Christina the Astonishing: From Laura Swan, “The Wisdom of the Beguines”

Christina the Astonishing: From Laura Swan, “The Wisdom of the Beguines” May 26, 2016

(of which more soon)

Once, while visiting the Benedictine nuns at St. Catherine’s near Sint-Truiden and speaking of Christ, the nuns reported that “suddenly and unexpectedly she [Christina] would be ravished in the spirit and her body would whirl around like a hoop in a children’s game. She whirled around with such extreme violence that the individual limbs of her body could not be distinguished. When she had whirled around for a long time in this manner, it seemed as if she became weakened by the violence of the rolling and all her limbs grew quiet. Then there sounded between her throat and her breast a wondrous harmony that no mortal man could understand, nor could it be imitated by any artificial instrument. That song of hers had only the pliancy and the tones of music. But the words of the melody, so to speak–if they could even be called words–sounded together incomprehensibly. No sound or breath came out of her mouth or nose during this time, but a harmony of the angelic voice resounded only from between her breast and throat.”

two notes: one, we know very little about what it’s like in Heaven but we do know there will be singing or something like singing; and two, you’ve already heard Nick Cave’s song about Christina so instead I will give you this animal fable that’s also a riff on the wisdom of the Desert Fathers:


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