"In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God."I stopped at this verse, which would seem to be incomplete without reading the rest of the story, because I cared less about the content of the vision than about the fact of the vision. Manifestations by and from God have intrigued -- and troubled -- me on a number of occasions since my conversion, which began with a manifestation (hierophany).
Reading: Ezekiel 1:1.
Meditation: Upon a number of occasions, I have been told by one supposedly knowledgeable person after another that God does not talk to ordinary people. One well known priest in southern California, who led a retreat I attended about St. Francis, went so far as to say that St. Francis was mistaken, that he did not really hear a voice, that this was a thought welling up from within him. He had no comment about the locutions received by St. Teresa of Avila, but I suppose he might have said the same. Fortunately, the priest to whom I had turned when I first received a locution disagreed with this southern Californian priest. I suspect, though, based upon the lay people and the religious whom I have encountered in the past five years that only a very small minority believes that God ever really talked to people and that in those cases it was only the Israelis of yore.
So, that, at time, causes me to ponder the issue of my own sanity. Then, something comes along to provide evidence that this was not a thought welling within me -- on most occasions, it would not be possible since the locution providedhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif information I had no way of knowing. (See, for ehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifxample, Voice VI on Modern Mysticism.) It also helps that Fr. Thomas Dubay, before his passing, wrote a wonderful book, Authenticity, in which he discusses locutions, touches, visions, and more, and that he responded to a letter in which I described my experiences, indicating that he thought that they were probably authentic. What has helped even more was a comment I read in some book (wish I could remember which one) that contended that God has not stopped talking to His people; we have just stopped listening.
I would suppose that one could say the same thing about visions. God has not stopped sending visions to His people; we have just stopped seeing.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to thank God for seeming insanity of what comes my way -- the visions and the locutions. I will praise God for the greatness of His love that He continues to trust me with these things even though each and every time I question them. I will ask God for greater trust and greater discernment and will repent for those times I have had too little of each. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.