The Gift of Tears

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Hi moms. Hi expectant moms. Hi grandmothers (Nana and Gamma and lots of other names). Hi ladies (and any men peeking in).

Are you an emotional person? Do you cry at the drop of a hat? Or, are you a cold, stoic sort of person who doesn’t like to show emotions at all? Well – I’ve had this column in my mind and heart for quite a while. I’m not sure whether I want to see how many of you are ‘tender.’ Or am I writing these words to sort of explain why I can get ‘glassy-eyed,’ sometimes even in front of men. I try not to let that happen – but in certain circumstances – even in front of men I can become ‘emotional.’

Well – there you are. We use words like ‘emotional’ and ‘tender’ and ‘weepy.’ The dictionary says that to be weepy is to: (1) easily be moved to tears; or: (2) marked by weeping. Those who are like this would probably say we are easily moved to tears but not marked by or noted for weeping. If you go to the proper area of the dictionary for the word ‘tender’ – it says: to be easily moved to sympathy or compassion; kind: a tender heart.

There you go – compassion and caring. That’s what makes us tender.

I can become tender when I come in proximity to a pregnant mom. When I see a young mother with a baby – I want to take the child into my arms and love on and pray for him or her. But it isn’t just babies.  Music can make me quite tender. I just did a retreat at Franciscan University in Steubenville – and a lot of the music and words brought out this gift of tears.

Danielle Bean (editor for Faith and Family Magazine) did a blog column post recently about an order of Dominican nuns.  The column included a video of the nuns at work, at prayer and at play. It was so beautiful – it caused tears. Not ‘boo hoo’ crying – but tender tears of appreciation for the beauty of God’s plan unfolding in the lives of these women.

You may have heard of the early leaders of the Catholic Church – they are called the Church Fathers. Saint Ignatius of Loyola is said to have had the “gift of tears.” He sometimes cried so much at Mass that he could not go on, nor even talk for some time, and he was afraid that his gift of tears might cause him to lose his eyesight.

Church Fathers who wrote of such things acknowledged us who are tender. They wrote about the gift of tears and even their words make me tender because they explained the benefit for those of us who have this ‘condition.’ They said that the gift of tears is like a new baptism… cleansing and healing the soul. These tears create a period of the cleanness we experienced when we were baptized as infants. Isn’t that tender?

There can be different reasons for experiencing the gift of tears. For some – it may be a reaction to the sorrow for our sins. Don’t like that one? There’s the one I mentioned above: seeing beauty – seeing it as a miniature vision – recognition of God’s plan for us. No wonder I become emotional when in proximity to small children… or brides… or pregnant moms. Somewhere recently I wrote that one of my favorite popular Christian songs is: “I Can Only Imagine.” Do you know it? If you have the Gift of Tears – I invite you to listen to the words with careful attention. It always touches me when I hear this song played.

Now if one cries at ‘every little thing,’ it’s not a good thing. St. Teresa spoke about this and warned her nuns. We need to be tougher than that. We need to be the Church Militant about what goes on in our world. St Teresa wrote: “It is easy to know when tears come from this source (God), for they are soothing and gentle rather than stormy and rarely do any harm.” She also warned that this gift does not mean one has true virtue… “Let us not fancy that if we cry a great deal we have done all that is needed-rather we must work hard and practice the virtues: that is essential–leaving tears to fall when God sends them, without trying to force ourselves to shed them.”

If you are a person with the Gift of Tears – I’d love to hear from you. And – if you ever experience this while you are in deep prayer or contemplation – I especially would like to hear from you. This is an indication of a deep, deep state of prayer – what they call ‘infused’ prayer and union with God. I wonder if THE Catholic Mom Lisa Hendey has this gift? I bet she does. So – it’s okay…. It’s okay. But I’d still like to hear from you.

Blessings.
Deacon Tom

www.deacontomonline.com
www.catholicfamilypodcast.com
www.catholicmoments.com

Copyright 2009 Deacon Tom Fox

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About Author

Deacon Tom Fox and his wife Dee are co-hosts of the CATHOLIC VITAMINS Podcast for over 6 1/2 years. Tom has also been a member of the Catholic Mom columnists team for eight years, and was a regular contributor to the Catholic Moments Podcast for three years. Most recently, Deacon Tom has been leading a project to bring Catholic radio to the north central Arizona community where he and Dee reside. Blessings!

66 Comments

  1. Deacon Tom, I inherited the “Gift of Tears” from my Daddy, and he received it from his own Mother whom he loved so dearly. So I consider it a precious treasure, but always remember to pack tissue just in case!

  2. Hilary Jenkins on

    Hi Tom,
    I think I was given this gift 9 years ago, at the start of a profound conversion experience. Over the years it has diminished somewhat, as I have experienced massive healing of acutely painful areas in my life. However, it still manifests itself periodically; during Mass, especially at the Elevation, and sometimes very forcefully, after receiving Holy Communion. The sacrament of Reconciliation, and sacred music will often trigger it, too. Meditating on the Passion is a guarantee to need a box of tissues! As I do not appear to possess any other spiritual gifts, I tend to feel a “spiritual toddler”, and maybe do not appreciate that which has been given to me. So little is said about it, I haven’t regarded it as something to be grateful for-ignorance on my part!

