Christian Mystics, Saints & Kundalini
Kundalini: The Other Name for God's Fire of Love
Kundalini is just another name for the very presence of God in us, that’s why we naturally find out it’s manifestations in all acts of faith and devotion around the world, beyond all believes and religious dogma. Therefore the mysticism of Christian saints was always alimented by this fire, sometimes named “God’s fire of love”, “living flame of love”, or “wound of love”. Let’s see through famous testimonies, how this extraordinary love has inflamed the devotion of women and men of God.
St. John of the Cross was a Spanish mystic, a Roman Catholic saint, a Carmelite friar, a priest and amajor figure of the Counter-Reformation. He is famous for his works such as Spiritual Canticle, Dark Night of the Soul and The Ascent of Mount Carmel. The spiritual wounding of the heart, known as transverberation, is explained for us by St. John of the Cross in his Living Flame of Love‘s commentaries.
“This flame of love is the Spirit of its Bridegroom, who is the Holy Spirit. The soul feels him within itself not only as a fire that has consumed and transformed it but as a fire that burns and flares within it, as I mentioned. And that flame, every time it flares up, bathes the soul in glory and refreshes it with the quality of divine life. Such is the activity of the Holy Spirit in the soul transformed in love: The interior acts he produces shoot up flames, for they are acts of inflamed love, in which the will of the soul united with that flame, made one with it, loves most sublimely.”
“We can compare the soul in its ordinary condition in this state of transformation of love to the log of wood that is ever immersed in fire, and the acts of this soul to the flame that blazes up from the fire of love. The more intense the fire of union, the more vehemently does this fire burst into flames. The acts of the will are united to this flame and ascend, carried away and absorbed in the flame of the Holy Spirit, just as the angel mounted to God in the flame of Manoah’s sacrifice [Jgs. 13:20].”
“Thus in this state the soul cannot make acts because the Holy Spirit makes them all and moves it toward them. As a result all the acts of the soul are divine, since both the movement to these acts and their execution stem from God. It seems to such persons that every time this flame shoots up, making them love with delight and divine quality, it is giving them eternal life, since it raises them up to the activity of God in God.”
“It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the love of God it will feel that a seraphim is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all a fire with love. And the seraphim pierces and cauterizes this soul which, like a red-hot coal, or better a flame, is already enkindled. And then in this cauterization, when the soul is transpierced with that dart, the flame gushes forth, vehemently and with a sudden ascent, like the fire in a furnace or an oven when someone uses a poker or bellows to stir and excite it. And being wounded by this fiery dart, the soul feels the wound with unsurpassable delight.”
St. Teresa d’Avilla was a Spanish Carmelite nun, a prominent Spanish mystic and religious reformer. His transverberation was immortalized by the great Italien sculptor and genious Lorenzo Bernini, she’s famous for his work called “The Interior Castle” which refers to the soul which must go through successive stages to reach perfection or union with God. In her Autobiography, the Carmelite Saint describes how her wounding, or transverberation, took place:
“I have been thinking that God might be likened to a burning furnace, from which a small spark flies into the soul that feels the heat of this great fire, which, however, is insufficient to consume it. The sensation is so delightful that the spirit lingers in the pain produced by its contact. This seems to me the best comparison I can find, for the pain is delicious and is not really pain at all, nor does it always continue in the same degree; sometimes it lasts for a long time; on other occasions it passes quickly. This is as God chooses, for no human means can obtain it; and though felt at times for a long while, yet it is intermittent. In fact it is never permanent and therefore does not wholly inflame the spirit; but when the soul is ready to take fire, the little spark suddenly dies out, leaving the heart longing to suffer anew its loving pangs.”
“It pleased the Lord that I should see this angel in the following way. He was not tall, but short, and very beautiful, his face so aflame that he appeared to be one of the highest types of angel who seem to be all afire… In his hand I saw a long golden spear and at the end of the iron tip I seemed to see a point of fire. With this he seemed to pierce my heart several times so that it penetrated to my entrails. When he drew it out, I thought he was drawing them out with it and he left me completely afire with a great love for God. The pain was so sharp that it made me utter several moans; and so excessive was the sweetness caused me by this intense pain that one can never wish to lose it, nor will one’s soul be content with anything less than God.”
