Thursday, 3 January 2013

St. Teresa of Avila - The Way of Suffering and Love

St. Teresa of Avila

 The following excerpt is taken from the Spiritual Testimonies of St. Teresa of Avila, a passage on The Way of Suffering and Love.

1. On another day the Lord told me this: "Do you think, daughter, that merit lies in enjoyment? No, rather it lies in working and suffering and loving. Haven't you heard that St. Paul rejoiced in heavenly joys only once and that he suffered often? Look at My whole life filled with suffering, and only in the incident of Mount Tabor do you hear about my joy. When you see My Mother holding Me in her arms, don't think she enjoyed those consolations without heavy torment. From the time Simeon spoke those words to her, My Father gave her clear light to see what I was to suffer. The great saints who lived in deserts, since they were guided by God, performed severe penances; and besides this,they waged great battle with the devil and with themselves. They spent long periods without any spiritual consolation. Believe, daughter, that My Father gives greater trials to anyone whom He loves more; and love responds to these. How can I show you greater love than by desiring for you what I have desired for Myself? Behold these wounds, for your sufferings have never reached this point. Suffering is the way of truth. By this means you will help me weep over the loss of those who follow the way of the world, and you will understand that all your desires, cares, and thoughts must be employed in how to do the opposite."

2. When I had begun prayer I had such a bad headache I thought it would be almost impossible to pray. The Lord said to me: "In this way you will see the reward that comes from suffering, for since you did not have the health to speak with Me, I have spoken with you and favored you." And so it is certain that I must have been recollected about an hour and a half. During that time He spoke the above words to me and all the rest. I was not distracted, but neither did I know where I was; and I was so happy I don't now how to describe it. My headache went away - which surprised me - and I was left with a great desire for suffering. 

It is true, at least I haven't heard otherwise, that our Lord didn't have any joy in lie other than this once, nor did St. Paul. The Lord also told me I should keep very much in mind the words He spoke to His apostles, that the servant must not be greater than the lord.

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