  3. It is very hard for me not to cry sometimes when I hear certain music, see somebody get married, baptisms, first communions especially when it is one of my children. I remember hearing or reading about the gift of tears but I always felt a little out of place knowing I could be seen crying. I often wonder why others do not cry so I tell myself they must not understand the beauty of the moment so then are not moved to tears. My husband and I use to cry every time we watched, “Little House on the Prairie” that my two year old daughter called it the, “Crying Show”.

  4. I have the gift of tears. I had a powerful conversion about 15 years ago. I received the gift of tears shortly thereafter, and it happened often at mass, but not always. Then I was in choir ministry for a while, and busy with my family, and this gift went away. About a year ago it came back, and now my tears flow in huge drops at mass, one after the other — it is very baptismal, and not really always emotional, but sometimes a deep, almost heartbreaking gratitude to Christ comes with it. My husband and kids were slightly mortified at first, but now they are used to it, I guess. Anyway, I’m not a really emotional person, and rather tough I think as the mom of three formerly home schooled boys. But this gift of tears is something different – a precious gift to be sure, and doesn’t really have anything to do with my sins at the time, but rather just a gift that only happens at mass or during the family rosary. I also have the Holy Spirit sometimes burning like fire in my heart, and I can’t figure out why it occurs when it does — seemingly at the oddest times– but that is the wonder and awesomeness of our Dear Father! Who can figure HIm out?? All my meager love goes to my dear Abba, and my Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit in my heart!!!

  5. I think I have the Gift of Tears. I’m not sure though, because I used to cry about all sorts of stuff all the time; mostly selfishly. Now I rarely cry about anything other than God. When I first became a Christian again, after a phase of Agnosticism, I cried every time I thought about Him. Now it happens less. My tears usually happen during church/mass (I’m not Catholic, but attend Catholic mass often because my boyfriend is), and they usually happen while I am singing. This makes me think it is only an aesthetic experience, and not actually a gift from God. I don’t want to commit to it being or not being of God, because I fear the consequences of being wrong.

  6. I have the Gift of Tears, and wasn’t aware until just very recently that it actually had a name. I had been a lapsed Catholic for several decades and suffered through 3 painful life-changes in 2008. A friend suggested that I go to church with her and I found myself crying with such happiness and new-found faith and knew I was Home. That began my re-unification with God and the Catholic Church. I cry at mass, knowing I am in God’s house and He’s there. These are not forced tears by any measure. I cry during the songs or during parts of the sermon. I always cry when I pray, regardless of where I am. They are tears due to happiness or sadness, despair, or strong faith, intense love of God and of finding my way back to Him. I think I cry because I’m talking to God and I know He hears me. Now I know it’s a blessed and remarkable gift.

  7. I also have the Gift of Tears, and have had it for some years, though I’m really not sure how many. I didn’t even realize it was a gift until recently. When it happens, it’s almost always during Mass, and usually comes on me suddenly, but not every time I’m at Mass. Sometimes it’s while singing a hymn or the Gloria. I experienced it today at Mass and came upon me during the Eucharistic Prayer at the doxology. I felt a sudden influx of love, acceptance and oneness with the Lord. It brings such a feeling of simultaneous joy, love, peace and thankfulness that my Creator loved me enough to come to me, that the tears of love flow. I think this must be what heaven is like! I am a cradle Catholic, but experienced a major conversion after several years of doubt as a young adult. At that time, I experienced the tears of repentance and was almost sobbing in the confessional. When the gift manifests, I’m usually embarrassed and try to hide it, and none of my family members have ever mentioned it to me thankfully. I’m not sure why I have this gift, but I trust that God does! Love to you all.

  8. Dear Teresa and any others who may see your post… how beautiful to read your sharing and to know of those times when certain Church-related events bring out your gift of tears…. and it really, really is a gift. It washes the soul and freshens our love of God. Two things to add because they are fairly fresh. First — every time I go to Franciscan Univ. and experience Mass or Adoration with all those priests — I often am gifted with very tender emotions and I cry. Similarly but entirely different — I just returned from doing a Communion Service for a lot of Boy Scouts. The setting is truly magnificent — there’s a high rim of mountains surrounding the outdoor chapel and it lifts one’s mind and heart. The young (Scout) guitar leader started playing that song: “I could sing of your love forever….” Oh gosh… well, don’t get me started. Blessings Teresa and to all who experience this wonderful gift. deacon tom

  9. I only found out there is such a term a few days ago.
    I’ve been crying a lot while praying for two people- whom I haven’t met – who’ve recently lost loved ones. A couple of nights, I was also crying for all the people who are hurt and in pain, and asking God to comfort them. BUT I don’t know if the tears are spiritual, or simply due to the fact I’m sensitive and empathic, since I too am afraid to lose my loved ones, and I too have suffered loss. At times, after taking communion in Church, I also feel teary.

    I have my doubts because after these episodes, I don’t exactly feel ‘peace’ or closer to God, but more like.. well, like I’ve just had a good cry!

