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Many Catholics feel deficient, if not hopeless, when they read of the many saints who experienced visions and revelations — mystical phenomena that seem so distant from their own experience. Or worse, those who do experience such visions and consolations can come to feel that they are especially favored by God and consequently become overly confident in their spiritual progress.
This is the book that explains everything you need to know about true Catholic mysticism. Spiritual master Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D., will guide you in understanding contemplative prayer and the preeminence of faith over revelations in the spiritual life. Drawing from the writings of Sts. Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross, he lays out principles of discernment for both spiritual directors and laypersons on the journey to holiness.
Fr. Gabriel invites you to consider souls such as St. Thérèse of Lisieux, arguably the greatest saint of modern times, who wrote of only two visions in her life — but experienced mystical union with God. The real goal, he explains, isn't seeking gifts but, rather, opening ourselves to God's grace to attain a Spiritual Marriage with Him.
St. Teresa elucidates what is really meant by phenomena such as ecstasies and raptures in the spiritual life. Fr. Gabriel unpacks her profound mystical insights from Interior Castle to describe the various stages in the soul's journey to God and how one's prayer life develops in each mansion. These teachings are introspective, filled with psychological insights, and reflective of St. Teresa's personal experiences. In this book, Fr. Gabriel also summarizes the many types of visions and locutions the great saint experienced.
In addition, you will receive St. John of the Cross's advice about supernatural experiences, as well as possible sources of these phenomena — God, the devil, or the soul. Fr. Gabriel further shares his spiritually edifying and even awe-inspiring wisdom on:
The attitude a soul should possess regarding divine favors
How a spiritual director should respond to souls experiencing visions or revelations
The importance of exercising common sense and prudence in the spiritual life
How obedience helps the soul avoid deception and rest tranquilly
Why exercising the theological virtues is the shortest road to holiness