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  #1  
Old Nov 20, '07, 11:27 pm
Nightsong Nightsong is offline
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Default What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

What does the Catholic Church say about religious/spiritual ecstasy? Good or bad, or maybe nothing at all?

Ecstasy is something that I've experienced for a long time. From the lack of discussion about it across many Christian and non-Christian boards, I would guess that it's either not very common, or people just don't want to talk about it for some reason. But, I do. I want to know what it means. I want to speak to people who know what I'm talking about for once.

I go into ecstasy whenever I connect to God through prayer or meditation. The sensation is so powerful and so overwhelming, that it completely takes away even severe pain and leaves me feeling euphoric. I honestly think I could have surgery without anesthetic and not feel a thing if I was in such a state. I don't even have the words to describe it. It's like Divine love is pouring into you, until you feel as if you're glowing with an etherial light. It's a state of physical, emotional, and spiritual bliss, like being at one with God. It's very powerful and life changing, and I just wonder why people don't talk about it. I know I'm not the only one!

I've tried to approach the topic with Protestants in the real world, and they just look at me like I'm being weird. Maybe you Catholics will think I'm being weird, too. lol Oh well, I thought I'd ask...
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  #2  
Old Nov 21, '07, 12:52 am
ribozyme ribozyme is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsong View Post
What does the Catholic Church say about religious/spiritual ecstasy? Good or bad, or maybe nothing at all?

Ecstasy is something that I've experienced for a long time. From the lack of discussion about it across many Christian and non-Christian boards, I would guess that it's either not very common, or people just don't want to talk about it for some reason. But, I do. I want to know what it means. I want to speak to people who know what I'm talking about for once.

I go into ecstasy whenever I connect to God through prayer or meditation. The sensation is so powerful and so overwhelming, that it completely takes away even severe pain and leaves me feeling euphoric. I honestly think I could have surgery without anesthetic and not feel a thing if I was in such a state. I don't even have the words to describe it. It's like Divine love is pouring into you, until you feel as if you're glowing with an etherial light. It's a state of physical, emotional, and spiritual bliss, like being at one with God. It's very powerful and life changing, and I just wonder why people don't talk about it. I know I'm not the only one!

I've tried to approach the topic with Protestants in the real world, and they just look at me like I'm being weird. Maybe you Catholics will think I'm being weird, too. lol Oh well, I thought I'd ask...
I wonder if this experience of divine love can be recapitulated through psychopharmaceuticals. I think SSRIs are too impotent for such a task.

I personally thought about being a Catholic for a while, and I wonder whether receiving Communion can elicit the aforementioned response.
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  #3  
Old Nov 21, '07, 1:16 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsong View Post
What does the Catholic Church say about religious/spiritual ecstasy? Good or bad, or maybe nothing at all?
. . . .
I've tried to approach the topic with Protestants in the real world, and they just look at me like I'm being weird. Maybe you Catholics will think I'm being weird, too. lol Oh well, I thought I'd ask...
the classic advice from Catholic spiritual direction is that such experiences should always be suspect until discerned with the help of one's confessor or spiritual director, should not be sought after by using different techniques of prayer or meditation, and definitely should not be discussed with third parties who have no reason to have intimate details of your spiritual life. This is from Teresa of Jesus herself, who is one of the best known mystics. The first step is discussing it with your confessor and start looking for a good orthodox spiritual director.
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  #4  
Old Nov 21, '07, 5:52 am
Nightsong Nightsong is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

Thanks puzzleannie. I'm not a Catholic, or even a Christian, and I was just wondering how you viewed such experiences.

Personally, I don't use any "techniques" to cause the ecstasy. Whenever I call out to God, or I seek God with all of my heart and soul, it just happens. I kind of wish people would be willing to talk about it a bit, because I'm all alone in this. I have no one to talk to, no one who even understands. Oh well.
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  #5  
Old Nov 21, '07, 6:52 am
Kay Cee Kay Cee is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

I second puzzleannie's post. You really need to speak to a Spiritual Director about such things.

The Catholic Church does recognize such phenomenon as spiritual ecstasies. You can read about them in The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila and The Ascent of Mount Carmel by St. John of the Cross. I also recommend Seeking Spiritual Direction by Thomas Dubay.
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  #6  
Old Nov 21, '07, 8:11 am
Nightsong Nightsong is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

Thanks Kay Cee. I'll see if I can find those books online. At least it's a start.
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  #7  
Old Nov 30, '07, 10:26 pm
holly3243 holly3243 is offline
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Smile Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsong View Post
Thanks puzzleannie. I'm not a Catholic, or even a Christian, and I was just wondering how you viewed such experiences.

