James Martin, S.J.: Have you ever had a mystical experience?
Have you ever had a mystical experience? I ask that not to make you feel inadequate in your spiritual life, much less bad about yourself, but to remind you that mystical experiences are lot more common than you might think. You don’t have to be a saint to have them. A mystical experience, basically, is one that makes us feel like a sudden flash of truth or light that releases you from your limited sense of self and gives you a taste of a reality that somehow feels more real. It doesn’t mean seeing things or hearing things, but a kind of being taken out of yourself, or seeing things in a new way. And in my experience as a spiritual director, they are, while not common, but also not uncommon.
One young man told that he felt like he was a vase filled with water about to overflow. One woman told me that she looked around at Mass and suddenly realized that everyone had once been a child. Sometimes it’s just an intense feeling of rightness, or understanding, or connection with God. I would say I’ve had them about three times in my life. I’m not going to encourage you to look for a mystical experience this week; they’re gifts, and rare ones at that. But if it happens, whether this week, this month or this year, just be open to it. And grateful.