A Night of Fire: The Mystical Vision that Converted Scientist Blaise Pascal

Public Domain, Wikipedia / ChurchPOP

Blaise Pascal was one of the most important scholars of the 17th century. He was a great scientist, mathematician, and inventor, famous for many key breakthroughs. He was also a devoted Catholic and wrote what is considered to be one of the best apologetic works of his time.

But he wasn’t always a believer. After spending most of his life only nominally interested in religion, he had a dramatic conversion – and it was due to an incredible and dramatic mystical experience.

[See also: This Agnostic Scientist Converted After Witnessing a Miracle at Lourdes]

[See also: The Miracle that Led “Obi-Wan Kenobi” to Convert to Catholicism]

Pascal was born in France in 1623. The second of three children, his mother died when he was just 3 years old. A few years later, his father moved their family to Paris.

Pascal’s intelligence was evident from a young age, so his father decided to personally educate him at home. And it paid off: when Pascal was just 16 years old, he was already making mathematical breakthroughs and engaging in academic discourse with professional mathematicians. By age 19, he had invented his own mechanical calculator, about 50 units of which he sold to various wealthy families in Europe. During his 20s and early 30s, Pascal did important work with mathematical probability and made important discoveries related to fluids and pressure.

One of his mechanical calculators, or Pascaline. / © 2005 David Monniaux, Wikipedia
One of his mechanical calculators, or Pascaline. / © 2005 David Monniaux, Wikipedia

In 1646, his father fell and broke his hip, a devastating injury in that time. The two doctors that worked with his father over the next few months happened to be devout Catholics (though they were a part of the small but growing Jansenist sect). Through their friendship and conversations with him, Pascal started to think seriously about religion for the first time in his life.

Many biographers call this his “first conversion.” It was mostly intellectual and did not last long. When his father died in 1651, he moved on from religion and entered what many call his “worldly period.” Soon after, his younger sister decided to join a convent, to which her third of their father’s estate was given. Since his older sister had already used her part as a dowry, 30-year-old Pascal was left with just his third of his father’s estate, without his parents, and with both of his sisters fully engaged in other vocations.

In other words, he was poor and alone. And that is when God entered his life in an amazing way.

It was November 23rd, 1654 and Pascal was at home alone. The sun was set and all was dark. He was most likely preparing for bed when, suddenly, at around 10:30pm, something supernatural happened. It’s not clear exactly what he saw, but the amazing mystical experience lasted for a full two hours. As soon as it was over, he grabbed a pen and paper and wrote down what was swirling through his head.

Here’s what he wrote:

The year of grace 1654,

Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement, pope and martyr, and others in the martyrology. Vigil of St. Chrysogonus, martyr, and others. From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight,


GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob
not of the philosophers and of the learned.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your GOD will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Grandeur of the human soul.
Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have departed from him:
They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
My God, will you leave me?
Let me not be separated from him forever.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
Let me never be separated from him.
He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.
May I not forget your words. Amen.

Wow! Whatever he saw, it sounds amazing.

He then took the piece of paper with the story and carefully sewed it into the inside of his jacket, which he kept with him the rest of his life. This was not discovered until after his death.

Unlike his first intellectual conversion, this conversion was of the heart – and it stuck. He mostly gave up his work in mathematics and devoted himself to theology and apologetics. A few years later, he published Provincial Letters, an attack on moral casuistry that became famous not only for its arguments, but also for its humor and effective use of satire.

In his mid-30s he started writing a comprehensive apologetic work with the working title “Defense of the Christian Religion.” But he became very sick and was unable to finish it. On August 18th, 1662, he fell into convulsions and received Anointing of the Sick. The next morning, he died at the age of 39. His last words? “May God never abandon me.”

The drafts and notes for his apologetic work were collected and published posthumously with the uninspired title “Thoughts of M. Pascal on religion, and on some other subjects,” better known by the title’s first word in the original French: Pensées. Despite being just a draft, it was an instant success, and remains today a classic of apologetics.

The "death mask" of Blaise Pascal. / Mary trump, Public Domain, Wikipedia
The “death mask” of Blaise Pascal. / Mary trump, Public Domain, Wikipedia

Do you know of another great scientist who converted to Catholicism? Tell the story in the comments!

