Today is the feast day of St. Christina the Astonishing. Why is she astonishing…well, if everyone thought you were dead and during the course of your funeral you shot up and proceeded to levitate to the rafters of the church, they’d probably call you astonishing too. Now I’ve been known to fly into a panic and fly into a rage, and I even fly to Costco for a good deal…but fly in church? Nope, not me. But all things are possible, with God. This is just one of the stories I read about her a long time ago in an old version of Bulter’s Lives of the Saints. What else do we know:
After her death experience, she related that she had witnessed heaven, hell, and purgatory. It is written that she said “As soon as my soul was separated from my body it was received by angels who conducted it to a very gloomy place, entirely filled with souls” where the torments there that they endured “appeared so excessive” that it was “impossible to give an idea of their rigor.”
She continued,”I saw among them many of my acquaintances” and touched deeply by their sad condition asked if this was Hell, but was told that it was Purgatory. Her angel guides brought her to Hell where again she recognized those she had formerly known. Next she was transported to Heaven, “even to the Throne of Divine Majesty” where she was “regarded with a favorable eye” and she experienced extreme joy and these words were spoken to her, ” Assuredly, My dear daughter, you will one day be with Me. Now, however, I allow you to choose, either to remain with Me henceforth from this time, or to return again to earth to accomplish a mission of charity and suffering. In order to deliver from the flames of Purgatory those souls which have inspired you with so much compassion, you shall suffer for them upon earth: you shall endure great torments, without however dying from their effects. And not only will you relieve the departed, but the example which you will give to the living, and your continual suffering, will lead sinners to be converted and to expiate their crimes. After having ended this new life, you shall return here laden with merits.”
Christina, at hearing this and “seeing the great advantages for souls” without hesitation she agreed to return to life and arose that same moment. She told those around her that for the sole purpose of relief of the departed and conversion of sinners did she return and that none should be astonished at the penances that she would practice, nor the life that she would lead hence forth, she is quoted as saying, “It will be so extraordinary that nothing like it has ever been seen.” Making penances for the souls of Purgatory and Hell would henceforth become a major theme in her life.
As chronicled by her contemporaries, she threw herself into burning furnaces and there suffered great tortures for extended time uttering frightful cries, yet coming forth with no sign of burning upon her. In winter she would plunge into the frozen Meuse River for hours and days and weeks at a time all the while praying to God and imploring His Mercy. She allowed herself to be carried by the currents down river to the mill where the wheel “whirled her round in a manner frightful to behold” yet she had no dislocations or broken bones. She was chased by dogs that bit and tore her flesh. She ran from them into thickets of thorns, and though covered in blood she would return with no wound or scar.
Christina died in 1224 of natural causes, aged 74. – Wikipedia
After reading this, maybe you might want to, at least, pray with St. Christina the Astonishing, for the Poor Souls in Puragatory…click on this link to join in
This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 at 12:24 am
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