By Sergio Fernández:
We cry of gratitude when we receive unexpected gifts. Or when we share moments of euphoria with other people. Sometimes we cry for pain and suffering. And sometimes for joy and celebrations.
Tears allow us to contact our deepest feelings. And therefore they are a spiritual experience whose practice benefits us. Whatever the reason for the tears, if it comes from the heart, it always brings joy and peace. It leaves an open and softened heart. The Jews have high appreciation of the tears, because they wet their lips with salt water in the Seder of Easter, remembering their escape from Egypt, to symbolize the tears of slavery.
And in ancient times the mourners of a dead man put their tears in bottles and even carried them as reliquaries.
Over the centuries, tears have been a sign of mystical experiences and repentance for sins and sinners.
A lesson we must hold from tears is that they are healing.
Tears are the valve for the release of stress for the body, from sadness, pain, anxiety and frustration.
It is a way to purge the repressed emotions so that they do not stay in the body as symptoms of stress such as fatigue or pain. Without realizing it, that is part of your healing process.
Saint Teresa of Jesus, well known for her spiritual ecstasies, compared the gift of tears to the state of contemplation.
The gift of tears differs from ordinary tears in what they trigger, because they are triggered by an experience of God — not by natural pain or sadness or joy.
Many saints declared the importance of accepting this with gratitude as an unexpected source of consolation or a penetration that may be Divine.
But they caution against the distraction of loving the gift instead of the giver.
The second reason why we should remain alert when we receive a spiritual gift is that the devil often uses these to get us away from God, through distraction and attachment.
We can not be absolutely certain that a spiritual gift, such as the gift of tears, contemplation, or something else, is derived from God. The tempter knows how to attract us with stealth, even through such seemingly benevolent experiences as they are.
One is to experience tears during the Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, sometimes in the consecration of the Mass, and in other non-liturgical moments.This gift is suggestive of God’s washing of our sins. “Thank you Jesus. Thank you. Wash me in your mercy.”
Like all unexplained, supernatural wonders, one must exhibit a holy indifference towards sensory spiritual delights. If you think you can have the gift of tears, it is best to talk about your experience in private with your spiritual director and no one else. Then, and only then, our love of God can be refined and tested.