Personally, I don't use any "techniques" to cause the ecstasy. Whenever I call out to God, or I seek God with all of my heart and soul, it just happens. I kind of wish people would be willing to talk about it a bit, because I'm all alone in this. I have no one to talk to, no one who even understands. Oh well.
I UNDERSTAND.............................. ..............................

I understand , I have been haveing this happen to me more and more often the deeper my love grows for God and Jesus.I find that the more experiences that I have like this the more my heart longs to be with him again.I just found out that this had a name tonight lol! I was reading mother Teresa's book "come be my light " and realized that this had a name "ecstasy"
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  #8  
Old Nov 30, '07, 11:12 pm
Lief Erikson Lief Erikson is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsong View Post
Thanks puzzleannie. I'm not a Catholic, or even a Christian, and I was just wondering how you viewed such experiences.

Personally, I don't use any "techniques" to cause the ecstasy. Whenever I call out to God, or I seek God with all of my heart and soul, it just happens. I kind of wish people would be willing to talk about it a bit, because I'm all alone in this. I have no one to talk to, no one who even understands. Oh well.
I've experienced this a couple times, in my seven years of knowing Christ. I've had powerful experiences of feeling God's love aside from those two, but really just those two experiences approach the extremes of what you're talking about.

The first experience I had like that was when I was talking to the Lord, and I was doubting the reality of such experiences. I told the Lord that I had a hard time believing this was possible, and the Lord answered by consuming me with the Spirit to an incredible, exquisite degree. I found myself weeping. The intensity of the inner fire was overwhelming, and I knew I could not have mentally created it for myself. It was way too powerful, and it had been such an unbelievable surprise! It was an excellent, incredible gift from God for that moment.

The other time was later on, and I'd rather not talk about it. A bit personal. But anyway, I know what you're talking about, and it is indeed wonderful.

I urge you to read the Bible, though, and ask God to illuminate it to your understanding. I also have had many experiences of how unsafe it is to rely upon spiritual experiences without the proper safeguards. Evil spirits can masquerade as God very successfully, and they like to do it. I've been led astray before by seeking after experience instead of after the one who gives them.

You said you're not a Christian. I know that God can speak and reveal himself to non-Christians, no problem. He definitely does that- it's in the Bible. But the fact that you're not a Christian suggests that there are certain invaluable spiritual defenses that you are likely lacking. I strongly urge you to get safe. I don't want to scare you off of your experience, but instead to experience God in safety.

It's crucial, of course, to first find out who God is. Please read the New Testament, praying to God to reveal the truth of it to you and praying that he will open your mind and heart to his words concerning it. I believe that God will do so.

If you find out that God is Jesus Christ, you will have a whole load of new information in the Bible to learn about the God you experience and about what his will is and who he is. Please tell me how it goes, and don't forget also to pray for God's protection.

I'm very serious about all of this protection and safety stuff. There are such terrible dangers, and they are so real. Evil spirits can destroy people's relationships with other people, can delude them with webs of lies, and can even kill people. I've seen them try to do these things firsthand, and their powers extend far beyond what I've seen. So please, the spiritual realm is so broad and mysterious, and there are so many powerful things out there, and many of them are unfriendly. Just be cautious, praying for safety as you proceed and for spiritual discernment from God.

And get to know God better! That will be one of the great wonders before you, if you do read the New Testament. The scripture has been the centerpoint of the religious experiences of countless Christian mystics. Knowing who God is, knowing about him and learning his will and his ways, his words and deeds in this world, will be amazing to you. It is deeply important to not only rely on the experience of God, but to get to know him deeply and intimately as well, to learn who he is and how he has revealed himself.

May God bless you in a thousand ways!

~Lief
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  #9  
Old Dec 1, '07, 5:43 am
Joysong Joysong is offline
 
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Default Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

Your question is, "What does the Church say ..."

... and then you tell us you are not a christian, and that this occurs while you are "connecting with God through prayer or meditation."

It is not for any of us to say whether or not your experience is a supernatural gift from God, but I can share with you what our Church does say, in the words of St. John of the Cross, who is a Doctor in spiritual matters.

