Monday, October 15, 2007

Feast of Saint Teresa of Avila

What I call consolations from God, and elsewhere have termed the Prayer of Quiet, is something of a very different kind, as those of you will know who by the mercy of God have experienced it. To understand it better, let us suppose that we are looking at two fountains, the basins of which can be filled with water...

These two large basins can be filled with water in different ways: the water in the one comes from a long distance, by means of numerous conduits and through human skill; but the other has been constructed at the very source of the water and fills without making any noise. If the flow of water is abundant, as in the case we are speaking of, a great stream still runs from it after it has been filled; no skill is necessary here, and no conduits have to be made, for the water is flowing all the time. The difference between this and the carrying of the water by means of conduits is, I think, as follows. The latter corresponds to the spiritual sweetness which, as I say, is produced by meditation. It reaches us by way of the thoughts; we meditate upon created things and fatigue the understanding; and when at last, by means of our own efforts, it comes, the satisfaction which it brings to the soul fills the basin, but in doing so makes a noise, as I have said.

To the other fountain the water comes direct from its source, which is God, and, when it is His Majesty's will and He is pleased to grant us some supernatural favour, its coming is accompanied by the greatest peace and quietness and sweetness within ourselves — I cannot say where it arises or how. And that content and delight are not felt, as earthly delights are felt, in the heart — I mean not at the outset, for later the basin becomes completely filled, and then this water begins to overflow all the Mansions and faculties, until it reaches the body. It is for that reason that I said it has its source in God and ends in ourselves — for it is certain, and anyone will know this who has experienced it, that the whole of the outer man enjoys this consolation and sweetness.
— from the Interior Castle, by Saint Teresa of Avila.

1 comment:

  1. I was thrilled to see you post this with the link to her Interior Castle writing. I hope people follow the link and read the whole thing. She was a marvelous lady and reading her work, one can appreciate how she listened to the true instruction of the Holy Spirit. I've also always loved how she references others she spoke to who have great spiritual insight and shares their insights with her readers. She was modest and brilliant, how rare is that.

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