, and plunging into unspeakable discomfort, only to find yourself sitting still and knowing that He is God. But it doesn’t take that much from the world to keep a mystic going.  From almost the beginning of the church, mystics have had a penchant to take themselves away from the world — into monasteries and convents, hermitages and anchorite cells.  For me, though, to [...]


December 4, 2011

When I was seventeen I had a series of visions.  For the first time in my life, however, the visions were really visual.  I could see them. They lasted for four nights.  For the first three nights, I was awakened in the night, in my large, dark, four-poster bed, to see a nun standing serenely and silently at the end of my bed.  She made no demand on me.  She looked at me.  I wondered if I were imagining that she looked at me with expectancy.  Nothing about the experience disturbed me.  I easily sunk back into my pillow and went back to sleep. On the fourth night, the vision changed.  Instead of the nun, a man appeared at the end of my bed.  I didn’t know much, if anything, about appearances like this, so I just assumed, [...]