From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Fri Jul 23 23:34:09 2021
All have eyes
God is seen by those who have the capacity to see him, provided that
they keep the eyes of their mind open. All have eyes, but some have
eyes that are shrouded in darkness, unable to see the light of the
sun. Because the blind cannot see it, it does not follow that the sun
does not shine. The blind must trace the cause back to themselves and
their eyes. In the same way, you have eyes in your mind that are
shrouded in darkness because of your sins and evil deeds. No one who
has sin within him can see God. If you understand this, and live in
purity and holiness and justice, you may see God.
--Saint Theophilus of Antioch
July 24th - St. Christina the Astonishing.
Born in Brustheim, near Liège, Belgium, 1150; died 1224; feast day
formerly July 4. Fifteen-year-old Christina was left an orphan with
her two older sisters. When she was about 22 (some sources say 32,
which is more reasonable given the balance of the evidence), she had
an epileptic fit and was thought to be dead.
As was the custom Christina was carried into the church in an open
coffin, where a Requiem Mass was beginning. Suddenly, after the Agnus
Dei, Christina sat up, soared to the beams of the roof, and perched
there. The congregation fled in fright, except her elder sister. When
the Mass was completed, the priest persuaded Christina to come down
from the rafters, where she is said to have taken refuge to escape the
smell of sinful human bodies.
Christina told the priest that she had died, gone to hell, to
purgatory, and then to heaven. She was allowed to return to earth to
pray for the suffering souls in purgatory. In each place she saw many
she knew. In her own words:
"As soon as my soul was separated from my body, it was received by
angels, who conducted it to a very gloomy place, entirely filled with
souls. The torments which they there endured appeared to me so
excessive that it is impossible for me to give any idea of their
rigor. I saw among them many of my acquaintances, and, deeply touched
by their sad condition, I asked what place it was, for I believed it
to be Hell.
"My guide answered me that it was Purgatory, where sinners were
punished who, before death, had repented of their faults, but had not
made worthy satisfaction to God. From thence I was conducted into
Hell, and there also I recognized among the reprobates some whom I had
"The angels then transported me into Heaven, even to the throne of the
Divine Majesty. The Lord regarded me with a favorable eye, and I
experienced an extreme joy, because I thought to obtain the grace of
dwelling eternally with Him.
"But my Heavenly Father, seeing what passed in my heart, said to me
these words: 'Assuredly, My dear daughter, you will one day be with
Me. Now, however, I allow you to choose, either to remain with Me
henceforth from this time, or to return again to earth to accomplish a
mission of charity and suffering. In order to deliver from the flames
of Purgatory those souls which have inspired you with so much
compassion, you shall suffer for them upon earth; you shall endure
great torments, without, however, dying from their effects. And not
only will you relieve the departed, but the example which you will
give to the living, and your life of continual suffering, will lead
sinners to be converted and to expiate their crimes. After having
ended this new life, you shall return here laden with merits.'
"At these words, seeing the great advantages offered to me for souls,
I replied, without hesitation, that I would return to life, and I
arose at that same instant. It is for this sole object, the relief of
the departed and the conversion of sinners, that I have returned to
this world. Therefore be not astonished at the penances I shall
practice, nor at the life that you will see me lead from henceforward.
It will be so extraordinary that nothing like to it has ever been
Thereafter, behaved as one of the great eccentrics of Christendom.
Christina fled to remote places, climbed trees and towers and rocks,
and even hid in ovens to escape the smell of humans. But more
importantly, she did everything possible to suffer in the extreme for
the good of other souls. After her resurrection, Christina dressed in
rags bound together with saplings, lived by begging in extreme
poverty, and renounced all the comforts of life- -even a home. She
would jump into a burning furnace until she could no longer handle it,
or into the river in the coldest weather and stay for weeks. Once she
was even said to have gotten into a mill-race and been carried under
the wheel. She would pray while balancing on a hurdle or curled up in
a ball on the ground. In a church at a place called Wellen, she
climbed into the large font and sat in the water. Of course, many
thought that she was insane.
Once she was caught by a man who struck her so hard on the leg that it
was thought to be broken. She was taken to a surgeon's home where her
leg was splinted, and she was chained to a pillar for her own safety.
She escaped at night. On one occasion, a priest refused her Communion;
she ran wildly down the street and jumped into the Meuse River.
Yet many people came to Christina for good advice. Christina spent the
last years of her life in the convent of Saint Catherine at
Saint-Trond. While she lived there, she was held in high respect by
Louis, the count of Looz, who treated her as a friend, accepted her
criticism, and welcomed her at his castle. Blessed Marie d'Oignies
respected her as well, the prioress of Saint Catherine's praised her
obedience, and Saint Lutgardis sought her counsel. She lived this life
of penance for 52 years after she had been raised from the dead.
Christina's experiences were recorded by a contemporary Dominican,
Cardinal James de Vitry, in the preface to the Life of Marie
d'Oignies, and by the Dominican Bishop Thomas de Cantimpre'. Her body
is preserved in the Redemptorist church at Saint-Trond. Her
resurrection was witnessed by the whole town and many saw her escape
her various tortures unscathed. Her cultus has never been officially
confirmed (Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Schouppe, Walsh, White).
Meditation for troubled times:
"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for
they shall be filled." Only in the fullness of faith can the heartsick
and faint and weary be satisfied, healed, and rested. Think of the
wonderful spiritual revelations still to be found by those who are
trying to live the spiritual life. Much of life is spiritually
unexplored country. Only to the consecrated and loving people who walk
with God in spirit can these great spiritual discoveries be revealed.
Keep going forward and keep growing in righteousness. I pray that the
material things of the world may not hold me back. I pray that I may
let God lead me forward.
--From Twenty-Four Hours a Day