Mother Yvonne-Aimée de Jésus was the founder and first Superior General of the “Fédération des Augustines Hospitalières”, she was recognized by the General de Gaulle who insisted on decorating her personally as a national heroine. Her life is marked by an extraordinary love and devotion for the Christ, and is traversed by innumerable miracles and supernatural graces. She is known, in spite of her, for her stigmatas, numerous ecstasies and bilocation, even in the flesh, where she was sent on divine mission all around the world, while remaining clostered in her covent.
“Sunday June 11, feast of the Trinity, Yvonne receives her first mystical grace, but against a background of fever: 38° 6 in the morning; 39° 4 in the evening. She wrote that evening: This morning, at Mass, Jesus suddenly took me. It was over, I only saw, I only felt HIM. I no longer realized where I was. These are the superficial symptoms of the underground explosion: Fortunately! I got up, knelt down when necessary, but I staggered, I was no longer there. I had to sit down, as soon as I returned to my place after communion, so as not to betray the violence of my emotion, to contain the rapid beating of my heart. Oh, my Jesus, how happy I am! How well I know that it is you who are in me.”
“On July 5, 1941, after several months without extraordinary graces (and a hurtful attack by the Prince of Darkness, June 30, 1941, n° 293), Mother Yvonne-Aimée took a new step towards total union with God, in a significant continuity of signs: “The light, your light, descended on me, and I felt, in my whole being, like the coolness of a waterfall and at the same time (I was) like diving in an ocean of divine fire.” Jesus then reassures her about her inner line of conduct, which she sometimes doubted: “You are a tender and hidden spouse to me (…), your heart is like a candle that never burns out, and like an incense constantly rising towards me (…). You are a torch of fire, burning in the night you are like a flaming sword, fighting [for] the causes with which I charge you.”
Father Paul of Moll was a famous Flemish Benedictine ecstatic priest who was known at his time for his numerous healing miracles obtained by the grace of God. He was a true incarnation of the Love of God, and it was not rare to see him levitating or with golden aureole when he was praying or talking about God.
Father Paul once said to a lay sister, a penitent of his: “When you enter the church in the morning it will be like a burning furnace; fire everywhere, the fire of the love of God to welcome you. You will not see this fire, but the whole church will be full of it.”
“The love of God is my desire, my riches, my joy, and my best food, yes, all! O God of infinite love! Give me two wings to fly towards Thee, that I may rest in Thee and be satiated with Thy beautiful love; a wing of love, to draw me without ceasing toward Thy beautiful love, and a wing of confidence in order to help me to perform all my actions, all my steps, all my prayers for the love of God. Who shall ever be able to understand the love, infinitely great, wherewith Thou, O God, lovest man! We should wish to express, to describe that love; one word only escapes our powerless lips: O love! O infinite love of God! O sweet love, sweeter than honey! O ocean of love! inflame my heart with the sacred fire of Thy holy love! My name is Love.”
Lucia Mangano was an Italian Catholic nun of the Ursuline Order, known for her stigmatas, ecstasies and mystical gifts. In the reports which she wrote out of obedience, the venerable Lucia Mangano mentions interior experiences following the grace of spiritual marriage. She devotes several pages to the physical effects of the radiance of divine splendor in the soul:
“Sometimes it is the whole body that feels resplendent, surrounded by that glory which irradiates the soul in the beatific vision: then it experiences something like an indescribable confusion and cannot bear so much glory; That’s why I suffer a lot. It happens on other occasions that the heart suffers from palpitations, pains: they are like arrows of fire and other phenomena because it is unable to support the love and the jubilation of the soul, which God flows in him. More often, it is the eyes that seem invested with an inner light that tries to flow through them; but, not being able to transmit such a high and brilliant light, they feel dilated and incapable of communicating this light; I cannot close them: they remain disturbed by the outside light and cannot stare at the many little things down here, it seems that they would only find rest by staring at the immensity of the sky.”
