The Gift of Tears

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Our Lady of Tears - Seven Liquid Tears form Our Lady's Crown

 

The Fruits of the Inner Man begin only with the Shedding of Tears. When you reach the Place of Tears, then know that your Spirit has come out from the Prison of this World and has set its Foot upon the Path that leads towards the New Age.

 

The Gift of Tears

Weeping mingled with Joy

isaacofsyria.jpg (17128 bytes) sorrow.jpg (4489 bytes) climacos.jpg (55641 bytes) leo.jpg (14503 bytes)

from various sources

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sorrow.jpg (4489 bytes) We have all watched a "tear-jerking" movie or read a good book depicting situations that bring us to Tears of Compassion. We may have found ourselves swelling with Tears at the Consecration of the Mass as we think of all the Sacrileges done today, or just in giving thanks for such a Gift as the Eucharist.

But the Gift of Tears given to some of our Saints like Saint Francis, Saint Patrick, Saint Anthony, Saint Paul , and of course Our Lady of Sorrows is so intense and constant that, as in Saint Francis' case, it helped cause him to lose his sight.

The following paragraph is from the life of Saint Ignatius:

"He sometimes Cried so much at Mass that he could not go on, nor even talk for some time, and he was afraid that his Gift of Tears might cause him the lose of his eyesight. Gonclaves de Camara said, 'When he did not Weep three times during Mass, he considered himself deprived of consolation'".

 

Supra/SuperNatural Order
(Resides in the Essence of the Soul)

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Natural
Order

Supernatural
Order

Natural Body -
Emotions/
Feelings/
Sensations

Natural Soul -
Intellect/Will/
Reason/Heart/
Conscience

Supernatural Grace/Infused Virtues and Gifts of the Holy Spirit

ContraNatural &
Natural Tears

SupraNatural
Tears

The Supernatural Order is the Ensemble of Effects exceeding the Powers of the Created Universe and Gratuitously produced directly by God for the purpose of raising the Rational Creature above its Natural Sphere to a God-like Life and Destiny.

In The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Saint John Climacus discussed Three (3) Levels of Tears:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) ContraNatural Tears (Crocodile Tears) which arise when our Will is thwarted, for example Tears of Anger, Jealousy, or Frustration

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Natural Tears which arise in response to Emotional and Physical Suffering, whether such Suffering is experienced by Ourselves or by Others with whom we feel Sympathy. Examples are Tears of Grief, Pain, or Compassion. These Tears seem to contribute to our Healing.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) SupraNatural Tears are conferred by God as a Gift of Grace and are what Mystics are referring to when they speak of the Gift of Tears. They may be both Joyful and Sorrowful at the same time.

climacos.jpg (55641 bytes) In addition Saint John Climacus, following after the Apostle Paul, says in the The Ladder of Divine Ascent:

"Mourning according to God is Sadness of Soul and the disposition of a Sorrowing Heart, which ever madly seeks that for which it thirsts . . . Mourning is a Golden Spur in a Soul which is stripped of all Attachment and of all Ties . . . Keep a firm hold of the Blessed Gladdening Sorrow of Holy Compunction, and do not stop working at it until it raises you high above the Things of this World, and presents you Pure to Christ . . . The Fruit of Spurious Compunction is Self-Esteem, and the Fruit of Praiseworthy Compunction is Consolation . . . When I consider the actual Nature of Compunction, I am amazed at how that which is called Mourning and Grief should contain Joy and Gladness interwoven within it, like Honey in the Comb".

 

The Holy Fathers of the Church teach us to ask of the Lord the Gift of Tears, because without Tears there can be no real Repentance and Cleansing of the Soul. Penitential Tears are a kind of Second Baptism that Washes-Away every Sin from a Man's Soul. For much as after a Violent Burst of Rain, says Saint John Chrysostom, there is a clear open sky; so likewise when Tears are pouring down, a Calm arises, and Serenity, and the Darkness that ensues on our Sins quite disappears (Homily 6 on the Gospel according to Matthew). Mourning over Sins, writes Saint Demetrius of Rostov, Washes the Soul, Whitens every Darkening, Cleanses the Conscience, Enlightens the Mind, Loosens Sinful Bonds, and Expiates the Handwriting of Iniquities.