    • Deacon Tom, thank you so much for posting this article and for all the beautiful testimonies. What has puzzled and embarrassed me often, is that in taking the Eucharist or in deep thoughts of God at home in prayer, I weep…I never understood and others gazing at me as if I were overly emotional caused discomfort…but not so in other circumstances. Over the years, as a hospice sw fulfilling my mercy call by Christ, I would “feel” the same at the passing of the gentle souls….so today I sought to find out if anyone else experienced these emotions of deep weeping love? Although not Catholic , I deeply love our Lord Christ and the Virgin Mary. The postings here bring great comfort in knowing these tears are not out of a defect in my emotional quotient but from a deep spiritual connection with the Holy Spirit. I resonate with all who struggle to understand and to contain themselves in worship. In deed, I embrace in knowing others experience the same and it is truly a Gift. Most significant of all in reading, I will never be self conscious again as the tears fall in Love. The tender of heart in the darkness of the world. Abundant thanks to all.

    • Wow, that’s just how I feel. But I don’t know why. I was wondering if it was a selfish cry? How do you know. I was away from the church for many years. I cry when I say the Rosary sometimes. I always cry when I say the Stations of the cross through Mary’s eyes.Just wondering, I am so sorry for past sins.Maybe that’s it.I am so grateful to be back. Any reply would be appreciated. God Bless You.

  10. Dear Anne and other fellow journey mates, greetings and peace. What a lovely reply to the column written well over a year ago on the Gift of Tears. Thank you for your words and openness about what you have experienced. You might be surprised at the number of on-going comments this column brings about. In my own faith walk, I become tender when I first approach the Eucharist after Confession… sometimes when I’m at Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. And it sometimes happens when I see young families… especially innocent young children at Mass or other services.

    Thank you again. And thanks for your participation in the Catholic Mom website and family. May God bless you and wash your soul with the tears that you experience. Blessings.

    deacon tom

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    • Deacon Tom,
      It’s ironic that I found your posting on CatholicMom.com while I was doing a google search to find out more information about the gift of tears, because I have recently become a contributor to the blog myself!

      In any case, I think there is a difference between having a gift of compassion and being more susceptible to crying over tender moments than is the actual gift of tears from the Holy Spirit. I have to admit, when I first experienced this, I could not describe it in words and wasn’t sure what it even was. About a year ago I awoke in the middle of the night and began to weep uncontrollably while simultaneously this incredibly beautiful prayer came forth from my heart, and I felt that Our Lady was guiding me to say this prayer to God. It was like nothing I had ever prayed before in my life, but during that moment (which lasted for perhaps an hour or so), I wept for love, for joy and out of a deep contrition for my sins. I wanted nothing more than to know God’s will and to live it in my life. I also was given the gift of a spiritual knowledge about certain things going on in my life and in the life of a close friend of mine – things I wouldn’t have otherwise known, but which God revealed to me during this moment.

      Since then I have experienced it two other times, and I am wondering if there are any books or good resources you know of that would assist me in understanding this gift more deeply?

      • I am not a devout person. I do not attend church regularly. That being said I have a very strong relationship with God. He has spoken to me during the darkest time of my life as well as in ordinary times. WHen I do attend church with my mother and son(13) my eyes leak. I will not say cry because I am not disturbed for any reason or in control of it. I am left feeling positive, strong and in charge. This ash Wednesday my son and I were in church and a heavy constant stream of tears poured from my eyes. To the point that my son noticed and asked why I was crying. I told him I wasn’t crying, that I did not know what was going on or why. Towards the end of Mass I realized that my tears were a sign of my healing from the damage I suffered in the church I grew up in and the current church from the Monsignor who was no longer there . A couple weeks later I was speaking to a friend, also Catholic, and he told me that it was “the gift of tears”.
        Unfortunately I do not think people understand this gift at all. I think most people who think they have experienced it are incorrect in that assumption. It is not crying, the tears leak from the outside of the eyes. It is a peaceful experience that leaves me feeling renewed.

        • Hello Terry. Lenten greetings and graces prayed for you on your faith journey. I will set aside any immediate comments about not attending church regularly, and the type of witness that you are giving to your family members. But in some way – I agree that God has touched a special place in your inner being — a place inside of you that recognizes a call from the God who loves you — and wants you to know the dignity that He gave you – made in His image and likeness. If I use the word ‘soul’ in this regard – your soul weeps at the beauty of the love you are called to know of and to be a part of.

          When I was going through deacon formation well over a decade ago, a spiritual formation person told me that the last place to look for perfection was in the Church. We wonder how this can be. And yet, this brokenness is shown in all of the apostles… later in a few popes, many bishops and priests. Oh… and deacons and nuns and ….

          I’m sorry you were hurt. May God give you the gift of forgiveness coupled with a gift of healing. The Church doesn’t ask you to forget. But to not let our lives be controlled by the sins of others. This Monday’s Gospel has the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery. Read how Jesus responded to her serious sin.

