Examples of Holy Tears

Holy “tears may arise from “other things” not further specified except by their general focus: they are “directly ordered to his service and praise.” Such “other things” might include the sufferings of the followers of Christ, the wounds of the church the Lord so loves (Eph 5:25), the progress of evil in the world, and similar concerns” (Gallagher, Timothy M. . The Discernment of Spirits (p. 91). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.).

  • A companion of Thérèse of Lisieux writes: “One day when I was in her room she said to me in a tone of voice that I cannot reproduce: ‘God is not loved enough! And yet he is so good and kind…. Oh, I wish I could die!’ And she began to sob. Not understanding what it was to love God so vehemently, I looked on in amazement…” (Christopher O’Mahoney, O.C.D., ed. and trans., St. Thérèse of Lisieux by Those Who Knew Her: Testimonies from the Process of Beatification [Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor, 1975], 261).

During Ignatius’ own spiritual growth he found many occasions when he was moved to tears. Ignatius often spoke about “violent sobs” while he was saying Mass.

  • He said in his spiritual diary: “I felt what seemed an intense warmth in every part of my body, followed by tears and the most intense devotion.”

Nevertheless, keep in mind that the holy tears are a grace from God and only one of the signs of spiritual consolation – not an essential sign.

  • Ignatius himself said: “Some indeed have tears naturally, when the higher motion of the soul makes itself felt in the lower, or because God our Lord, seeing that it would be good for them, allows them to melt into tears. But this does not mean that they have greater charity or that they are more effective than others who enjoy no tears.”
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