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Catholic Dictionary




Supernatural knowledge in which the mind receives an extraordinary grasp of some revealed truth without the aid of sensible impressions. Thus St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) wrote of his seeing "the humanity of Christ with the eyes of the soul."

These visions take place either through ideas that are already acquired and that are then co-ordinated and interpreted by God, or through infused ideas, representing divine things, that are thus better perceived than a person would otherwise perceive them. At times the visions are obscure and their object is only dimly understood; at other times the perception is very clear but lasts only a moment. The mystics describe them as intuitions that leave a deep impression on the mind.

The experience of St. Paul on the way to Damascus was at once sensible, imaginative, and intellectual. He beheld the blinding light with his eyes; he saw with his imagination the personal traits of Ananias; and his mind understood the will of God (Acts 9:3-12).