Robert Belanger (3 Aug 2011)
"To Lynn Again"

Dear Lynn,
Here are some words concerning the gift of Compunction, the gift of tears, with which you are familiar. Of course, these writing were from the RCC since it was the only available Christian church at the time. I hope these words help you understand your gift. God bless and keep you.

"So this brings us to one unique mystical test which reveals a sincere desire for God. Many genuine mystics through the ages have experienced it personally. Moreover, some mystics, such as Blessed Anna Maria Taigi and the seers at Garabandal,] have predicted that it will occur eventually as a worldwide event. It’s the test of compunction


Compunction—or the gift of tears—“is not just a fit of depression; it’s the result of a genuine and sudden shift in perspective, a pervading attitude of sorrow for sin.” 


Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. But the mourning for which [the Lord] promises eternal consolation, dearly beloved, has nothing to do with ordinary worldly distress; for the tears which have their origin in the sorrow common to all mankind do not make anyone blessed. There is another cause for the sighs of the saints, another reason for their blessed tears. Religious grief mourns for sin, one’s own or another’s; it does not lament because of what happens as a result of God’s justice, but because of what is done by human malice. Indeed, he who does wrong is more to be lamented than he who suffers it, for his wickedness plunges the sinner into punishment, whereas endurance can raise the just man to glory.



—From a sermon on the beatitudes
by Saint Leo the Great


Many mystics through the ages have described the experience of compunction as the first step into genuine spiritual life. Once overwhelmed by the profound realization of how much we have hurt others with our self-indulgent behavior, we then, like Christ weeping for Jerusalem, begin to weep for ourselves and for others. Saint Teresa of Avila describes a soul in such pain: 


In some way perhaps the sorrow proceeds from the deep pain it feels at seeing that God is offended and little esteemed in this world and that many souls are lost . . . Even though it sees that God’s mercy is great—for however wicked their lives, these [souls] can make amends and be saved—it fears that many are being condemned.

. . . [T]he pain suffered in this state . . . breaks and grinds the soul into pieces, without the soul’s striving for it or even at times wanting it.

. . . If a soul with so little charity [6] when compared to Christ’s . . . felt this torment to be so unbearable, what must have been the feeling of our Lord Jesus Christ? And what kind of life must He have suffered since all things were present to Him and He was always witnessing the serious offenses committed against His Father? . . . But I consider it so difficult to see the many offenses committed so continually against His Majesty and the many souls going to hell that I believe only one day of that pain would have been sufficient to end many lives; how much more one life, if He had been no more than man.



The Interior Castle
V:2. 10,11,14


This profound sorrow for the sins of the world confirms the soul’s love for God because it originates at the very core of free will. No soul can desire the good, let alone do good, without the grace of God. But contrary to the fifth century claims of Pelagius, this statement does not contradict the goodness of human nature, nor does it make a mockery of free will. Nor must it be supported with the Augustinian idea of predestination.

The simple fact is that, just as psychological change begins with painful remorse for one’s behavior, the soul, in looking at the corruption of the world and feeling deep sorrow for it, can freely turn to God and, like Saint Catherine of Genoa, say, with a cry of inner anguish, “O Lord! no more world, no more sin!” But without divine grace the soul can do nothing about its sorrow; nor does it even know what to do. Yet its initial, tearful cry will be heard, and its journey into the holiness of pure love—and the profound gift of tears—will begin.