Quote:
And in this case the soul will make account, not of feelings of sweetness or delight, nor of figures, but of the feelings of love which they cause it.

And with this sole end in view it may at times recall that image and apprehension caused it by love, in order to set the spirit on its course of love. For, though the effect of that apprehension be not so great afterwards, when it is recalled, as it was on the first occasion when it was communicated, yet, when it is recalled, love is renewed, and the mind is lifted up to God, especially when the recollection is of certain figures, images or feelings which are supernatural, and are wont to be sealed and imprinted upon the soul in such a way that they continue for a long time -- some of them, indeed, never leave the soul.

And those that are thus sealed upon the soul produce in it Divine effects of love, sweetness, light and so forth, on almost every occasion when the soul returns to them, sometimes more so and sometimes less; for it was to this end that they were impressed upon it. And thus this is a great favour for the soul on which God bestows it, for it is as though it had within itself a mine of blessings.

http://www.catholictreasury.info/Ascent/asc61.htm
This gift is the one exception that St. John permits us to recall. We trust that the heart does not rest in the 'experience' itself, but moves from remembering it, to a fresh spark of love for God. St. Ignatius tells us that these 'consolations' sustain us in time of desolation, which is certain to follow in days to come.

Incidentally, what you described in your post is not ecstasy, per se, but Catholics call it 'infused contemplation.' Yes, it is a gift from God that many devout people may experience in prayer, and you are not 'weird.' However, ecstasy is a different mystical experience of a higher nature.
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  #10  
Old Dec 1, '07, 5:51 am
St Gabriel St Gabriel is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsong View Post
What does the Catholic Church say about religious/spiritual ecstasy? Good or bad, or maybe nothing at all?

Ecstasy is something that I've experienced for a long time. From the lack of discussion about it across many Christian and non-Christian boards, I would guess that it's either not very common, or people just don't want to talk about it for some reason. But, I do. I want to know what it means. I want to speak to people who know what I'm talking about for once.

I go into ecstasy whenever I connect to God through prayer or meditation. The sensation is so powerful and so overwhelming, that it completely takes away even severe pain and leaves me feeling euphoric. I honestly think I could have surgery without anesthetic and not feel a thing if I was in such a state. I don't even have the words to describe it. It's like Divine love is pouring into you, until you feel as if you're glowing with an etherial light. It's a state of physical, emotional, and spiritual bliss, like being at one with God. It's very powerful and life changing, and I just wonder why people don't talk about it. I know I'm not the only one!

I've tried to approach the topic with Protestants in the real world, and they just look at me like I'm being weird. Maybe you Catholics will think I'm being weird, too. lol Oh well, I thought I'd ask...
You may be experiencing what St Teresa called Raptures. I would suggest that you speak to your Spiritual Director and perhaps read St Teresa's life. Not many people experience this, so it would be hard for them to relate.
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  #11  
Old Dec 1, '07, 6:14 am
Joysong Joysong is offline
 
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Default Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

Not a rapture, either, St. Gabriel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsong
Personally, I don't use any "techniques" to cause the ecstasy. Whenever I call out to God, or I seek God with all of my heart and soul, it just happens. I kind of wish people would be willing to talk about it a bit, because I'm all alone in this. I have no one to talk to, no one who even understands. Oh well.
There are not very many who are qualified to direct anyone receiving these gifts in prayer, so I don't recommend just picking a random minister or priest from the phone directory. Unless they have studied and/or directed others in similar situations, you will hit a brick wall. That is why I recommend St. John of the Cross or St. Teresa of Avila who wrote specifically for those who have them.

It will take time to understand them, but if it is important to you to give a name to the experience, or to understand how to cooperate with God's grace in that regard, you will eventually be able to understand what these authors are advising. I know people who have had these experiences, but discovered that the local parish priest was unable to understand them. It is rare to find a good spiritual director.
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  #12  
Old Dec 1, '07, 11:46 am
TOP TOP is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church say about religious ecstasy?

Another way I've heard it explained by a SD is a "consolation" after an apparent "illumination of conscience". This has only happened to me once. The consolation came from my direct soulful request instantanously following the painful illumination. The consolation was beautiful and I would call it an ecstasy of pure love recognizing God as the source. You are blessed to be able to repeatedly experience this. This is what I consider heaven to be like and seek to experience it again most earnestly. Tim
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