          Blessings. I’ve entered your name on my daily prayer list.

          deacon tom

  11. I am so happy to find this site. I can cry quite uncontrollably during praying the Rosary, sometimes all I can get out is Hail Mary, and the tears flood. I have to wait before continuing to pray. I also cry in Church sometimes, as many have said during Confession, receiving the Eurcharist, singing some hymns. It doesn’t happen some nights and other nights during praying the rosary alot alot big drops of tears fall, but its wonderful too. Sometimes when I don’t have the tears I miss them, because when I do have tears I feel a different connection, a deep loving towards Jesus, Mary, God, and the Holy Spirit.
    Well that’s what happens for me anyway, I am so happy to read other peoples comments, sometimes it is very hard to hold back the tears at Mass, but now I feel its a blessing, a gift, it is okay.
    May God Bless you all.

  12. Margaret — another beautiful response to this area of great tenderness for many of us. The other day in prayer, I asked the Lord to keep me from ‘seeking’ these emotional responses. That may sound strange — but I don’t want my prayer and liturgies to be about what I get out of them… but about giving praise and thanksgiving to our God. And may I share a smile with you? I had this vision of a bunch of us all (coincidentally) sitting in the same pew at Church for a Mass. What would people think if they saw a dozen of us all with tears running down our cheeks?

    Thanks for sharing, Margaret. Blessings.

    deacon tom

  13. I know of someone with the gift of tears and it always stars with the right eye flowing minutes before the left eye starts to flow, can you tell me if this is common with the gift of tears, and what possibly is the meaning of this manifestation of the right eye first?? thanks PRAISE GOD

  14. Well Bryon — I don’t know how your question didn’t get to my attention until now. I apologize for this delay. You’ve asked a question I’ve never heard nor thought of before. Maybe there is a meaning though I would only be guessing. Bless the person with the gift — and I agree with you on one thing: Praise God… now and forever. Blessings. dt

    • Deacon Tom,
      I just went to a Marian Conference and while being blessed through a healing service tears just came and came. I could not stop them but did not feel like a cry like when upset. The tears did not stop for a long time and them came and went when I pondered on the healing service. When going back to my room as I was wondering what is wrong with me a woman asked another woman if she got the “gift of tears” and now I wonder. I always have tears that come and go and I just thought my soul was crying not me but I had a disconnect between me and my soul. Could this be a “gift”? As I write this tears come and I am not sure why? How does one really know if its a gift? bb

      • Healing services often bring out tears; I’ve experienced them myself at times. About how to know if it is a ‘gift’ for you — my thought would be if you sense these tears repeating from time to time in certain circumstances. Mine are most often associated with beauty and innocence and scenes or episodes that depict us (men, women and children) as we are meant to be – as things were in the Garden of Eden. Or related to the lives and experiences of saints. You may also want to research further in other places. Blessings. Thanks. dt

  15. I was told today that I might have the Gift of Tears by a spiritual director. I try not to cry since I find it hard to stop and I think this may be part of a resistance I’ve experienced with experiencing a deeper relationship with God. I cry easily with graditude. My grandfather cried very easily and several of his children. I don’t like it. I’ve done a little reading just tonight and this seems to be a contraversial topic – who does and doesn’t have such and gift and how do you know. I’m tired of complications. So, I’m just going to work a little harder on accepting tears and not being quite so resistant to them. Even the thought of that is unpleasant – I’ve got a long way to go. I have enjoyed reading the sharings here.

  16. Hi Karen – thanks for the blessing of your feedback and comments. There is some amount of disagreement about this area. For example, a person that is struggling with unrepented sin, or someone who has an admitted sin in their lives (e.g. addiction) and who has trouble stopping it — these sorts of folks may cry and it doesn’t truly fit the ‘definition of a gift of tears.’The fact that you said you cry easily with gratitude speaks more to the gift of tears than something you ought to reject or feel unhappy about. There are still many things that make me very sensitive. I was with a group of people tonight and we were watching Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism DVD and there was a segment about JPII and WYD’s… It made me very sensitive to see the young people and how moved they were by his holiness and leadership. Just something recent in my life. Blessings on your journey. Thanks again. I rejoice in your gift of tears. dt