Associated with the Passion of the Savior in 1927, Lucia Mangano obtained that her stigmata not be visible. She was partially granted this, as the wound on her side continued to open from time to time. The grace of transverbation in 1931 prepared her for the grace of spiritual marriage on March 24, 1933. From then on, she experienced an inner fire that grew stronger every year until her death thirteen years later. At first, it was simply a high fever: “I told her to take her temperature when these blazes of divine love arrived and she felt herself burning with this mysterious flame that consumed her heart. She obeyed at once. The thermometer indicated 39°5, sometimes 40°. But after a few hours, she returned, alert and serene, to her usual occupations.”
There was nothing really unusual about this, especially since she had been having temperature swings since 1926, following a vision in which Jesus, in order to prepare her to enter into the mystery of his Passion, showed her his heart overflowing with flames that came to strike hers. At the revelation of this Heart ablaze with love, Lucia had noted: “I felt myself burning very strongly on the side of the heart and experienced a sharp pain. This lasted several days, and I had to remain in bed, unable to get up.”
She experienced these unusual ailments as inner purifications, like a fire that caused her to crave God: “I saw Jesus present his Heart to me, which was emitting flames, and it seemed to me that these flames were setting me on fire. I felt myself being consumed.”
Then, starting with the transverberation, she gradually experienced a real agony of fire, in which she literally felt herself dying. The more this state intensified, the more tangible the effects became: On July 1 (1932), feeling the heat even outside, on the side of the heart, she told Maria Lanza to make sure that it was not a fantasy of the imagination: Maria checked that it was indeed a heat higher than normal.
After the stigma, the effects are spectacular: “Today at 1:30 p.m. Lucia went to rest a little and fell asleep. But she felt constantly united with God. During this rest, she felt a great heat, which was so real that the celluloid Passionist badge she wears on her dress became soft and pliable, and she and Maria also smelled the celluloid which seemed to be burning.”
These embers are rekindled by the renewed grace of the transverberation. She ends up with burn marks on her skin, her ribs heave, and her heart begins to beat with unheard-of violence. She notes in her diary: “Yesterday (March 4, 1934), I felt an extraordinary burning, which extended from under the heart to the whole left side, then invaded the whole thorax, and I felt my shoulders drying up under the action of this fire.”
To her confessor, she affirms: That it seemed to her to have inside all the chest a burning fire which little by little consumed her organism. More than once, the priest will note the external manifestations: “Yesterday morning, besides her shining eyes, she showed a flaming face; and from her mouth came out like the heat of a fire. I myself was able to note the fact very well, because I felt this heat, similar to a fiery breath.”
St. Catherine of Siena was known to be an Italian member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic in the Roman Catholic Church. She was a mystic and author who had a great influence on Italian literature and on the Catholic Church. Canonized in 1461, she is also a Doctor of the Church. She is famous for her stigmatas, ecstasies, mystical unions and extraordinary fasts, which punctuated his entire life, but also for her inflamed prose dedicated to glorifying God’s fire of love.
“My nature is fire. In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature. And what is my nature, boundless love? It is fire, because you are nothing but a fire of love. And you have given humankind a share in this nature, for by the fire of love you created us. And so with all other people and every created thing; you made them out of love. O ungrateful people! What nature has your God given you? His very own nature! Are you not ashamed to cut yourself off from such a noble thing through the guilt of deadly sin? O eternal Trinity, my sweet love! You, light, give us light. You, wisdom, give us wisdom. You, supreme strength, strengthen us. Today, eternal God, let our cloud be dissipated so that we may perfectly know and follow your Truth in truth, with a free and simple heart. God, come to our assistance! Lord, make haste to help us! Amen.”
“O Eternal God, O Fire above all fire, Fire that burns without being consumed! Fire that consumes in the soul all sin and all self-esteem, Fire that does not consume the soul, but nourishes it with an insatiable love, since in satiating her you did not satiate her, she always desires you; and, the more she desires you, the more she possesses you; the more she seeks you and the more she finds you, the more she tastes you, O sovereign Fire , Eternal fire, abyss of charity! O supreme and eternal God, who has brought you, you infinite God, to enlighten me with the light of your Truth, me your little creature? None other than yourself, o Fire of love.”
