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(A.D. 1266-1267)

I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh,.... and your young men shall see visions-" - Joel ii, 28.

WHEN St. Paul told King Agrippa the story of his life, the key of it lay in the words, "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision." The angel had come to him and called him straight away from his career as arch-persecutor. All that he had done or meant to do was now of the past. He arose from the ground and took up his life again as one who could not be disobedient to his vision. It was a vision of Christ that made Paul a missionary. And his was not the last instance of the fulfilment

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of Joel's great prophecy. The twentieth century, even, dares not mock at the supernatural; and materialistic philosophy can not explain the phenomena of the spirit world. The Christians of the thirteenth century believed in visions and saw visions. Altho an age of visions is apt to be a visionary age, this was not altogether true of the thirteenth century. The visions of Francis of Assisi, of Catherine the Saint, of Peter Nolasco, and of others in this age, had a tremendous effect on their lives and influence. We may doubt the vision, but we can not doubt its result in the lives of those who profess to have seen it. Call it religious hallucination or pious imagination if you will, but even then it has power. Ruskin says that "such imagination is given us that we may be able to vision forth the ministry of angels beside us and see the chariots of fire on the mountains that gird us round." In that age of Mariolatry

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and angel-worship and imitation of saints, it was not such a vision that arrested Lull, but a vision of Jesus Himself. The story, as told in a Life1 written with his consent during his lifetime, is as follows:

One evening the seneschal was sitting on a couch, with his cithern on his knees, composing a song in praise of a noble married lady who had fascinated him but who was insensible to his passion. Suddenly, in the midst of the erotic song, he saw on his right hand the Savior hanging on His cross, the blood trickling from His hands and feet and brow, look reproachfully at him. Raymund, conscience - struck, started up; he could sing no more; he laid aside his cithern and, deeply moved, retired into bed. Eight days after, he again attempted to finish the song and again took

1 S. Baring-Gould "Lives of the Saints." vol. vi., p.489 Maclear: "History of Christian Missions in the Middle Ages," pp 355, 356.

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up the plea of an unrequited lover. But now again, as before, the image of Divine Love incarnate appeared - the agonized form of the Man of Sorrows. The dying eyes of the Savior were fixed on him mournfully, pleadingly:

See from His head. His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingling down:
Did ere such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?"
Lull cast his lute aside, and threw himself on his bed, a prey to remorse. He had seen the highest and deepest unrequited love. But the thought that

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all,"
had not yet reached him. The effect of the vision was so transitory that he was not ready to yield until it again repeated itself.1 Then Lull could not resist the

1"Terto et quarto successivo diebus intetpositis aliquibus, Salvator, in forma semper qua primitus, apparet." - "Acta Sanctorum, "p. 669.

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thought that this was a special message for himself to conquer his lower passions and to devote himself entirely to Christ's service. He felt engraved on his heart, as it were, the great spectacle of divine Self-sacrifice. Henceforth he had only one passion, to love and serve Christ. But there arose the doubt, How can I, defiled with impurity, rise and enter on a holier life? Night after night, we are told, he lay awake, a prey to despondency and doubt. He wept like Mary Magdalen, remembering how much and how deeply he had sinned. At length the thought occurred: Christ is meek and full of compassion; He invites all to come to Him; He will not cast me out. With that thought came consolation. Because he was forgiven so much he loved the more, and concluded that he would forsake the world and give up all for his Savior. How he was confirmed in this resolve we shall see shortly.

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By way of parenthesis it is necessary to give another account of Lull's conversion which the author of "Acta Sanctorum" relates, and says he deems "improbable but not impossible." According to this story Lull was one day passing the window of the house of Signora Ambrosia, the married lady whose love he vainly sought to gain. He caught a glimpse of her ivory throat and bosom. On the spot he composed and sang a song to her beauty. The lady sent for him and showed him the bosom he so much admired, eaten with hideous cancers! She then besought him to lead a better life. On his return home Christ appeared to him and said, "Raymund, follow Me." Re gave up his court position, sold all his property, and withdrew to the retirement of a cell on Mount Roda. This was about the year 1266 When he had spent nine years in retirement he came to the conclusion that he was called

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of God to preach the Gospel to the Mohammedans.1

Some biographers know nothing of this nine years' retirement in a cell at Mount Roda near Barcelona, altho all of them agree that his conversion took place in July, 1266. The visions and spiritual conflicts and experiences at Mount Roda gained for Lull the title of "Doctor llluminatus," the scholar enlightened from heaven. And if we look at the life that was the result of these visions, we can not deny that, in this dark age, heaven did indeed enlighten Lull to know the love of God and to do the will of God as no other in his day and generation.

Let us go back to the story of his conversion as told by Lull himself in that work, "On Divine Contemplation," which may

1See article by Rev. Edwin Wallace, of Oxford University, in the Encyclopedia Britannica, where Mount Roda is wrongly spelled Randa.

