Print this page

Observations placeholder

As to ecstasies, I have experienced one, which I remember perfectly

Identifier

021666

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

M E. Quoted Leuba: P.R.M., pp. 2o9-10.

As to ecstasies, I have experienced one, among others, which I remember perfectly. I will try to tell you when and how it happened and what it was like. I was thirty-six years old. I was climbing with some young fellows from Forclaz to the Croix de Bovine in order to reach Champex. We were following a road bordered by blooming oleanders and looking down over a stretch of country dotted here and there with clumps of firs. The wind scattered the clouds above and below us, sending them down or driving them up in whirling eddies. Now and then, one escaped and floated over the valley of the Rhone.

I was in perfect health; we were on our sixth day of tramping, and in good training. We had come the day before from Sixt to Trent by Buet. I felt neither fatigue, hunger, nor thirst, and my state of mind was equally healthy.

I had had at Forclaz good news from home; I was subject to no anxiety, either near or remote, for we had a good guide, and there was not a shadow of uncertainty about the road we should follow. I can best describe the condition in which I was by calling it a state of equilibrium.

When, all at once, I experienced a feeling of being raised above myself, I felt the presence of God - I tell of the thing just as I was conscious of it as if His goodness and power were penetrating me altogether. The throb of emotion was so violent that I could barely tell the boys to pass on and not wait for me. I then sat down on a stone, unable to stand any longer, and my eyes overflowed with tears. I thanked God that in the course of my life He had taught me to know Him... Then, slowly, the ecstasy left my heart; that is, I felt that God had withdrawn the communication which he had granted, and I was able to walk on, but very slowly, so strongly was I still possessed by the emotion.

Besides, I had wept uninterruptedly for several minutes, my eyes were swollen, and I did not wish my companions to see me. The state of ecstasy may have lasted four or five minutes, although it seemed at the time to last much longer. My comrades waited for me ten minutes at the cross of Bovine, but I took about twenty-five or thirty minutes to join them for, as well as I can remember, they said that I had kept them back for about half an hour. The impression had been so profound that in climbing slowly the slope, I asked myself if it were possible that Moses on Sinai could have had a more intimate communication with God.

But the more I seek words to express this intimate intercourse, the more I feel the impossibility of describing the thing by any of our usual images.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: Rosie Rock-Evans