Choose a topic from Part 2B:

175. Rapture

1. Rapture is the state of being transported emotionallyor spiritually; it is being carried out of oneself by a kind ofecstasy. In our present use, the word rapture means the upliftingof a person by the Spirit of God to things supernatural, by amovement so engrossing and powerful as to blot out the person'ssense-awareness of his surroundings. St. Paul (II Cor. 12:2) tellsof his being "rapt even to the third heaven."

2. Rapture is of the intellectual order rather than of theappetitive order. It deals with, and is occasioned by, revelationsthat enthrall the soul; and revelations are manifestations of truthto the intellect. Yet the will may so ardently desire what theintellect considers, that it contributes to the state of rapture.Besides, the intellect beholds, but the willenjoys.

3. St. Paul (II Cor. 12), speaking of himself in the thirdperson, says he was rapt to heaven and heard secret words which itis not permitted to man to utter. Doubtless, he saw the essence ofGod, and had, in some way, a foretaste of the joy of heaven. But hehad not the fullness of the light of glory and the beatific vision;else he would have been instantly glorified and confirmed in graceand beatitude; and, for man the wayfarer, this is impossible.

4. That St. Paul in his rapture was withdrawn from hissenses is evident from the fact that he did not know whether he wasin heaven in a bodily way or in vision-"whether in the body orout of the body, I know not."

5. We are not to suppose that St. Paul's soul wasseparated from his body during his rapture (that is, that he died,and was afterwards restored to life), but that his intellect waswithdrawn from its natural operation of dealing with sense-images,and was raised, and filled supernaturally with the revelations ofGod.

6. As we have noted, St. Paul himself was not sure of justhow his rapture was effected. He was sure of one thing: that hiswhole mind was supernaturally raised, and focused upon divinethings to the exclusion of everything else.

"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time. "
St Phillip Neri

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"A tree that is cultivated and guarded through the care of its owner produces its fruit at the expected time. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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