Heresy is the result of pride. Where pride exists, spiritual delusion also exists. Where heresy exists then all true spirituality is lost and spiritual delusion, “prelest” (Russian term) or “plani” (Greek) takes its place.
So, since I am on a roll since yesterday’s post about the ”visionary” Ann Catherine Emmerich and her spiritual delusion which refutes the teachings of the Holy Fathers concerning the dormition and burial of the Theotokos (which is our relevant topic since we are in the last days of the Dormition Fast), I decided to post this about yet another (they have so many!) spiritual delusion that had a “Marian” character.
Born at the end of the 11th century, Bernard of Clairvaux was a reformer of the Cistercian order in the 12th century.
The story goes that Bernard was kneeling and praying when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Him holding the infant. Mary squeezed one of her breasts, squirting breast milk to him from a distance. In one version, the milk went to his mouth and symbolized that she was granting him wisdom.
In another version, the milk went to his eyes and cured an infection he had.
I don’t think any Orthodox person could call this anything other than spiritual deception. The Mother of God breastfeeding some monk is certainly too strange for anyone to even speak about. Our hymns express our awe before the Mother of God. Even the Archangel Gabriel stood in awe of Her as our hymnographer says,
Awed by the beauty of thy virginity, and the exceeding radiance of thy purity;
Gabriel called out unto thee, O Theotokos,
What worthy hymn of praise can I offer unto thee?
And what shall I name thee?
I am in doubt and stand in awe! Wherefore as commanded, I cry to thee:
Rejoice, O full of grace.
The lives of Latin “saints” of this period were full of such bizarre “miracles” which simply made those who experienced them more rooted in their unfortunate pride.