Mysticism, and the Laity

This is something that I am wondering about. From reading about some of the saints, I gather that a great deal of them experience Mystical phenomena (ecstasies, apparitions, visions, etc).

Now, as far as I know the saints are supposed to be models of how we should all strive to live our life as Catholics. So then, what is the Church’s position on the Laity experiencing Mystical phenomena.

So then, should we all strive to attain mystical experiences from God?

All Catholics have different gifts.

Some to teach, some to preach, some to speak in tongues, and some to receive revelations. Not everybody gets the same gift.

Spiritual direction is needed in such cases, as you are entering the spiritual realm. Without direction, we can fall prey to the leading of a passing spirit. This is why the Apostle John, in his first letter, advises us to test the spirits (1 John 4). The Holy Spirit, through Whom all good is accomplished, gives us gifts. Those gifts are intended to produce His fruits in each of us. See Galatians 5:22-23. As well, the catechism teaches on the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit:

1831 The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.

Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God . . . If children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.

1832 The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.”

Any spiritual journey that you make is intended to produce these fruits in your soul. I would encourage you to seek spiritual direction through your parish or your diocese.

May Christ’s peace be with you.

Please be aware that it is not necessary to “strive” to receive mystical experiences. It is not necessary, unless God, for reasons of His own, desires you to have them. In fact, St. John of the Cross explains that we should not desire them, but if we get them to just accept it, and go on with your spiritual life. We grow in holiness by practicing the virtues with the help of the grace of God.

Extraordinary phenomena (stigmata, Levitation etc) are not something we are to “seek”. And are by nature “extraordinary”. But yes lay persons have had such.

Such are not per se the perfection of Christian Life or the “heights of holiness”. They are something that can happen to those who are very holy or even to those who are ordinarily holy or not.

We are all though to live the reality that we are already by baptism --saints.

And to seek to be more and more holy…more and more like Christ.

And a life of prayer and even infused contemplation (which is not part of the above) is possible for all by the grace of God…as they become more and more like Christ and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. More and more in communion with God.

Mysticism need not mean “extraordinary things” but can mean the life of infused contemplation (we can not “give” ourselves such by they way…but prepare via following Christ …living an ascetical life of prayer) -which is different from “acquired contemplation” (which by grace we can “acquire”).

Laity can be saints, too-there’s no exclusionary clause in sainthood or mysticism. The only qualification for experiencing private revelation, which may include visions, locutions, ecstasies, etc, is that one is alive and God wills you to have it.

From the Catechism:
**67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations”.**

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