  17. Pingback: More on the Gift of Tears | CatholicMom.com

  18. Tears
    I have had the gift of tears for some time not knowing it is a charismatic gift of the Holy Spirit until my 38th birthday. I knew it was a good thing but such an honor I am repentant to say I had no idea. It’s true meaning was revealed to me as a gift for my birthday and was the best present I could have ever received!!!:))
    Recently I may add group prayer to the occurances of instigation. The Spirit has come To me in a large church setting with people praying together spread out in the church. But the most intense experience was in a small room inside the church with everyone together very close saying the Divine Mercy (about 20 pple I would say and my 2 year old daughter blah blah blahing in her stroller:) I closed my eyes and it was like time and space didn’t exist for a brief time…pure love…and then an outpouring of tears. I cry writing this previous sentence but these tears do not come from the same source. In the initial description the Spirit appears out of no where and washes you clean. It is remarkable to say the very least and who am I to deserve this? It certainly doesn’t mean you are full of virtue…I struggle continuously with many things.
    Oh also during a bible study meeting so again another group. I couldnt say a word the whole time and wanted to badly because if you know me I never shut up when I have something to say… gentle tears just kept flowing out of me for what felt like a long time. I believe there are several charismatics in the group. And! During the singing of praise and prayer time at an FCCW breakfast ( fellowship of Catholic Christian Woman…approx 150 women) I know there are alot of charismatics there…
    Hope this helps and I will start journaling this more and am joining the Charismatic group to get Baptized in the Holy Spirit but somehow I feel like I already have been;) also I will write an essay and present it to my prayer groups and beyond because I know that there are ALOT more people out there who have it and don’t REALLY fully understand what it is:)
    Why do we have it? To fight the good fight? Fortification for what is ahead on our journey? I can’t imagine this doesn’t have a purpose beyond in and of itself. You are being drawn in and fortified with grace…you can feel it deep in your soul. It makes you want to run around and tell everyone kind of feeling so it must follow that God is up to something…something for which you are destined for and will need the conviction of belief that it gives you.. ….that is my gut feeling and I am sticking with it;)
    I sure would like to know about infused prayer and any other reference materials as I am called to write about these findings:)
    In Christ may the world find Peace.-Diane

    • Dear Diane. Graces and greetings. What a beautiful share. Enough to make me tender 🙂 When I saw the prompt that you had filed some words on the Gift of Tears, I thought you might be replying to my recent column (just 2 weeks old called MORE ON THE GIFT OF TEARS). No matter — it’s so good to hear from you and to see the various ways that God’s Spirit is touching you. The question of ‘why do we have it?’ has many potential answers: Paul tells us that there are many gifts distributed among many people; it’s God’s to do and His to know. Personally, I believe it makes my faith more intense, more caring — and I am led to pray more for others and to give God so much tnanks for what He has gifted me with (in addition to tears). I wish you well on your writing and journaling — if there is anything you care to share, please do so. You can reach me at [email protected] Blessings on the Charismatic connections… this was so important to my faith journey and I’m not in an area where I can participate with such folks. Only when I go on retreat in the summer. Blessings. Hugs. Tissues!

  19. Pingback: Compunction and The Gift of Tears (Part 3) | CatholicMom.com

  20. I didn’t realize there was such a thing until I attended a spirituality breakfast at our church and the speaker mentioned it. I never understood why I would cry, but having looked into it since, I’ve found that for me, it is when the Holy Spirit is working in me. It is especially evident when I share a faith story with others. It’s as if the beauty of the truth of the Lord’s work in my life is so overwhelming it can’t be helped. I’m even weeping as I write this!

    • Dear Dawn, we just continue to hear from people who share in this ‘Gift’ in a variety of circumstances: Some at Adoration, some during the Mass, some at or after the Sacrament of Reconciliation, etc. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide you and work in your life, and in all of us open to His promptings. Blessings. dt

  21. Pingback: Compunction and The Gift of Tears | CatholicMom.com

  22. Deacon Tom,
    (At first, I thought you were Deacon Tom Fox from San Antonio, Texas.)
    Four days ago (Sunday 10/5/14)I returned from a Women’s ACTS Retreat at which, I believe, I received the gift of tears — or so it was explained to me the next day (Monday). That Saturday morning the priest offered us the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. I sat in the pew praying for each of the women as they went forward with their prayer partners to receive the Sacrament which my prayer partner did also. It was then I first felt the overwhelming need to cry. My heart felt so heavy, but I knew I needed to suppress the tears then. After mass when I had some alone time, the tears came. At the time I didn’t know where/why the tears were coming. As I reflected on my own life, nothing seemed so painful as to cause me to cry. Later that morning we experienced a presentation on the life of Mary which I have seen several times and usually makes me tear up, but not this time. It was during the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which followed that the tears came again. Not knowing what was happening I offered them to the Lord for the ladies who were suffering. The need to cry didn’t go away until the afternoon. At morning mass on Monday afte returning from the retreat and upon receiving Eucharist, the tears flowed again and didn’t stop until I sought out my friend and spiritual director to explain the experience. It was she who identified the tears as a gift from the Holy Spirit. And so, in my thirst for knowledge of the gift, your website popped up first. Thank you and all the people who commented for giving me some insight. May the Lord bless you in your service to Him and His people.

  23. I’m a “cradle catholic” and My first experience with the gift of tears was at adoration at a silent retreat about 8 years ago. I was so overtaken by Gods love that the tears just kept coming. I eventually had to put my face in my hands so as not to disrupt others (don’t think it worked very well). My soul felt so amazing that I stayed until the tears stopped. I was very confused and didn’t get insight into this until 4 years later during spiritual direction. I had another experience of this today actually which is what prompted me to seek out more information. Thank you all for sharing your gift!

