Quote of the day, 11 September: St. Teresa of Avila

Let us come now to speak of the third water by which this garden is irrigated, that is, the water flowing from a river or spring.

By this means the garden is irrigated with much less labor, although some labor is required to direct the flow of the water. The Lord so desires to help the gardener here that He Himself becomes practically the gardener and the one who does everything.

This prayer is a sleep of the faculties: the faculties neither fail entirely to function nor understand how they function. The consolation, the sweetness, and the delight are incomparably greater than that experienced in the previous prayer.

The water of grace rises up to the throat of this soul since such a soul can no longer move forward; nor does it know how; nor can it move backward. It would desire to enjoy the greatest glory.

It is like a person who is already holding the candle and for whom little is left before dying the death that is desired: such a one rejoices in that agony with the greatest delight describable.

This experience doesn’t seem to me to be anything else than an almost complete death to all earthly things and an enjoyment of God. The faculties have only the ability to be occupied completely with God.

It doesn’t seem that any one of them dares to move nor can we make them stir unless we strain to distract ourselves; but even then I don’t think we could do so entirely.

One utters many words here in praise of God without thinking them up, unless it is the Lord who thinks them up; at least the intellect is worth nothing here. The soul would desire to cry out praises, and it is beside itself—a delightful disquiet.

Now the flowers are blossoming; they are beginning to spread their fragrance. The soul would desire here that everyone could see and understand its glory so as to praise God and that they would all help it to praise Him and share in its joy since it cannot bear so much joy.

I think it is like what is said in the Gospels about the woman that wanted to call or did call in her neighbors [Cf. Lk 15:9].

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Book of Her Life, Chap. 16, nos. 1, 3

The Lost Piece of Silver
Sir John Everett Millais, (British, 1829–1896)
(The Parables of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ)
Wood engraving; proof on India paper, 1864
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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.

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