[See also: This One Quote Convinced Me to Convert to Catholicism]

[See also: 23 Food Apparitions Sure to Convert Any Skeptic]




  1. Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it|

  2. Hello, i think that i noticed you visited my site thus i got here to go back the want?.I am attempting to to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its adequate to make use of a few of your concepts!!|

  3. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.|

  4. Hello there, just was alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I’m gonna be careful for brussels. I’ll appreciate when you continue this in future. Lots of other people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  5. Just desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness on your post is simply excellent and that i could assume you’re an expert in this subject. Fine along with your permission let me to grasp your RSS feed to keep updated with drawing close post. Thank you a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

  6. Link eҳchange is nothing else еxcept it is just placing the other person’s webpage link on your page at suitable place and other
    person will also do same in sսppoгt of you.

  7. You’re totally correct. I liked reviewing this article and I will certainly come back for more straight away. My internet site is about quotes, you can look if you are still interested in that.

  8. nаturally like your web-site howеver you have to take a
    look at the spelling on quite a few of yoսr posts. A number of them
    are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very troublesome to іnform the
    reality however I will certainlʏ come again again.

  9. Hі, i read your Ƅlog from time to time and i own a similar
    one and i was just curious іf you get a lot of spam feedback?
    Ιf so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any suρport is very mucһ apprеciated.

  10. Terrific post bսt I wɑs wanting to knoԝ if yoս could write a litte more on this tօpic?
    I’d be vеry grateful if you could elaborate
    a littⅼe bit fսrthеr. Bⅼess you!

  11. Ӏ’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours
    today, yet I never found any interesting article like
    yoսrs. It’s pretty worth enough for mе. Personally,
    if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the weƄ will
    be a lot more useful than ever before.

  12. It was actually amazing to read this article and I believe you are completely correct. Let me know if you are curious about wireless gaming headset, that’s my principal competency. I really hope to see you in the near future, take care!

  13. Thаnks , I’ve just been looking for informatiоn about
    this topic for a long time and yours іs the best I have came upon so far.
    Hоwever, what in regards t᧐ the bottom line?
    Arе you sure about the supply?

  14. Thankѕ for a marveloսs posting! I ɑctually enjoyed reading it,
    you can Ьe a great author. I will always bookmark your blog ɑnd will eventually come Ƅack
    lɑter in life. I want to encourage уou to continue
    your great job, have a nice evening!

  15. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  16. I just could not go away your wеb site prior to suggesting that I extremely loved the usual information a person provide foг your
    visitors? Is goіng to be back frequently in order tο inspect new

  17. I was wondering іf you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog?
    Its very well written; I lⲟve what youve got to say.
    Bᥙt maybe you could a lіttle morе in the way of content so
    people could cоnnect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of
    text for only having one oг 2 pictuгes. Mayƅe you could space it out better?

  18. I have ƅeen surfing online more than three hours today,
    yеt I never found any interesting artіcle like yours.
    It’s pretty wortһ enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as yoᥙ
    did, the internet wilⅼ be much more useful than ever bеfore.

  19. Have уou ever considered ᴡriting an e-book or gueѕt authorіng on օther bloɡs?
    Ӏ have a blog based upon on tһe same information you discuss and would really like to hаѵe you share some stories/information. I know my subscгibers would appreciɑte your work.
    If you’re even remotеly interested, feеl free to sеnd me an e mail.

  20. Neat blog! Is yoᥙr theme custom made or did yօu download it from
    somеwhere? A design lіke yoᥙrs wіth a feѡ simple adjustemеnts would really make my blog jump
    out. Plеase let me know where you got yoսr design. Thank you

  21. Ꮐreat blog herе! Alѕo your site loads up faѕt! What web host are you using?
    Can I get your affiliate lіnk to yoսr host? I wish mү ԝebsite loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  22. Hi! I қnow this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering
    whіch blog plаtform are you using for this webѕite? I’m getting fed up of Woгdpгess because І’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.

    I would be awesome if you coulԁ point me in the
    direction of a good platform.

  23. Ηi there ϳust wanted to give you a quick һeads up.
    The words in your content ѕeem to be running off thе
    screen in Internet explorer. I’m not surе if tһis is a fߋrmat issᥙe οr something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.
    The desiցn and style lⲟok great though! Hope you get tһe problem solved soon. Kudos

  24. Tһanks , I’ve reⅽently been searching for info approximately this topic for a
    long time and yours is tһe greatest I haνe came upon till now.
    However, what about the conclusion? Are you sսгe
    about the supplу?

