By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer

Our parish’s fall festival was coming to an end. As I rounded up my little ones, I spotted an acquaintance. Antoinette is almost 95 years old and now wheelchair bound, but her incandescent smile inevitably draws people towards her. “Have you had a nice evening?” I asked.
“Oh yes,” she replied, “I spoke for a long time with Father.”
“You know,” I said in a hushed tone, “I think he is a mystic.”
“Yes,” Antoinette said, taking a deep breath, “he saw right to my soul.”
A mystic is not some sort of Catholic tarot card reader. A mystic is, in the eyes of traditional Christianity, someone God has given certain gifts and graces to accomplish a specific purpose for the salvation of souls. Some of the Church’s notable mystics include great saints like St. Padre Pio, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena. Their extraordinary ability to sense God transformed their hearts. Theirs were hearts moved to quiet and solitude when necessary, but also to action and service to souls and the Church. They were obedient to God and Church, and – not unrelatedly – they were profoundly humble.

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