Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Transverberation of the heart of St Teresa of Jesus of Avila

"Moses declares in Deuteronomy, Our Lord God is a consuming fire, that is, a fire of love, which being of infinite power, can inestimably consume and transform into itself the soul it touches. Yet he burns each soul according to its preparation: he will burn one more, another less, and this he does insofar as he desires, and how and when he desires. When he wills to touch somewhat vehemently, the soul’s burning reaches such a high degree of love that it seems to surpass that of all the fires of the world, for he is an infinite fire of love. Because the soul in this case is entirely transformed by the divine flame, it not only feels a cautery, but has become a cautery of blazing fire.

It is a wonderful thing and worth relating that, since this fire of God is so mighty it would consume a thousand worlds more easily than the fire of this earth would burn up a straw, it does not consume and destroy the soul in which it so burns. And it does not afflict it, rather, commensurate with the strength of the love, it divinizes and delights it, burning gently. Since God’s purpose in granting these communications is to exalt the soul, he does not weary and restrict it, but enlarges and delights it, brightens and enriches it. The happy soul that by great fortune reaches this cautery knows all things, tastes all things, does all it wishes, and prospers; no one prevails before it and nothing touches it. This is the soul of which the Apostle speaks: The spiritual one judges all things and he is judged by no one. And again: The spirit searches out all things, unto the deep things of God.

It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the love of God, it will feel that a seraphim is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraphim pierces and cauterizes this soul which, like a red-hot coal, or better, a flame, is already enkindled. For the soul is converted into the immense fire of love.

Few persons have reached these heights. Some have, however, especially those whose virtue and spirit was to be diffused among their children. For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have in their doctrine and spirituality.

O happy wound, wrought by one who knows only how to heal! O fortunate and choicest wound; you were made only for delight, and the quality of your affliction is delight and gratification for the wounded soul! You are great, O delightful wound, because he who caused you is great! And your delight is great, because the fire of love is infinite and makes you delightful according to your capacity and greatness. O, then, delightful wound, so much more sublimely delightful the more the cautery touched the intimate center of the substance of the soul, burning all that was burnable in order to give delight to all that could be delighted!"

-- Living Flame of Love by St John of the Cross

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