Angela de Foligno - Livre de L’Experience des Vrais Fideles
Type of Spiritual Experience
In reading the following we have to take into account that this is written by someone other than Angela herself and transcribed after the event in an attempt to capture what Angela said. So this is not direct experience, this is second hand experience. Furthermore, all the description uses the word ‘God’ because that is what good Catholics were told they had to say – it was drummed into them from an early age that there is only one ‘God’ and thus whatever communication you get must be ‘God’. In reality I think she was experiencing communication with her composer – so in the following wherever it says ‘God’ read composer.
Angela di Foligno was a Franciscan and classified as one of the ‘blessed’.
This is a continual problem with the observations of both Catholics, Protestants and Muslims, there is the constant assumption that it must be God. And it never is.
I am that which was, which is, and which is to come. No mortal has yet raised my veil
St John of the Cross – Subida del Monte Carmelo
I am really terrified by what passes among us in these days. Anyone who has barely begun to meditate, if he becomes conscious of words of this kind during his self-recollection, pronounces them forthwith to be the work of God and, convinced that they are so, goes about proclaiming 'God has told me this,' or 'I have had that answer from God.' But all is illusion and fancy; such an one has only been speaking to himself. Besides, the desire for these words, and the attention they give to them, end by persuading men that all the observations which they address to themselves are the responses of God
A description of the experience
St Angele de Foligno – Livre de L’Experience des Vrais Fideles
At times, God comes into the soul without being called; and He instills into her fire, love, and sometimes sweetness ; and the soul believes this comes from God, and delights therein. But she does not yet know, or see, that He dwells in her; she perceives His grace, in which she delights. And again God comes to the soul, and speaks to her words full of sweetness, in which she has much joy, and she feels Him. This feeling of God gives her the greatest delight; but even here a certain doubt remains; for the soul has not the certitude that God is in her. . . .
And beyond this the soul receives the gift of seeing God.
God says to her, 'Behold Me!' and the soul sees Him dwelling within her. She sees Him more clearly than one man sees another. For the eyes of the soul behold a plenitude of which I cannot speak: a plenitude which is not bodily but spiritual, of which I can say nothing. And the soul rejoices in that sight with an ineffable joy; and this is the manifest and certain sign that God indeed dwells in her. And the soul can behold nothing else, because this fulfils her in an unspeakable manner. This beholding, whereby the soul can behold no other thing, is so profound that it grieves me that I can say nothing of it. It is not a thing which can be touched or imagined, for it is ineffable
The source of the experienceOther religious person
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
SuppressionsContemplation and detachment