John van Ruysbroeck’s “First Vision” Accounts

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John van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381)

John van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381) was a Flemish mystic and writer. He was raised in the Catholic faith, becoming a priest. He is now venerated in the Catholic Church. He was beatified in 1903 by Pope Pius X.

The following quote comes from his treatise The Sparkling Stone. Another well-known modern mystic, Evelyn Underhill, described this passage thus: “The old Mystic, sitting under his friendly tree, seems here to be gazing at, and reporting to us the final secrets of that Eternal World.” Continue reading “John van Ruysbroeck’s “First Vision” Accounts”

Bahá’u’lláh’s “First Vision” Account

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Bahá’u’lláh in 1868

Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892) was the founder of the Bahá’í Faith. In 1863 he announced that he was the fulfillment of a messianic prophecy given by the Báb in 1845. This prophetic call he said was made clear by a vision he had while imprisoned. The vision was of a heavenly Maiden who he said gave him his mission as a messenger of God, or Manifestation of God, as had been prophesied by the Báb.

Bahá’u’lláh described his vision: Continue reading “Bahá’u’lláh’s “First Vision” Account”

All-Encompassing Light “First Vision” Accounts

Sometimes “First Vision” experiences are more subtle than others, while still being profoundly moving and life-changing. These can happen quite spontaneously, in any place or situation. The following two accounts come from an archive of over 6,000 first-hand religious or spiritual experiences from all around the world compiled by Sir Alister Hardy and now housed at the Religious Experience Research Centre (RERC) at the University of Wales, Lampeter. Continue reading “All-Encompassing Light “First Vision” Accounts”

Armella Nicolas’s “First Vision” Account

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Portrait of Armella Nicolas, known as “the good Armella” (17th century)
Armella Nicolas (1606-1671) was a serving-maid who lived in France in the 17th century, who came to be held in high veneration in the Catholic church. She could not read or write, but told friends of her spiritual experiences, including sister Jeanne de la Nativite, who wrote down her experiences. The following is one of her recorded experiences: Continue reading “Armella Nicolas’s “First Vision” Account”

Joannes Stobaeus’ “First Vision” Account

Joannes Stobaeus was a 5th-century AD compiler of Greek texts in Stobi, Macedonia. He likely read widely, and recorded many of the most interesting passages he came across from Greek authors, including poets and prose writers. The following seems to be a reference to the ancient Mysteries, religious rites, secret ceremonies and initiations, and what took place in them, perhaps a reference to the Eleusinian Mysteries. The reference may have come from Plutarch. Continue reading “Joannes Stobaeus’ “First Vision” Account”

Saint Teresa of Ávila’s “First Vision” Accounts

Saint Teresa of Ávila, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1615.
Saint Teresa of Ávila, by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1615. (click to see the full painting)

Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) was a Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, and was canonized a Roman Catholic saint by Pope Gregory XV.

In her penetrating autobiography, The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus, she describes many of her ecstatic visions of the Divine, which should ring many bells for Latter-day Saints.

Here are a few selections, beginning with a vision of hell: Continue reading “Saint Teresa of Ávila’s “First Vision” Accounts”