A Call to Love
If my mystical experiences had come from any other religious or non-religious tradition I would have been delighted to share them, and expect them to be welcomed warmly. Irish people were being drawn to many diverse Eastern wisdom systems, in particular yoga; mindfulness; meditation; also Celtic Druidism; Shamanism; communing with the power of Nature, New Age practices and many more beautiful spiritual practices and all with the resolute stamp of wanting to find God anywhere but in Christianity. The lamentable irony that the Church itself has pushed people away from Christ. The Irish population can roughly be divided as follows: the majority who either have no belief and/or no interest in the question of God; a sizeable minority who pursue their interest in God through non-Christian practices; a very small minority who have stuck with the traditional Church; and another minority who having left organised religion continue to have spiritual yearnings but as yet have not found a place to anchor this yearning.
It was surreal to have this amazing story inside me but no one to share it with. Even though I was nowhere near ready to share my story publicly, I still longed to reach out to someone privately. I was bursting to be heard by someone who would understand. The obvious place to turn was my own Catholic Church but as I cast my eye around the nuns and priests I knew I could not identify anyone whom I perceived to have any mystical presence or knowing and so might be receptive to my story.
However on Christmas Day 2015, one year to the day when the path of my spiritual awakening began to unfold, I attended Christmas Mass in the beautiful Church of St. Teresa of Avila, Clarendon St. in Dublin. Mass was being served by a visiting priest and theologian from the Pontifical Theological Faculty, Teresianum in Rome and he raised the game. He gave a powerfully moving sermon on the opening lines of the mystical Gospel of St. John, ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.’ The tone of his sermon was undeniably mystical. I thought, here at last was someone who would be receptive to my story. After Mass I asked to meet him privately. We met, I told him my story and he listened with respect but also with fear. He was very uncomfortable with what I was saying. When I finished he said he was out of his depth with what I was sharing and he could not help me. He ended with this sentence, ‘If God wants your story to be told, it will be told.’ It was unclear whether this was offered as encouragement or as a test of the truth of my story.
The next effort I made was to attend a retreat in a well known Jesuit centre in North Dublin. This time I didn’t even get the respect. I hoped to speak to the head priest but I had to be ‘vetted’ so to speak by a nun first. I think she was checking was my problem worthy of being brought before the priest. In that little exchange the nun ridiculed me, suggesting it was fanciful for me to be saying the things I was saying. In a defensive reaction I retorted, ‘I am completely psychologically stable.’ To which she sarcastically answered, ‘How do you know that?’ I hid my upset. She allowed me to proceed to the head priest who, when I told him my holy story, effectively dismissed me like a child with a farfetched story, as good as patted me on the head, and told me not to be troubling myself about things like that. Crazy-woman. I was devastated and thrown into confusion.
In a last ditch effort to find someone to talk to within my Catholic religion I signed up with a spiritual director for private sessions. More fear, more rules, more don’t go there, not quite crazy-woman but on high alert. She was very kind and respectful but she didn’t like what I was sharing. Many times she reminded me that just because someone has visions of the Light they do not necessarily come from the Light, that the devil can masquerade as Light! She may have feared I was an agent of darkness. My frustration was intense and when I cried in despair at her attitude she suggested I was crying because I was not comfortable to be having these ‘so-called visions’. I was crying because she was trying to fit me into the ABC of her non-mystical training manual and I could not fit. When I told her that I had visions of heaven at Mass, she said, ‘Ignore all that and focus on the priest.’ I realised she had absolutely no conception of what it was like to receive a vision of Jesus – there is no option to ignore it! It was the blind insisting on leading the sighted so I gave up the sessions.
The final effort I made was to approach one of my philosophy professors but my words fell on deaf ears. I chose him specifically because I could discern he had his own mystical gift but I could immediately tell that he was fearful to engage with me. He kindly gave me two amazing books on the philosophy of mysticism but he made it clear he didn’t want to be embroiled in whatever I was up to. After that I had nowhere else to turn except to my own self. I was on my own. What was I going to do? The experiences were so incredibly beautiful that they cried out to be shared. I could not keep all this joy and love to myself. I fully understood that they were not meant solely for my own private pleasure, I knew I was a conduit for sharing them with the world. But how? I was now doing an MA in Creative Writing and becoming a writer so it was easy to envisage writing a book about the experiences, but a writer can’t just deliver a book to the world and then run away and hide. She has to stand over the book and answer for it. And that was my stumbling block - going public with these spectacular experiences frightened me.
What I wanted to share was that I had seen the Light and that it was available for everybody to see it. I wanted to share that God is Pure Love and every created being and every part of Nature is a creation of pure Love. I wanted to share that there is a transcendent Joy offering itself to all people all of the time but we are not accessing it. I wanted to tell people that we are all connected in a glorious blazing light of Love and we ought to be living in peace and harmony. I wanted to share that the only way to heal the world is through Love and I wanted us all to get started. I wanted to share that we are meant to be making a heaven of earth and can easily do so if we would just begin to live in love. So what then, was I scared of? One day in meditation, when exploring all this with Jesus, he said to me, ‘I brought you to heaven so you would bring me to earth.’ Why could I not speak? I was scared.
I wanted the experiences to be shared but I didn’t want to do it. Yet I was the only person who could do the work of sharing my own story. Clearly no one else was coming to help. It was up to me. If so, what did I need to act? Courage. Where was I to find it? Ultimately inside my own self. The first time I connected with my Guardian Angel in a meditation, I asked her for her name. She said it was Andreia. In my naivety I presumed that meant she was Hispanic but some time later I was reading Plato’s Republic and discovered that Andreia is the Greek word for Courage which Plato names as one of the Four Cardinal Virtues. I was bowled over. The courage I needed to proceed with my unusual offering was being gifted to me by my own Guardian Angel, my higher self. The other three virtues by the way are Wisdom, Temperance, and Justice.
Continued in next blog entry
Copyright Aedamar Kirrane 2019.