A revelation of the Nativity
When it comes to mystics describing the life of Jesus, in great detail -- reputed revelations on His life -- one must take it for what it is worth: the feeling, more than the literal nature of it. The only accounts we can accept in a literal way are those in the Bible.
In fact, mystics through the centuries -- St. Bridget, St. Gertrude, St. Catherine of Siena, Mary of Agreda, Saint Elizabeth of Schoenau, Catherine Emmerich, Maria Valtorta -- have penned incredibly elaborate accounts that at times are at odds with each other. Some (such as Poem of the Man God) have been "condemned, approved, accepted, rejected, verified, and disqualified," noted one critic, in what seems like an endless cycle. Take what is good. In the end, we wait for the Church. Saint Teresa of Avila once said, "When anyone can contemplate the sight of Our Lord for a long period of time, I do not believe it is a vision, but rather an overmastering idea."
It is the essence -- and inspiration, that real feeling -- that count more than taking it as verbatim reportage, though we are always inclined to pay more attention when it comes from a saint, venerable, or a mystic with at least some level of confirmation, as in the recent case of the Utah mystic, Cora Evans (Refugee from Heaven), who had palpable spiritual manifestations such as stigmata and whose unique, lucid writings are currently under evaluation. Literally true? We'll find out one day. It is an attempt to use physical words to convey a supernatural moment.
When meditating on His life and drawing forth the "moment," few aspects are more intriguing than the Nativity. And here indeed some interesting "feelings" (and notions; attempts to capture the supernormal) are evoked by Refugee From Heaven.
Evans, who died in 1957 and whose writing occurred after hours of ecstasy [see previous story], claimed, for example, to have seen the Archangel Michael at the scene of Jesus's birth and "standing on the low rock, he tied the fringe on one end to the rafter poles above, allowing the tapestry to hang down as a curtain between the animals and Mary. Then he smoothed it over the manger and across the straw-earth floor as a carpet, arranging the fringe on the other end in a beautiful swirling design. Mary was joyous, for now she was hidden completely from the animals. The only evidence she had of their nearness was their warmth in the stable and their heavy breathing against the tapestry curtain." Did Mary so directly see angels during the historic scene? Considering the power, it is not inconceivable.
Whatever, it evokes a powerful feeling (as does the book in general, as we weigh discernment).
"You know that birth was the most miraculous because the little Infant Body was not even damp nor did it have any effects of a natural birth," says a witness to the Nativity (in Cora's rendition). "It was as though He had been in the world about ten days. Mary told us that the nakedness of His manhood was clothed in an ethereal mist of light like a tight-fitting cloth close to His Body, so dense in natural-colored light that no mortal could penetrate it.
"Mary told us how she vaguely remembered, after that, rising in the unitive way of prayer in God. Michael continued from there. In that ecstasy of joy where the human senses are as though dead, and the spirit races to God, Mary was suddenly encased in a tremulous and unspeakably bright light. That light, rising through her as a tower of ivory into the heavens as seen by the spiritual eye, was too bright even for the gaze of the angels, who hid themselves outside the sanctuary of God's mother. Michael was the only one who dared approach her. He seemed to walk into the heavenly mist and lifted from it the Christ Child as if he were lifting Him from a cradle."
For our discernment. It is certainly vivid writing. Did Jesus not nurse as a normal human infant? That's according to this account.
"In perfect obedience she (Mary) arose from her Divine ecstasy, and after walking to the manger knelt beside Michael in adoration," says the book. "Then she picked up the little Jesus and kissed His sleeping eyelids, which fluttered and opened slowly to the world."
Henceforth he would at times purposely forget His Divinity, in order to experience human trials, Michael supposedly explained, and suffer all things, except one: sin.
[resources: Refugee From Heaven