Catholic Dictionary

Term

ECSTASY

Definition

In general, the state of being beside oneself through some overpowering experience. As a mystical phenomenon, it includes two elements, one interior and the other exterior. The invisible element consists in the mind being riveted on a religious subject. The corporeal aspect means that the activity of the senses is suspended, so that not only are external sensations unable to influence the soul, but these sensations become very difficult to awaken. Many saints have received ecstasies as a supernatural gift from God, although ecstasy of itself is not a criterion of holiness. (Etym. Greek ekstasos; from ex, out + histanai, to cause to stand: existanai, to derange.)

See Also: RAPTURE