Those who Sorrow over their Fallen Condition and the Sinful World will Rejoice in the Future Age, according to the Savior's Word: Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall Weep and Lament, but the World shall Rejoice: and ye shall be Sorrowful, but your Sorrow shall be turned into Joy (John 16:20). Those who Mourn in this life will rejoice in Eternal Life, for genuine, Blessed Joy -- Consolation is given only in the Eternal Abodes in God's Kingdom, for there, as it is said in the Revelation of John the Theologian, God shall wipe away all Tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more Death, neither Sorrow, nor Crying, neither shall there be any more Pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4).

isaacofsyria.jpg (17128 bytes) In the passage which follows, Saint Isaac of Nineveh likens these Tears to the Tears wept at-birth. The Mystic who experiences such Tears is being reborn into the age-to-come, and as such is experiencing a foretaste of Heaven:

The Fruits of the Inner Man begin only with the Shedding of Tears. When you reach the place of Tears, then know that your Spirit has come out from the Prison of this World and has set its foot upon the path that leads towards the New Age. Your Spirit begins at this moment to breathe the wonderful air which is there, and it starts to Shed Tears. The moment for the Birth of the Spiritual Child is now at hand, and the Travail of Childbirth becomes intense. Grace, the common Mother of us all, makes haste to give birth Mystically to the Soul, God's image, bringing it forth into the Light of the Age to come. And when the time for the birth has arrived, the Intellect begins to Sense something of the things of that Other World -- as a Faint Perfume, or as the Breath of Life which a Newborn Child receives into its bodily frame. But we are not accustomed to such an experience and, finding it hard to endure, our Body is suddenly overcome by a Weeping mingled with Joy.

 

star4.gif (851 bytes) Somewhere between Natural and SupraNatural Tears are the Tears shed in Mourning over one's Sins. Like Natural Tears, these Tears bring Healing. However with Reconciliation, Tears of Sorrow begin to Mingle with Tears of Joy and take on a SupraNatural Quality.

leo.jpg (14503 bytes) From Liturgy of the Hours Book IV page 215 a Sermon by Saint Leo the Great, Pope:

"After preaching the Blessings of Poverty, the Lord went on to say: Blessed are they who Mourn, for they shall be Comforted, but the Mourning for which He promises Eternal Consolation, dearly beloved, has nothing to do with ordinary worldly distress; for the Tears which have their Origin in the Sorrow common to all mankind do not make anyone Blessed. There is another cause for the Sighs of the Saints, another reason for their Blessed Tears. Religious Grief mourns for Sin, one’s own or another’s; it does not Lament because of what happens as a result of God’s Justice, but because of what is done by Human Malice. Indeed, he who does Wrong is more to be Lamented than he who Suffers it, for his Wickedness plunges the Sinner into Punishment, whereas endurance can raise the Just Man to Glory".

From Liturgy of the Hours Book IV page. 413 Letter to Proba by Saint Augustine; (just before he goes into the discourse on the Our Father) :

"Excessive talking should be kept out of Prayer but that does not mean that one should not spend much time in Prayer so long as a Fervent Attitude continues to accompany his Prayer. To talk at length in Prayer is to perform a necessary action with an excess of words. To spend much time in Prayer is to knock with a persistent and Holy Fervor at the door to the One Whom we beseech. This task is generally accomplished more through Sighs then Words, more through Weeping than Speech. He "Places our Tears in His Sight", and "Our Sighs are not hidden from Him", for He has established all things through His Word and does not seek Human Words".

 

Conclusion

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Last Judgment Triptych (central) - by MEMLING, Hans - from Muzeum Narodowe, Gdansk
In this painting by Memling, Jesus, the Divine Justice, is handed a Red-Hot Sword by an Angel.
Mary, at the bottom-left, and Saint Joseph, plead for Divine Mercy for their children (us).

Love is the Key to the Gift of Tears, as it is the Key to everything. So with every Tear that we shed for ourselves and others, offer them to Our Blessed Mother to help fill the bucket in which she is collecting the Water (Tears) to quench the Flames of the Red-Hot Sword of Divine Justice depicted above,

 

Mass for the Gift of Tears


Readings
Ezekiel 18:21-23, 30-32 -- Turn and be Converted from all your Crimes
John 1:5--2:2 -- The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all Sin
Mark 1:1-8, 14-15 -- Repent and believe in the Gospel

Moses strikes the Rock to bring-forth water in the desert for the People of Israel - Exodus 17/Numbers 20
The Rock is a PreFigurement of Christ, and the Water represents His Copious Graces, Pardon and Mercy.

Opening Prayer
Almighty and most gentle God, Who from a Rock made flow a Fountain of Living Water
for Your thirsting People,
draw now from the hardness of our Hearts
Tears of Sorrow
that we may Weep for our Sins
and, by Your continued Mercy,
be made ready to accept their Pardon.
We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ…

Prayer Over the Gifts
We ask You to look with favor upon these Gifts, O Lord,
and receive our Offering
to Your Sovereign Majesty on account of our Sins,
that this Sacrifice from which Pardon flows
as from a Fountain
may bestow by Your Holy Spirit
the Gift of Tears for our Offenses.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
O Lord, may the reverent reception of Your Sacrament
wash away the stains of our Sins with Sighings and Tears
and, by Your Bounty,
obtain for us the Pardon we desire.
We ask this through Christ our Lord