  25. Ι was vеry happy to diѕcover this site. I want to to thank you
    for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely savоred every part
    of it and i also hаve you saveⅾ to fav to sеe new stuff on your website.

  26. Hey, you used to write excellent, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your great writings. Past several posts are just a little out of track! come on!

  27. I am no longer positive the place you’re getting your info, however good topic. I must spend some time studying much more or working out more. Thank you for excellent information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

  28. Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  29. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Cheers

  30. Hello I’m really delighted I discovered your blog page, I actually found you by accident, while I was researching on Yahoo for Arvind Pandit Kansas. Anyhow I’m here now and would simply enjoy to say cheers for a tremendous blog post and the all around fun website (I furthermore enjoy the theme/design), I don’t have the time to browse it all at the minute however I have saved it and also added in your RSS feed, so whenever I have plenty of time I will be returning to look over much more. Make sure you do continue the excellent work.

  31. You are entirely correct! I really enjoyed reading through this article and I will certainly return for more as soon as possible. Our site is on the subject of getapk apk, you might check it out if you are still interested in that.

  32. I want to show my love for your kindness for men and women that must have guidance on the topic. Your real dedication to getting the message all-around turned out to be definitely informative and have specifically made guys and women like me to get to their desired goals. Your new useful advice means so much to me and extremely more to my fellow workers. Best wishes; from each one of us.

  33. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  34. It was amazing to read this and I think you’re completely right. Inform me if you’re involved in vshare download android, that’s my primary competence. I am hoping to see you in the near future, be careful!

  35. Thank you for discussing the idea, I saved this website. I’m additionally trying to find info on real estate rentals, do you know the place where I could find one thing like this? I’ll come back in the future!

  36. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for excellent information I was looking for this info for my mission.

  37. Registration deposit big SPINS . You will be able to discover instant free Spins with No accumulation required straight from signing up. The bonus terms of each evaluation will specify how to affirmation yours. Enjoy all the latest casino free Spins No deposit deals here

  38. You are totally correct. I really enjoyed reviewing this and I will get back for more straight away. Our site is about active instagram followers, you might take a look if you happen to be interested in that.

  39. Our LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) HGV training is based in East London, and our LGV/ HGV courses are taught by qualified DVSA LGV & HGV trainers. LGV was formerly known as HGV, where it used to be referred to as HGV Class 2 (now called LGV Category C) and HGV class 1 (Now called LGV Category C+E).

  40. You are absolutely correct! I liked reading through this and I will return for more straight away. Our internet site is on the subject of personal injury solicitors, you could look if you’re interested in that.

  41. Thanks for taking the time to talk about this, I feel fervently about this and I take pleasure in learning about this topic. Please, as you gain information, please update this blog with more information. I have found it very useful. There have to be charging stations everywhere.

  42. Hello could you let me know which blogging platform you’re working with? I’m planning to do my personal blog on pokemon go game app soon though I’m having trouble making the decision.

  43. I wanted to write you a little remark to thank you so much again about the beautiful guidelines you’ve shown on this page. It was certainly particularly generous with people like you to supply freely just what a number of us could possibly have supplied for an electronic book in order to make some cash for their own end, especially seeing that you could possibly have tried it in case you considered necessary. Those solutions as well worked to become great way to be certain that other people have the identical passion similar to my own to understand somewhat more with reference to this condition. I believe there are millions of more pleasurable moments in the future for folks who look into your site.

  44. I am truly enjoying the theme of your blog. Do you ever face any kind of web browser compatibility issues? A few of my own site readers have complained regarding my ether for sale website not working correctly in Internet Explorer yet looks amazing in Chrome. Are there any kind of ideas to assist correct this matter?

  45. Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, awesome site!

  46. Hello there! This is my first comment here so I really wanted to say a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading through your articles. Can you suggest other websites which cover canon printer? I am as well very curious about that! Thank you so much!

  47. My family and I unquestionably love your site and find nearly all of your discussions to be just what I’m looking for. Would you offer people to write material for you? I wouldn’t mind creating a post on international freight companies or possibly on many of the topics you’re posting about on this website. Nice website!

  48. You’re entirely right! I really liked reading this article and I will certainly get back for more as quickly as possible. My internet site is dealing with shipping terms, you might have a look if you’re still interested in this.

  49. Whats up very cool website!! Guy .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds also…I’m satisfied to seek out so many helpful info here within the submit, we’d like work out extra strategies on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

Leave a Reply