“O unfathomable depth! O Deity eternal! O deep ocean! What more could You give me than to give me Yourself? You are an ever-burning Fire; You consume and are not consumed. By Your fire, You consume every trace of self-love in the soul. You are a Fire which drives away all coldness and illumines minds with its light, and with this light You have made known Your truth. Truly this light is a sea which feeds the soul until it is all immersed in You, O peaceful Sea, eternal Trinity! The water of this sea is never turbid; it never causes fear, but gives knowledge of the truth. This water is transparent and discloses hidden things; and a living faith gives such abundance of light that the soul almost attains to certitude in what it believes.”
Some mystics have experienced this devouring fire in their bodies, to such an extent that its tangible effects – sudden increases in temperature well beyond clinical norms, burning phenomena, etc. – could be recorded and controlled with sufficient guarantees so that we can highlight the reality of the miracle. This is what spiritual people call incendium amoris: fire of love.
In 1912, the German Jesuit Johann Baptist Reus was forty-four years old. A missionary in Brazil for a dozen years, he carried out a grueling ministry in various localities and had little time to take an interest in mysticism. Moreover, distrusting the extraordinary and even the sensitive in the inner life, he never had a taste for reading authors other than the great classics of spirituality. He is nonetheless of uncommon piety, and, an eminently theological spirit, he aspires to live to perfection the virtues of faith, hope and charity. His training gave him a keen sense of the liturgy and of the Word of God, and a keen attraction for mental prayer; his involvement in the Society of Jesus, after his priestly ordination, strengthened in him the love of the Church, and enabled him to respond to an apostolic vocation among the poorest. So nothing but classic in the life of this priest, whose aspirations to holiness consisted – in accordance with the mentalities of the time – in being great in small things and in accomplishing the acts of ministry to perfection. However, here is that on August 26, 1912 during his examination of conscience, he experiences something unusual:
“There came to my heart such a conflagration that I could not attenuate it except by letting myself go to push the most lively groans. This love, which came from above and which inflamed my heart in a sensitive way, increased to such an extent that I was unable to bear it any longer, it was unspeakable.”
For two months he had known a more intimate union with Christ, which he did not understand very well and which he welcomed as a free gift of divine love, without asking too many questions. His confessor then asked him to write a very precise spiritual diary. After the experience of August 26, he felt the desire “to love God with a seraphic love”. What had he not asked for!
He was taken at his word and found himself submerged under an avalanche of graces, each more extraordinary than the other, especially considering the brief space of time in which they succeeded each other: stigmatization on September 7 (he obtained the disappearance of the external signs ), transverberation of the heart on September 12, mystical wedding on October 7, feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. He had been suddenly propelled to the heights of the transforming union, and remained as if flabbergasted, then incredulous, anxious.
Methodically, he analyzed what he lived, doubted, sifted through obedience and criticism each of his experiences, and finally discovered – with the delight that one can imagine, and that his writings translate in moving terms – what every man should be convinced of: God loves us with an insane love in his Christ delivered for us, God is not an abstraction but a transforming reality, God is a God of love who associates us with the very mystery of his love . He is amazed to find a scriptural basis for what he is experiencing:
“I feel like a grain of incense placed on burning embers. It is consumed in flames before God, under the effect of a fire which is outside of it. This is how my whole body is consumed (.. .) in this fire that falls on him. How could he not evoke the words of the Apostle: “Yes, seek to imitate God, like beloved children, and follow the way of love, following the example of Christ who loved you and delivered up for you, offering himself to God as a sweet-smelling sacrifice” (Eph 5:1-2)?
Until the end of his life, he will experience the fire of divine love, which will consume him in charity ever more, to the point that he will be crushed: “I almost could not stand this fire. I struggled against it and constantly had to convince myself that all resistance was useless. The longer I resisted, the fiercer this fire grew. Although I tried hard not to come there, I had to uncover my chest, unable to bear this conflagration any longer”.