  24. Deacon Tom, thank you so much for posting this article and for all the beautiful testimonies. What has puzzled and embarrassed me often, is that in taking the Eucharist or in deep thoughts of God at home in prayer, I weep…I never understood and others gazing at me as if I were overly emotional caused discomfort…but not so in other circumstances. Over the years, as a hospice sw fulfilling my mercy call by Christ, I would “feel” the same at the passing of the gentle souls….so today I sought to find out if anyone else experienced these emotions of deep weeping love? Although not Catholic , I deeply love our Lord Christ and the Virgin Mary. The postings here bring great comfort in knowing these tears are not out of a defect in my emotional quotient but from a deep spiritual connection with the Holy Spirit. I resonate with all who struggle to understand and to contain themselves in worship. In deed, I embrace in knowing others experience the same and it is truly a Gift. Most significant of all in reading, I will never be self conscious again as the tears fall in Love.

  25. I went to confession yesterday. I knelt after to begin my penance. I was joyful & not a cryer yet tears started pouring out of my eyes. I wasn’t alone & tried to stop them but they came all by themselves. I even had a smile on my face so I might not be noticed. Tears came out a couple times through out the day. I accidentally saw while reading today that padre Pio had the gift of tears. Googling this I think I might have experienced it. I got weepy during my first confession after I had a conversion 23 years going.

    • Dear Dianne. Greetings and graces prayed for for you. Sorry to be delayed in getting back with you. The Gift of Tears is thought by some to be a ‘new Baptism’ of the soul. It is the ‘spirit’ of our soul reacting to a renewed indwelling of the Spirit. It is gift — pure and simple. Some good and holy people never get to experience this. And so we can be thankful that we are so blessed. Innocence of certain forms will bring this Gift to me. Seeing God’s plan in the lives of others brings it out in me.

      Thank you for your tender sharing. Blessings. Deacon Tom of the Catholic Vitamins Podcast.

  26. I mentioned yesterday in class that lately, when saying the Our Father, I have been having the urge to just converse with My Abba in Heaven… and then the tears begin. Sometimes wrenching sobs and sometimes just floods of tears. All accompanied by the knowledge that I can do NOTHING without Him and that HE loves me so much that HE makes me breathe, speak, move, Love… my soul is filled.

    My director said I was blessed with the Grace of Tears. I am so grateful. I can say no more to describe the fullness and joy.

    • Hello, me too. Often during the Our Father song…i cry softly. Sometimes i wipe it immediately because my fellow mother butler would notice me. Thanks Be yo God.

      • Continuing Easter blessings Ina. I did a baptism of a sweet, 1 month old little girl. Her first name is Elliana which roughly translated means My God Answered…. that was enough for me to get misty-eyed. Whether it’s the innocence of a baby, a return to the faith that has touched someone deeply, or the words of Jesus, “Our Father…” – our souls are touched in a special way when the tears renew us. Blessings. Thanks for taking the time to write in to the Catholic Mom website. Dcn Tom

  27. I came across your blog after having prayed the rosary. I admit I’m nowhere near as devoted as I’d feel I should be to praying the rosary. But, today is my birthday and I’m also pregnant with my 6th child (3 in heaven, 2 on earth). Today is my due date, my husband is deployed and, due to many many reasons, we choose to birth at home. I have been in prodromal (start and stop) labor for 2 days now and I know my body needs to relax. As soon as I arrived at the first decade of my rosary, an overwhelming urge to cry overcame me. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I was not sad nor could I describe them as tears of joy. I cannot put words to the feeling. They were just tears. I wondered what it meant, and in my quest for answers, came across your article. I’ve had overwhelming feelings during mass that led to tears. Certain songs as you er described above. I’ve never viewed my tears as a gift of any kind. I was enlightened by your article, that it is in fact a gift. I was raised to be tough and to see tears as a sign of weakness. It took me a very long time to understand that this was a warped and twisted view. But, even still, never saw my tears as a gift. So thank you for writing this. As I prepare for this birth and bringing our son into this world with his father thousands of miles away, I will reflect on your words and find peace and comfort during the tears. Thank you.

  28. Dear Jo. Oh my. Now you’ve made me very tender. What a beautiful email. So sorry it’s taken too many hours to get to a reply to you — our bishop was in our community for confirmations and a visit to our new Catholic radio station. So I was busy since late Friday. None the less…

    First = as a softy and a caring person – would that we were near to whereever you live to help some. By now, perhaps you’ve given birth to that son. Another form of miracle that always makes me ‘verklempt.’ Would that we could do babysitting for you. Or fix a meal or two.

    Prayer will have to be our contribution to your loving condition and the things you are doing. But rest assured that the tears are a form of baptism for the soul. Let them happen. And please let me hear from you. Send a newborn picture to Deacon Tom at [email protected]

    Blessings. Thanks again for your share. Thank your husband for his service.

    dcn tom

  29. MARYJANE CHINWENDU EZEH on

    Mine started gradually whenever prayer or worship song is on. now the tears are coming out much. i really wants to know what it signifies

    • Hello Maryjane. Greetings and graces. What do tears signify? My heavens – let me count the ways. A soul that has been touched at its most vulnerable place. A soul that recognizes the beauty of God’s mercy. Or God’s love. A soul that is still in the far-away place of the Prodigal Son (or Daughter) but realizes what he has left behind. A soul that sees immense beauty in a nun who has surrendered everything to follow a still, quiet voice. A soul in Confession who sees the face of Jesus in the (sometimes all too human face of the) priest. A soul that sees the end of a life-well-lived (for God). Etc., Etc. Are you in any of these or similar situations? Blessings. DT

  30. I cry in mass often. I am so embarrassed and don’t want others to see me. I lose myself in deep prayer, tears and I make mistakes in the mass. My priest must think that I’m out of my mind. I hope he will forgive me. I cry about many things, Jesus’ crucifixion, my deepest feelings, happy or sad and at the consecration. The music deepens these feelings and emotions. I’ve never heard of The Gift of Tears until today. Thank you and the others who has given me the name to go along with the tears.

