Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings


Posted by Anne Elizabeth on November 28, 2008

Greetings and Salutations to one and all!

In the next few weeks I will share with each of you excerpts from a beautiful book entitled, “The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics”.  It is compiled by Raphael Brown (no relation to the known heretic that shares the same last name…), and contains the visions as written/reported by St Elizabeth of Schoenau, St Bridget of Sweden, Ven Mother Mary of Agreda, and Sister Anna Catherine Emmerich.

These holy women all received private revelation from our Blessed Mother, and their revelations are approved by the Holy See.  I have used this book both in the classroom and during my own Advent and Lent meditations.  I have also recommended it to countless others as the material contained within does not contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church either in faith or morals.  Also, the revelation contained within is nothing “new”, but rather a further conformation of previous tradition.

As many know (or should know), the Catholic Church is not just scripture or just tradition, it is BOTH Scripture AND Tradition (Good Theology).  On that note, I refer to the forward, written by Rev. Edward A Ryan, S.J., for further information regarding private revelation and the Church’s position on the topic.  The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics, can be purchased online either new or used, first copy written ©1951, again by Raphael Brown.

The Forward (excerpts):

Mysticism, especially of the visionary type, has always been a subject of discussion in the Church.  Among its manifestations, some few have merited the approval of the prudent, others are looked upon as doubtful, while many have been rejected as false.  In certain cases the Church has intervened with a condemnation.

…in the case of holy people and when the supernatural character of the phenomena seems sufficiently guaranteed, caution is necessary…

Despite difficulties which are obvious to all who have had some experience in this thorny field, the Church has never been adverse to the prudent exploitation of the mystical writings of her saintly children.  Catholic doctrine on revelation is clear enough to supply the required safeguards (emphasis added).


The Church teaches as a revealed dogma (set in stone and cannot be re-interpreted by anyone!), that public revelation ceased with the death of the last Apostle (John), over eighteen hundred years ago.  The deposit of faith is complete.  No further revelation binding all will be forthcoming to the end of time:

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel
contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.” ~Gal 1:8

God’s revelation in and through His Son is FINAL.  The Church which possesses the fullness of this revelation can alone impose beliefs on the faithful at large and the Church imposes only such as are contained in the Holy Scripture AND in divine and Apostolic Tradition (emphasis ADDED).


The first law of new revelation is…that they cannot be really new.  They must agree with Holy Scripture AND Tradition, with morality AND the decisions of the Church.

St. Thomas Aquinas remarks that Catholic Faith “rests upon the revelation
made to the Apostles and the Prophets who wrote the canonical Scriptures
But not on a revelation, if any, made to others

The Church, in approving the mystical phenomena, affirms that there is nothing against faith or morals in the content of the revelations but does not guarantee their truth.  The possibility of error in the facts is not excluded (emphasis added).

In other words (Anne Elizabeth’s understanding):

That which is contained within this series, the private revelations of the aforementioned holy women, are approved by the Church in that they do not contradict Sacred Scripture or Apostolic Tradition.  They are also in line with the moral teaching of the Church founded by Jesus Christ, left to the care of Peter and his successors.  The writings contained within are worthy of reading and veneration by the faithful, but the faithful are not required to believe in them.  The faithful may read them as nice little stories, or they can choose to accept them as accurate facts, or they can even dismiss and ignore the writings all together.  I choose to accept them, hence why I am bringing them to my readers.

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church.  They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help us to live more fully in our faith in our certain period of history.

Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or [His] saints to the Church. Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations.”~CCC§67

(i.e. Mormons, 7th Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc…)

Conclusion (from the forward):

We have scriptural testimony that Mary and Joseph had visions (Lk 1:26-37; 2:33-35; Mt1:20-24; 2:13-15, 19-23).  Their many years at Nazareth with Jesus were, in a sense, a long vision of surpassing grandeur which included much intimate revelation.  If we were to accept as true all the visions of the saints, we should still be obliged to judge that their favors, taken together, are not worthy to be compared with those of the Incomparable Virgin.

As St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the Doctor of the Church who was
pre-eminent in Mariology, declared, “What wonder is there if God,
Who is wonderful in His Saints, has shown Himself still more
wonderful in His Mother?”

It is true, of course, that our Blessed Lady, unlike her divine Son, did not have in this life the beatific visionShe lived, as we her children live, by faith.  Indeed she is the model and mistress of faith and of the faithful.  We must, however, admit that her faith was aided in many marvelous ways (preserved from the stain of original sin, the Mother of God)…we can readily believe that our loving Mother in heaven approves of devout writings long in use in the Church and rightly considered helpful in the spiritual struggle in which (we) all are engaged (emphasis added).

This work is to be read as a religious novel AND NOT as a fifth Gospel. Nevertheless, many Catholics and non-Catholics too will be very thankful for this pleasing compilation of vivid narratives of the Blessed Virgin’s life “as seen by” four great mystics of the [Catholic] Church (emphasis added).

Rev. Edward A. Ryan, S.J., 1951

Additional information and emphasis: Anne Elizabeth, B.A.Ed., M.A.The., 2008.

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