2 Corinthians 12:7″….And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a Angel of Satan to beat me, to keep me from being too exalted.
The life of ST Gemma Galgani .
Maria Gemma Umberta Pia Galgani (March 12, 1878 – April 11, 1903) was an Italian She has been called the “Daughter of Passion” because of her profound imitation of the Passion of chris.
In her Diary Gemma writes:
“The devil, in the form of a great black dog, put his paws upon my shoulders, making every bone in my body ache. At times I believed that he would mangle me; then one time, when I was taking holy water, he twisted my arm so cruelly that I fell to the earth in great pain.After a while I remembered that I had around my neck the relic of the Holy Cross. Making the Sign of the Cross, I became calm. Jesus let me see Himself, but only for a short time, and He strengthened me anew to suffer and struggle.”
According to a biography written by her spiritual director, the Reverend Germanus Ruoppolo, CP (now a venerable), Gemma began to display signs of the Stigmata on June 8, 1899, at the age of twenty-one. She stated that she had spoken with her guardian Angel Jesus, the virgin mary and other saints—especially Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. According to her testimonies, she sometimes received special messages from them about current or future events. With her health in decline, Ruoppolo directed her to pray for the disappearance of her stigmata; she did so and the marks ceased.She said that she resisted the Devil’s attacks often.
Gemma was frequently found in a state of ecstasy. She has also been reputed to levitate. In one instance, in the dining room of her home was a large crucifix that was highly venerated by the whole family, particularly by Gemma. She claimed that at least once that she found herself raised from the floor with her arms around the crucifix while kissing the wound on the side of the crucified.
Gemma was often treated with disdain by some in the churches heirarchy ; even her own confessor was at times skeptical of her mystical gifts. Her spiritual director, the Reverend Ruoppolo, was initially reserved, but after a thorough and prudent examination of the ongoing events surrounding her, he became completely convinced of the authenticity of her mystical life. After her death, he wrote a detailed biography of her life and was responsible for gathering all her writings, including her diary, autobiography, and letters.
A mystic is essentially a person who pursues a truth or understanding beyond those normally associated with the human experience. He or she may or may not be initiated into any number of spiritual or religious mysteries, and may or may not have achieved the insight they are pursuing. What links all such people together is the belief in, and pursuit of, a transcendent truth that surpasses exclusively rational understanding or knowing.
In the popular conception, a mystic is often a person who embraces esoteric practices, or studies magic or the occult. Although people who do these things may identify as such, not all are involved in such practices. Mysticism has a surprising number of faces, and trying to define it beyond a pursuit of transcendent truth becomes difficult. There are, however, some major strains of mysticism which have common traits.
Nearly all religious traditions have their own strains of mysticism. In many monotheistic and some polytheistic faiths, this person is usually concerned with finding a direct connection to God Himself, often through meditation or prayer. In Christianity, mystics often refer to this state as Union or Oneness with God. In Islam this state is called Irfan, which literally translated means knowing. In Jainism, a state called Moksha parallels this unity, referring to an ascendance to a spiritual state in which all reality is seen to be illusion.
Many modern mystic paths are heavily influenced by ancient Greek rites, most notably the Eleusinian Mysteries, dating from around the 15th century BCE. The Eleusinian Mysteries focused on a myth cycle involving Demeter and Persephone, invoking the concept of death, and the resurrection that can come by triumphing over death. They remained intact for nearly two millennia, and over that time laid much of the groundwork for myth cycles other faiths would adopt.
From the 17th century on, various fraternal organizations incorporating mystic elements began to become popular throughout Europe. The Rosicrucian Order and the Freemasons are perhaps the best known of these groups, and they continue to enjoy widespread popularity to this day. Beginning in the 19th century, there was a resurgence in mysticism in the west. These paths often used occult elements, such as communication with spirits, as part of their practice. The Theosophist movement is perhaps the most well-known of these more modern mystic paths. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was another such movement around this time, which went on to influence many more modern faiths, most notably Wicca
What is Wicca?
“Wicca is a deep appreciation and awe in watching the sunrise or sunset, the forest in the light of a glowing moon, a meadow enchanted by the first light of day. It is the morning dew on the petals of a beautiful flower, the gentle caress of a warm summer breeze upon your skin, or the warmth of the summer sun on your face. Wicca is the fall of colorful autumn leaves, and the softness of winter snow. It is light, and shadow and all that lies in between. It is the song of the birds and other creatures of the wild. It is being in the presence of Mother Earths nature and being humbled in reverence. When we are in the temple of the Lord and Lady, we are not prone to the arrogance of human technology as they touch our souls. To be a Witch is to be a healer, a teacher, a seeker, a giver, and a protector of all things. If this path is yours, may you walk it with honor, light and integrity.
Wicca is a belief system and way of life based upon the reconstruction of pre-Christian traditions originating in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. While much of the information of how our ancestors lived, worshiped and believed has been lost due to the efforts of the medieval church to wipe our existence from history, we try to reconstruct those beliefs to the best of our ability with the information that is available.
Witchcraft in ancient history was known as “The Craft of the Wise” because most who followed the path were in tune with the forces of nature, had a knowledge of Herbs and medicines, gave council and were valuable parts of the village and community as Shamanic healers and leaders. They understood that mankind is not superior to nature, the earth and its creatures but instead we are simply one of the many parts, both seen and unseen that combine to make the whole. As Chief Seattle said; “We do not own the earth, we are part of it.” These wise people understood that what we take or use, we must return in kind to maintain balance and equilibrium. Clearly, modern man with all his applied learning and technology has forgotten this. Subsequently, we currently face ecological disaster and eventual extinction because of our hunger for power and a few pieces of gold.
What Witchcraft is:
Witchcraft is a spiritual system that fosters the free thought and will of the individual, encourages learning and an understanding of the earth and nature thereby affirming the divinity in all living things. Most importantly however, it teaches responsibility. We accept responsibility for our actions and deeds as clearly a result of the choices we make. We do not blame an exterior entity or being for our shortcomings, weaknesses or mistakes. If we mess up or do something that brings harm to another, we have no one but ourselves to blame and we must face the consequences resulting from those actions. No ifs, ands or buts and no whining…
In early 1903, Gemma was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and thus began a long and often painful death. Mystical phenomena that occurred during her final illness. One of the religious nursing sisters who attended to her stated, “We have cared for a good many sick people, but we have never seen anything like this.” At the beginning of Holy Week 1903, her health quickly deteriorated, and by Good Friday she was suffering tremendously. She was Beatified on May 14, 1933 and canonized on May 2, 1940
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