Saint Teresa of Avila - Rapture 3
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself
The effects of rapture are great. One is that the mighty power of the Lord is made manifest. We see that against His Majesty’s will we can do nothing to control either the soul or the body. We are not the masters; whether we like it or not, we see that there is One mightier than we, that these favours are given by Him, and that, of ourselves we can do absolutely nothing.
This imprints a deep humility upon us. I confess that in me it aroused a great fear, at first a very great fear. One sees one's body being lifted from the ground; and though the spirit draws it up after itself, and does so most gently if it does not resist, one does not lose consciousness. At least I myself was sufficiently aware to realize that I was being lifted.
The majesty of One who can do this is so manifest that one's hair stands on end, and a great fear comes over one of offending so great a God. But this fear is stilled by very great love, newly enkindled, for One who has, as we see, so great a love for so vile a worm, that He does not seem satisfied with actually raising the soul to Himself, but will have the body also, mortal though it is, and though its clay is befouled by all the sins we have committed.
Rapture leaves behind a certain strange detachment also, the real nature of which I shall never be able to describe. All that I can say is that it is somewhat different from that caused by purely spiritual graces.
For although they produce a complete detachment of the spirit from all things, here the Lord seems to wish the body to be detached also. Thus a new estrangement from the world takes place, which makes life much more painful. It also leaves a distress behind, which we cannot bring about ourselves and which we can never remove, once it has come. I should very much like to explain this great distress, but I do not think I shall be able to………
We play no part, as I have said, in bringing a rapture on. Very often there comes an unexpected desire - I do not know what impels it - and with that desire, which permeates the whole soul in a moment, it begins to become so weary that it rises far above itself and above all creation.
God then so strips it of everything that, strive though it may, it can find no companion on earth.
Nor, indeed does it wish for one; it would rather die in its solitude. It may be spoken to and make every possible effort to reply, but all to no avail.
Whatever the spirit may do, it does not escape from its solitude; and although God seems at that moment very far from the soul, He sometimes reveals His grandeur to it in the strangest way imaginable. This way is indescribable; and I do not think that anyone could believe or understand it who has not already experienced it. It is a communication made - not to comfort the soul, but to show it the reason why it is weary - which is because it is absent from that Good that contains all good things within itself.