    • Hi Karen. Tender greetings in return. The tendency to cry (weep, tear up, sob softly, feel emotional… ) — these are all indications of the Gift of Tears. If you have read other postings or my replies – you know it isn’t anything to be upset about. I do, however understand the embarrassment about what others will think. Not much we can do about that if we are also sensitive to what others might think. If pressed to ‘explain’ yourself, just say it’s a gift of deep happiness. Blessings Karen. I have you in my prayers. Blessings. Dcn Tom

  31. I’ve been having tears during Mass more often…I can’t really remember exactly when it started, I just thought I was being overly emotional. But it started happening more often at various times during the Mass so I googled it and found this thread. At first I was embarrassed but now I let my tears roll down my cheeks. I’m at Mass for my God and no one else. I just feel imense love and gratitude for Jesus sacrifice on the cross! God who became man does for me, a horrible sinner. He did it because he loves me and believes I’m worth it ?

  32. Hello Susie. Thanks for your candid participation on the reactions you experience at Mass. Those of ‘us’ who have mixed feelings about the ‘gift’ find ourselves in different settings. I can’t remember if I’ve shared about a young (20-something) man who experienced a quiet sobbing experience on coming out of Reconciliation. And I just participated in my 11th year of a charismatic-oriented priest/deacon/seminarian retreat at Franciscan University. I see emotions on display in various situations there. Surprisingly, in addition to tears, I’ve also seen laughter and exuberant joy.

    Over time my estimation of the Gift of Tears is that they are most often connected with deep sense of gratitude and awareness which is what you expressed in your comments.

    I know many are uncomfortable that others may see this displayed, but if we come to acceptance of it as gift, we will disavow how others process the sight 🙂

    Blessings.

    Dcn Tom

  33. Hello Deacon Tim

    My name is Erica and when I pray I have tears flowing down my face. My nose does not stop up or anything. I just notice whIle I am praying I feel tears rolling down my face. The first time that it happened I thought something was crawling on my face until I touched my face and it was wet. So just about every time I pray I have tears so time more than others.

    • Over the years that my words have been associated with the Gift of Tears — two of the common reactions are uncertainty about why ‘it’ is happening… and for some, they feel embarrassment. In my own personal processing of this gift – I know that areas of mind and soul have been touched. Deeply. Over the years, I’ve come to accept myself as a ‘softy’ when God allows me to see beauty. Although I too feel like covering my moist eyes, I have become so thankful to recognize parts of God’s divine plans for us.

      Thank you Erica (and Remiji)

  34. hi,
    I have been praying infront of the blessed sacrament and there was a woman who started shading tears and deep cry infront of the sacrament..i knew not the meaning of this coz i too usualy cry if i put deep concentration talking infront of the blessed sacrament and this makes me thirst of seeing the blessed sacrament everyday..Jesus loves us all but do we love him..?

  35. Dear Deacon Tom,

    Until recently, I have cried during Confession — never while reciting my sins, but either when the priest starts giving spiritual advice/gentle admonishment, or during my Act of Contrition, or both. But recently the setting seems to have shifted to Mass. I will spontaneously, to my surprise, start crying at some point during the Canon. I never assume it’s going to happen, and I can never control it. I try to hide it from others, because I’m embarrassed about it. It’s especially a problem because I sing in a choir loft which is a small space for the number of singers there, and it’s almost impossible not to notice if someone is upset, crying, or the opposite. We stand close to each other.

  36. Thank you for this post….ai have had this ‘problem’ for the last 17yrs….i sit in the last pew for mass, or dont go in and leave mass after communion , i sit in the baby cry room during daily rosary…..i had no idea why, till now….thank you

  37. Sasha Pucheokchuen on

    I am so happy to have read this, I attend mass and tears just roll down and I feel such deep emotions that is indescribable!!! Tears flow even when I pray and I thank God!!!
    His love is nothing you can explain!!! Thank you

  38. Hello Sasha. Greetings and Graces prayed for you. You are right that we cannot explain God or His love or mercy. Some have experienced this Gift of Tears at Mass. Some during/after Confession. Some during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

    When I go to Franciscan University each summer, I can become somewhat teary during praise music – or when listening to conversion stories from speakers.

    Thank you for sharing the ‘holy salt of your tears’ with those who follow this column.

