We all know tears, but the gift of tears? What’s that?
I’m off to tell more stories from my book at the Coastal Library in Santa Rosa Beach, FL today including the little-known spiritual gift of tears. Crossing my fingers for an audience, however small.
One of the topics in the book and my talk is the gift of tears. I address this topic for two reasons.
- I was confused by spiritual tears falling effortlessly without reddening of the eyes.
- I’d never heard of the gift of tears, and I’m fairly well-read on spirituality, contemplation, and numerous Catholic
authors and saints.
- My research for the gift of tears turned up very little.
“Weeping sometimes accompanies spiritual growth and causes embarrassment or guilt if the experience is different from that of others around us, or we simply don’t understand it.
“We are ‘citizens of two realms;’ the physical and the spiritual in its unfathomable mystery,” says author Paula Huston (author, The Dilemma of Demons, reflection in Give Us This Day: Prayer for Today’s Catholic, October 9, 2015). The gift of tears is of this spiritual realm. These tears fall without any reddening of the eyes and flow without strain or effort.
“Throughout the New Testament, the Holy Spirit acts in diverse ways (e.g. filling people, falling upon them, anointing some). According to the late Right Rev. John Richards, Bishop of Ebbsfleet (Canterbury): ‘The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not rewards for our goodness, nor badges marking our maturity, nor are they favours which we have merited. If you have ten such gifts, you are not thereby a better person than one with none. If you have the gift of service that does not make you inferior to or more mature than someone with, say the gift of miracles. There can be no prestige or pride in testifying to any that one has received, therefore, only gratitude.’ https://www.HelpForChristians.co.uk/articles/a28.asp
“The spiritual gift of tears was an unknown to me. I didn’t understand them. Because they embarrassed me, I brushed them away and suppressed thinking about them. This gift wasn’t listed among the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 that I studied for the sacrament of Confirmation. I never heard it mentioned in a single homily nor any class I took despite eleven years of parochial education. It felt like a secret. I addedit to my plate of whys—already including contemplative prayer—that had not been taught to me or mentioned as I had grown up.
“Ah, church of mine! Share more generously your wondrous secrets with us. Our hearts long to hear them.”
Excerpt from God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul (Redemption Press, 2017).