At that time Father Francis [St. Francis Borgia] came to this place. He had been the Duke of Gandía, and some years before had given up all and entered the Society of Jesus. My confessor, [Diego de Cetina, S.J.] and the gentleman I also mentioned who came to me [Francisco de Salcedo], arranged that I might speak with him and give him an account of my prayer because I knew that he was advancing in the favors and gifts of God. Since he was one who had abandoned many things for Him, God repaid him even in this life.
Well, after he had heard me, he told me that my experience was from the Spirit of God and that it seemed to him it would no longer be good to resist, but that up to this time it had been all right, and that I should always begin prayer with an event from the Passion, but that if afterward the Lord should carry away the spirit I ought not resist Him but let His Majesty bear it away—and not strive to do so myself. As one who was well advanced he gave the medicine and the counsel, for experience in this matter is very important. He said it would be a mistake to resist any longer.
I was left greatly consoled. The gentleman too was very glad that Father Francis said it was from God, and this gentleman helped me and gave me advice in matters where he could, which were many.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life, 24.3
About our featured image: The Conversion of the Duke of Gandía by José Moreno Carbonero (Spanish, 1860–1942) depicts the pivotal event in the life of St. Francis Borgia, who was the fourth Duke of Gandía. The painting’s gallery label in the Prado Museum provides many details about the work and its technique, but the principal players in this dramatic scene are Francis and the body in the casket. When the saintly duke sees the body of Empress Isabella of Portugal, the wife of Charles V, he almost collapses in front of one of his knights. The story goes that when St. Francis Borgia saw how the beautiful Isabella’s body had decayed, he swore never to serve a mortal master ever again.
Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
Leave a Reply