  39. Sir,
    Thank you for this article. I am not Catholic. I was raised in the Baptist Church but ha e not attended for quite some time.
    Yesterday, a friend of mine who is a devout Catholic, took me to a funeral mass with her. (I was assisting her with the funeral luncheon). As the parishioners we’re going up to receive communion, I went up as well just to receive the blessing. Afterward, I went back to sit in the pew and I began to cry. Not sobbing or anything but tears I could not control we’re pouring down my face. It puzzled me so much that I turned to Google and found this article. Could this “gift of tears” be what it was?
    Thank you.
    Diana

  40. Hello Diana. What a lovely share of your experience attending Mass with a friend. I’ve never done any research so the following is purely opinion: I doubt that the Gift of Tears is restricted to people of one faith-walk, or even to those who are deeply practicing faith. God’s grace, combined with His proximity and given circumstances can touch some who are the most hardened. [This is not to imply I read any ‘hardness’ into your sharing at all 🙂 ]

    Given what happened to you Diana, I hope you’ll agree that it was tender and beautiful. And that you give thanks to the Lord and ask Him to help you understand this in your life.

    Blessings and caring thoughts.

    Deacon Tom

  41. I have had countless experience of tears flowing often in mass praying after receiving communion, at retreats, and sometimes during adoration. I dont remember when or how it first started. When the tears flow, I have no idea why I am crying and will be wondering why as I wipe them off as much as I can due to embarrassment, but sometimes it just wont stop. I never knew that there is such a thing as gift of tears and I didn’t thought much of it as I thought it is just because I’m quite emotional and cry easily especially when watching movies and listening to lyrics of a song. Now that I read more from the internet on this gift of tears I’m somewhat convinced I received it, but still am unsure as I read somewhere that many people incorrectly assume the gift of tears when its got to do with crying while being emotional.

  42. Blessings dear Evelyn. Thank you for your openness in sharing about your tears and the circumstances surrounding when you are so-moved. The one thing I would share from experience and from being in touch with others about this is that most often, the ‘gift of tears’ is an experience that makes one feel internal ‘sweetness’ and wholesome joy… It isn’t something emotional in the sense of emotion when we lose a family member or a spouse. In other words, ‘sweet, tender joy mixed with salty tears.’

    Blessings again.

    Deacon Tom

  43. I google “tears while praying the Rosary” because I’m scared. I was atheist but God had a plan that’s all I can say. Two weeks ago I felt this urge to pray the Rosary. I found the information to do it, and I started praying the Rosary. I can’t resist; the need is similar to the desire of water after running for miles, that is the best way I can explain it. It’s a precious moment, but during the hail Marys, I start to cry. It’s a quiet, healing, crying. I need to understand what’s going on with myself. I hope you can guide me.

    • Tender greetings Maria. If you’ve had a chance to skim or read some of the experiences brought about by this topic/column, you’ll see that people – many people have shared about the how and when of their ‘gift of tears.’ I think it’s personal – a unique gift of God. Sometimes, it’s to ‘wash’ our soul – bathe it and renew innocence. Sometimes, people experience it and they feel incredible closeness to God, to Jesus or Mary. Sometimes, it’s a tenderness brought about by the mistakes and sinful ways we damaged our relationship with the Lord.

      I can’t ‘diagnose’ your particular situation – but I do believe it’s a gift. Thank God for it. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t worry if others see this.

      Blessings. Caring thoughts.

      deacon tom

  44. I am so grateful that I just came across this. I am a “church crier”. I am what most people see as pretty rough around the edges, a little brash, and straightforward without hesitation. Been like this all of my life. I wend through RCIA about 14 years ago, and from there, I became a different person in my faith and when inside our church. I was a baptized in a Southern Baptist church by my father’s uncle who I adored. I turned away from church when that man a loved took his life. I wasn’t able to reconcile that event with my faith. I dabbled in the Methodist church where my neighbors, the minister and his family, would whisk me off to Sunday school at church service with their family. I spent several years trying to figure out where I was called to worship.

    Going through RCIA was such a wonderful experience. I knew it was where I was supposed to be. It wasn’t long before all of those emotions started spilling over during the services I was part of. People even started bringing little “designer” packs of tissue. On Easter Vigil, several people brought those little packs of tissue. They wanted me to be prepared. There was never really a particular part of the service that would contribute to my overwhelming feelings. It was just a powerful feeling to know that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

    I am no longer quite in the need of packs of tissue, but there is always a point in a service that either gets me with a steady stream of tears rolling, tears welled up in my eyes, or a lump in my throat. Sometimes it is the kindness of a stranger that moves up a row to be able to hold the hand of a solitary older woman during the Lord’s Prayer. Sometimes it’s because I realize that I am sweating because the 16 year old next to me is giving me no personal space, and I am become overwhelmed with gratitude that that boy is next to me.

  45. Hi Danielle. Greetings and graces. Your most welcome share resurrects an idea I’ve had for a follow up ‘Gift Of Tears’ column. This next one would be a reflection on the various sources of circumstances surrounding those who experience their gift. Confession, faith discovered, faith reclaimed, receiving Holy Communion, Adoration, holy innocence recognized, etc. sometimes there is no discernible reason.

    While some witnesses think it strange or an oddity, you and I know this is truly a GIFT.

    Blessings and e-hugs to a ‘sister’ in the walk of faith.

    Deacon Tom

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