This fire is perceived physically, Johann Baptist Reus experiences it in his body: I really feel these flames. How ? I do not know. But the reality is there. It is a painful and suave burning sensation that brings the priest to the brink of fainting: he feels unwell, is devoured by an ardent thirst and an inextinguishable hunger that only the Eucharist satisfies somewhat, everything further intensifying this feeling of devouring heat. However, the phenomenon has no impact on his rather fragile health: “My fears were in vain, my health was at its best, as I never dared to hope. During the thanksgiving, after the holy mass, it was only embers, flames and fire, and this continued all day, even during my trip. He tries to hide from it, fearing that those around him will discover the sensitive manifestations of this inner flame: “The fire of love was so intense that I paced back and forth in the bedroom, unable to bear it. some relief from this conflagration.”
This is reminiscent of the similar experience experienced by Saint Philip Neri (1515-1595) in the 16th century: His heart, explains Tarugi, bubbles and emits flames and such a fire that he has the passages of the throat burned like real fire”. That is why he is obliged, in crises, to bare himself and fan his chest. In the middle of winter, he sometimes wanted the windows to remain open, and his bed to be ventilated with cold air.
In either case, it is not only a question of a subjective sensation, but also of the objective production of calorific energy. And, if Johann Baptist Reus feels the effects of the interior fire which consumes him, others glimpse them: his face is inflamed, his skin is burning, one perceives in contact with him an irradiation of the heat which he releases.
Over the weeks and months, he discovers that this fire is closely linked to the grace of the stigmatization, and to the stigmata themselves, the seat of pain comparable to that caused by a red-hot iron. He also understands that the ardor is revived by the grace of the transverberation which, opening his heart, has made it the hearth to which the Heart of Jesus, “fire of love”, communicates itself in superabundance: I thought I was surrounded by flames of Love, and at the same time be the fuel of this fire.
The Love that invests it is a transforming fire, and this transformation takes place in the cross. Witness this vision of a remarkable symbolism recalling that the very essence of Redemption is divine love: “During a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, I saw my heart in the midst of burning flames which, like a brazier, came out of it in the form of a cross. I jumped under the effect of the burn, and I tried to soothe that feeling. In vain. It burned and burned, to my greatest consolation, and it still burns me as I write. The fiery cross, which until then I had always seen within me, widened: it exceeded my heart in its four dimensions, and my whole person was then immersed in a great cross of fire.”
One can speak in this servant of God of a real mysticism of fire. By studying his writings in chronological order, and by placing the experiences he recounts in their context, we see that the evolution of the incendium amoris is closely linked to a succession of graces which, beginning with the stigmatization, s flourish here below in the transforming union, final transfiguration in the divine charity already evoked in the 13th century by Saint Gertrude of Helfta: “O my God, devastating ember, whose lively ardor, at first secret, then revealed and spread, settling with inextinguishable power on the slippery swamps of my soul, began by drying up there the abundant humidity of human satisfactions, to then melt the hardness of my own will. O true Fire whose burning irresistibly destroys the evil of the soul to distill the sweet anointing of grace! It is in you, and in you alone, that we are made capable of remaking ourselves in the image and likeness of our first state. O powerful Furnace, contemplated in the blissful vision of true peace and whose action transforms the dross into pure and precious gold, since the soul has finally tired of the mirage of perishable goods to attach itself only to to what comes from you alone, O unique Truth!”
In Johann Baptist Reus, the effects of the incendium amoris are felt above all in the chest, in the heart transformed into a hearth of love by the very source of the fire, which is the Heart of Jesus flowing thanks to the transverberation in the heart of the mystic. Manifesting in a sensible way the flow of the flames of divine love into the soul from the Heart of Jesus transfixed on the cross, the phenomenon is closely dependent on the stigmatization, whether the wounds are visible or not, whether it is complete or limited to the sole grace of transverberation: saints who did not present marks of the mystical crucifixion which united them to the Savior – Teresa of Avila, Philip Neri or Paul of the Cross, for example -, have none the less experienced, as a result of transverberation, the effects of incendium amoris.
