About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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That the Mass is the central feature of the Catholic religion hardly needs to be said. During the Reformation (and always) the Mass has been the test. The word of the Reformers—“It is the Mass that matters”—was true. The long persecution of Catholics in England took the practical form of laws chiefly against saying Mass; for centuries the occupant of the English throne was obliged to manifest his Protestantism, not by a general denial of the whole system of Catholic dogma, but by a formal repudiation of the doctrine of Transubstantiation and of the Mass.
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

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Liturgical Mysticism
published 14 September 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

As I wrote sometime back I am assembling excerpts of the Spiritual Classics for an anthology for teaching. When I come upon something I think my Watershed readers would like I cut and paste it for you.

St. Gertrude the Great is one of the most famous Benedictine mystics of the Church. Here is a little about her:

Gertrude the Great (c.1256-1302)
Gertrude was given to a Benedictine monastery at Helfta, Germany when she was 5 years old, as was a custom among some devout Catholic families in those days. It was a monastery influenced by Cistercian spirituality. She was there first as a student and ward but, then, Gertrude joined the order as a young woman, still spending most of her time in studies of Latin and rhetoric. In 1281, as a young woman she had a spiritual experience which convinced her to spend the rest of her life on religious studies. She became a renowned and loved counselor of other nuns. She became highly influential because of her autobiographical writings, especially because of the way her spirituality is permeated by the liturgy of the hours, and also because of her experience of the Sacred Heart.)

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 22 which illustrates how mystical the liturgy can be! For many years I read such mystical writings and they encouraged me to yearn for more than I had in my somewhat faith is enough way of being a Catholic. When, later on, God graced me with mystical gifts, the knowledge of experiences such as those of St. Gertrude helped me not to think I was just “losing it.”

Chapter 22 Revelations of Divine Love

I should be unjust in recalling the gratuitous gifts which I have received from Thy charitable clemency, if I ungratefully passed over what was granted to my unworthiness, by Thy most loving clemency, during a certain Lent. For on the second Sunday, as they sang at Mass before the procession, the response which commences Vidi Dominum facie ad faciem, a marvelous and inestimable coruscation illuminated my soul with the light of Divine revelation, and it appeared to me that my face was pressed to another face, as St. Bernard says “Not a form, but forming; not attracting the bodily eye, but rejoicing the heart; giving freely gifts of love, not merely in appearance but in reality.”

In this most enchanting vision, Thine eyes, bright as the solar rays, appeared opposite to mine, and Thou alone knowest how Thou, my dearest Lord, affected not only my soul, but even my body and all my strength. Grant, therefore that as long as I live I may prove myself Thy humble and devoted servant….

When Thou didst display Thy most adorable Face – the source of all blessedness, as I have said, embracing me, unworthy – a light of inestimable sweetness passed through Thy … eyes into mine, passing through my inmost being, operating in all my members with admirable power and sweetness: first it appeared as if the marrow were taken from my bones; then, my flesh and bones appeared annihilated, so much so, that it seemed as if my substance no longer had any consciousness save that Divine Splendor, which shone in so inexplicable and delightful a manner that it was the source of the most inestimable pleasure and joy to my soul.

Oh, what shall I say further of this most sweet vision, if I may so term it? For all the eloquence in the world, if employed daily to persuade me, could never convince me that I should behold Thee more clearly even in glory, O my God, the only salvation of my soul, if Thou hadst not taught me by experience. I will dare say that if anything human or Divine, can exceed the blessedness of Thy embrace in this vision, as I consider, I may truly say that, unless Thy Divine virtue possessed that person, the soul would never remain in the body after a momentary taste of this blessedness.

I render thanks to Thee through the union of mutual love which reigns in the adorable Trinity, for what I have so often experienced, and that Thou hast deigned to favor me with Thy caresses; so that while I sat meditating, or reading the Canonical Hours, or saying the Office of the Dead, Thou hast often, during a single Psalm, embraced my soul many times with a kiss, which far surpasses the most fragrant perfume or the sweetest honey; and I have often observed Thou didst look on me favorably in the condescending caresses Thou didst give to my soul. But though all these things were filled with an extreme sweetness, I declare, nevertheless, that nothing touched me so much as this majestic look of which I have spoken. For this, and for all other favors, whose value Thou alone knowest, mayest Thou rejoice forever in that ineffable sweetness surpassing all comprehension, which the Divine Persons communicate mutually to each other in the bosom of the Divinity! …

Read more blog entries by Dr. Ronda by visiting RONDAVIEW. Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.