As an addendum to the previous item, I want to add this:
In 1993 and 1994, I was serving under a fine Rector in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, first as a lay person and second as an Ordained Deacon. I don’t know how he was able, but that Priest bluntly stated that he was aware that I am a mystic. Never heard anyone call me that before, but I just let him keep talking, because I was only surprised that he knew.
Thankfully, he knew what to do with an untrained mystic. Sadly, I only had his talents, gifts and interest for a few months. So the exercises went something like this for me—Pray as I normally do, and see if God will give me an image—an image that I will keep to myself lest I lead my new spiritual director with the image.
I did. I kept to myself. Next week, upon admitting I had an image I believed was given and that I had expected something quite different, and quite more complex or at least obviously personal—he said, the fact that it was none of those was a strong indication the image was from God and not my own imagination. So now, he wanted me to pray as I do, and see if I could find myself with Christ, as He died on the Cross.
That came rather easily, to my surprise, and as was part of this prayer I had been asked to make, I took my “item” to the Cross and lay it there—in a manner of speaking.
I watched as blood dripped upon this object, and I waited. Father had told me to wait and see if the object changed into something else, or took on new meaning, was taken away or simply vanished, or perhaps was somehow given back to me in a meaningful way.
I reported back to father the next week that it became bloody by Christ’s blood dripping down on it. He asked me what I did then, I said, “I left it there.” He told me the next time I was able to pray in the way I sometimes am allowed to do, to go back to the foot of the Cross and see what happens, but that if my object given me was still there, I ought to take it up again—regardless of what it might have become.
So I did—it may have taken me a couple of weeks, but I did find myself back at the Cross, and there it was, just as I had left it, but bloody.
I really wanted something different—or at least some kind of understanding. But it waited for me to take it up again. I got off my knees there at Calvary, and stepped up, with my right hand took the sword I left jammed into ground by its now bloody hilt.
Fifteen years I have carried that sword and the only blood on it is my Lord’s. I still wonder what possible use it is.