Also a Franciscan and stigmatized tertiary, Rosa Andriani (1786-1848) was, like Palma, directed by the conventual Francesco De Pace. She presented, in addition to multiple ecstasies, visions and revelations, very strange phenomena of hyperthermia linked to the grace of transverberation: “Full of love for the seraphic Saint Thérèse, whose virtues she wished to imitate, on October 15, 1824, the feast day of the Saint, Rosa was abducted in ecstasy, and a seraphim pierced her heart with the dart of divine love, and since then this operation has been repeated every year. Then a singular thing happened: Rosa tore hot bones from her breast. Some have been preserved until now.”
Catherine-Aurélie Caouette experienced the grace of transverberation on September 8, 1856. Two days later, she noticed a bloody wound in her side: She feels like a flame in the part of her heart that has been wounded, she feels as if she were burned, and the night before, she had suffered a great deal from this fire. Her heart is quiet and she feels strongly set on fire with love. This sensation is growing: Her wound made her suffer greatly, she felt an ardor that burned her and was felt outside 196. This is not a simple subjective impression:
“I can’t take it anymore, she said, my heart is burning. And while saying these words, she takes my hand, opens her coat and, over her dress, applies it to her chest at the place of the heart. At first I feel a marked heat, but this ardor increases and soon becomes a fire that burns my hand. I feel a pain strong enough that I can no longer bear it, and I want to withdraw my hand; she holds it back for a few moments, then she moves it away from her heart and says to me: “Father, I am not able to bear such things for long. This must stop, or I die. I am consumed.”
The writings of certain mystics make it possible not only to apprehend from the outside the phenomenon of the incendium amoris, but also to deepen its spiritual significance. Johann Baptist Reus is not the only one to have left on this subject pages which are among the most beautiful of mystical literature in the 20th century. The writings of Catherine-Michelle Courage (1891-1922), while less literary in form, are no less instructive.
Young girl of modest origin, Catherine-Michelle does not know the mystical authors; its spiritual direction is provided by the parish priest, who has no theological pretensions and endeavors to lead it in the sure paths of sacramental practice and the exercise of the virtues. Edified by her progress in the interior life, then impressed by the graces of union with which she was favored, he advised her to keep her diary. On Passion Friday, March 22, 1913, she experiences transverberation, which ignites the flames of incendium amoris within her: “I felt in my heart a mysterious thing: it is a fire which consumes me, delights me as much as it tortures me, but which appeases me and consumes me. Ah, if I were to die of love, what a beautiful death!”
It is the Eucharist that nourishes and revives this inner fire at each communion, sometimes making his heart beat in an extraordinary way: “The presence of the Holy Host produced a burning sensation on my tongue and above all in my heart. It’s not just an impression, because the effects are reflected in a concrete way: I am under the action of an interior fire, which burns me and seems to want to consume me. In the region of the heart especially, this fire is so intense that my linen is scorched. The person who washes my flannels noticed this and, to the questions she asked me, I didn’t really know what to answer.”
On May 3, 1920, the heart seemed to be cramped in his chest, and three ribs were raised, as if to give him more space. The nuns of Saint-Joseph de Lapte, with whom the young girl finds the atmosphere of fervor and the discretion she seeks, note, dumbfounded, the phenomenon. For her part, she begs God to remove her from the gaze of others. In vain : “Since yesterday morning, the burning on the side has become even more intense. Here is the explanation that Jesus gave me: “My dear spouse, I have made your heart a furnace, however much you want to contain the flames, something escapes from it outside, I allow it for the many souls.”
This fire will increase as the young girl gives herself up to divine action, leaving her visible footprints: “Physically, I suffered too, the heart was painful, very burning; this fire does not go out, but it does not always have the same degree. At times, it is so intense that it burns until my clothes. But how sweet are these sufferings to me!”
Literally consumed with love, this little-known French mystic died in ecstasy at the end of a brief existence devoted to the love of God and her neighbour. It presents a remarkable case of nuptial and restorative mysticism in 20th century France, certain formulas of which are reminiscent of those of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus.