77. St Teresa of Avila. Part four
I will now describe the locutions, visions, and legacy of St Teresa. There are dozens and dozens of locutions and visions; I had to choose very few (maybe 10% of the visions)
Locutions. She describes how the locutions (talks) from God, differ from one’s own thoughts. Though the locutions from God are perfectly clear, they are not heard with bodily ears. She heard them very often. Since she had considerable experience, she could not be deceived by locutions from evil spirits or her own mind talking to her. Here are the differences:
1. Words are clear, not indistinct
2. the locution cannot be shut off. No resistance is possible. One is forced to hear it whether one likes it or not.
3. Aftereffects are pleasant.
4. All the predictions come true. Not one of them, so far, had been untrue. Some of the events were foretold two or three years in advance
5. “One is listening and not speaking. For while I am speaking, my understanding is composing what I am saying, whereas if I am spoken to, I am doing nothing but listen. In one case the words are indistinct and can be shut off (like one is in half sleep), while in the other case a distinct voice is talking”.
6. All of the locution is remembered. God makes sure that everything is understood and not forgotten. Words are deeply imprinted in memory and impossible to forget.
Visions. First, the Lord was pleased to reveal to her only His hands, the beauty of which was indescribable. This was her first vision of Jesus Christ with the eyes of her mind. She never had any vision of Jesus with worldly eyes
A few days later she saw the Divine face
The Lord later granted her the favor of seeing Him wholly, on many occasions.
He showed Himself to her in various forms: in His resurrection body, His wounds, as He was on the Cross, in the Garden, and sometimes He would be carrying the Cross. She was very desirous of seeing the color of His eyes, or His height, but could never do so, the image would disappear altogether.
Once He took the rosary from her hand, and on the cross of the rosary four large stones of incomparable beauty appeared. On the cross were also portrayed the five wounds. He told her that henceforth it would always look like that to her, and so it did. Nobody else could see them.
On more than one occasion, a devilish, most hideous figure, would appear while she was praying. As she narrated “I asked for holy water. Two nuns, who next came, noticed, a very bad smell, like brimstone. They won’t lie for anything” .It proves that it was not St Teresa’s imagination.
Once she had a vision of hell. This happened in the briefest space of time. She described what she saw in great detail (readers will have to read it themselves from her book). The agony of her soul, oppression, suffocation and an affliction so deeply felt, and accompanied by such hopeless and distressing misery, that she was unable to describe it fully. Later in life, all the tribulations and pains which life threw at her were light, compared to a single moment of such suffering which she had to undergo during that vision. She states “this vision was one of the most signal favors which the Lord has bestowed upon me”
A Rector was being sorely persecuted and was in great distress. One day at the elevation of the Host she saw Christ on the Cross. He spoke certain words to her, which He told her to repeat to Rector for his comfort. He also told her of future events which were going to come. She told all that to the Rector. It gave Rector great comfort, and gave him great courage to face the persecutions, that, as Jesus told, were yet to come. Everything happened as He had told her.
Now we come to the sublimest vision. Which she saw four times.
“my spirit became so completely transported, that it seemed to have completely departed the body……………..
I saw the most sacred Humanity in far greater glory than I had ever seen before. I saw a most clear and wonderful representation of it in the bosom of the Father………………………………………………….
I seemed to see myself in the presence of the Godhead”
Once when she was in prayer, she saw, for a very brief time …with perfect clarity, how all things are seen in God
“ let us say that the Godhead is like a very clear diamond, much larger than the whole world, or a mirror…………………………………………………………………….Let us suppose, furthermore, that all we do is seen in this diamond, which is of such a kind that it contains everything within itself………………………” It was a terrifying experience.
To be continued