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be put side by side with Bunyan's "Grace Abounding" and Augustine's "Confessions" as the biography of a penitent soul, After the visions he came to the conclusion that he could devote his energies to no higher work than that of proclaiming the Message of the Cross to the Saracens. His thoughts would naturally take this direction. The islands of Majorca and Minorca had only recently been in the hands of the Saracens. His father had wielded the sword of the king of Aragon against these enemies of the Gospel; why should not the son now take up the sword of the Spirit against them? If the carnal weapons of the crusading knights had failed to conquer Jerusalem, was it not time to sound the bugle for a spiritual crusade for the conversion of the Saracen? Such were the thoughts that filled his mind. But then, he says, a difficulty arose. How could he, a layman, in an age when

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the Church and the clergy were supreme,enter on such a work? Thereupon it occurred to him that at least a beginning might be made by composing a volume which should demonstrate the truth of Christianity and convince the warriors of the Crescent of their errors. This took, however would not be understood by them unless it were in Arabic, and of this language he was ignorant; other difficulties presented themselves and almost drove him to despair. Full of such thoughts, he one day repaired to a neighboring church and poured forth his whole soul to God, beseeching Him if He did inspire these thoughts to enable him to carry them out.1

This was in the month of July. But, altho

1"Vita Prima," p.662. "Dominum Jesum Christum devote, fleus largiter exoravit, quatenus haec praedicta tua quae ipse misericorditer inspiraverat cordi suo, ad effectum sibi placitum perducere dignaretur." Several authorities put a period of short backsliding between his conversion and the account of his sermon by the friar that follows in our text.

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the old desires and the old life were passing away, all things had not yet become new. For three months his great design was laid aside and he struggled with old passions for the mastery. On the fourth of October, the festival of St. Francis of Assisi, Lull went to the Franciscan church at Palma and heard from the lips of the friar-preacher the tale of the "Spouse of Poverty". He learned how this son of Pietro Bernadone di Mericoni, once foremost in deeds of war and a gay worldling, was taken prisoner at Perugia and brought by disease to the very gates of death; how he saw visions of the Christ and of the world to come; how, when he emerged from his dungeon, he exchanged his gay apparel for the garb of the mendicant, visiting the sick, tending the leprous, and preaching the Gospel; how in 1219, before the walls of Damietta, this missionary-monk crossed over to the infidels and witnessed

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for Christ before the Sultan, declaring, "I am not sent of man, but of God, to show thee the way of salvation."

The words of the preacher rekindled the fires of love half-smothered in the heart of Lull. He now made up his mind once and forever. He sold all his property, which was considerable, gave the money to the poor, and reserved only a scanty allowance for his wife and children. This was the vow of his consecration in his own words:

"To Thee, Lord God, do I now offer myself and my wife and my children and all that I possess; and since I approach Thee humbly with this gift and sacrifice, may it please Thee to condescend to accept all what I give and offer up now for Thee, that I and my wife and my children may be Thy humble slaves."1 It was a covenant of complete surrender, and the repeated reference to his wife and children shows that Raymund

1 "Liber contemplanonis in Deo," xci., 27.

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Lull's wandering passions had found rest at last. It was a family covenant, and by this token we know that Lull had for-ever said farewell to his former companions and his life of sin.

He assumed the coarse garb of a mendicant, made pilgrimages to various churches in the island, and prayed for grace and assistance in the work he had resolved to undertake. The mantle of apostolic succession fell from Francis of Assisi, forty years dead, upon the layman of Palma, now in his thirtieth year. From the mendicant orders of the Middle Ages, their precepts and their example, Lull in part drew his passionate, ascetic, and unselfish devotion. Most of his biographers assert that he became a Franciscan, but that is doubtful, especially since some of the earliest biographers were themselves of that order and would naturally seek glory in his memory.1

1See Noble; "The Redemption of Africa," vol. 1,p. 110.

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Eymeric, a Catalonian Dominican in 1334 and the inquisitor of Aragon after 1356, expressly states that Lull was a lay merchant and a heretic. In 1371 the same Eymeric pointed out five hundred heresies in Lull's works, and in consequence Gregory XI. forbade some of the books. The Franciscans, Antonio Wadding and others, afterward warmly defended Lull and his writings, but the Jesuits have always been hostile to his memory. Therefore the Roman Catholic Church long hesitated whether to condemn Lull as a heretic or to recognize him as a martyr and a saint. He was never canonized by any pope, but in Spain and Majorca all good Catholics regard him as a saintly Franciscan. In a letter I have received from the present bishop of Majorca he speaks of Raymund Lull as "an extraordinary man with apostolic virtues, and worthy of all admiration."

Frederic Perry Noble, in speaking of

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Lull's conversion, says: "His new birth be it noted, sprang from a passion for Jesus. Lull's faith was not sacramental, but personal and vital, more Catholic than Roman." Even as the Catalonians first arose in protest and revolution against the tyranny of the state in the Middle Ages, so their countryman is distinguished for daring to act apart from the tyranny of the Church and to inaugurate the rights of laymen. The inner life of Lull finds its key in the story of his conversion. Incarnate Love overcame carnal love, and all of the passion and the poetry of Lull's genius bowed in submission to the cross. The vision of his youth explains the motto of his old age: "He who loves not lives not; he who lives by the Life can not die." The image of the suffering Savior remained for fifty years the mainspring of his being. Love for the personal Christ filled his heart, molded his mind, inspired his pen, and

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made his soul long for the crown of martyrdom. Long years afterward, when he sought for a reasonable proof of that greatest mystery of revelation and the greatest stumbling-block for Moslems-the doctrine of the Trinity - he once more recalled the vision. His proof for the Trinity was the love of God in Christ as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

Raymund Lull

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