Saint Teresa of Avila - Rapture 5
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself
May the Lord teach me words with which to convey some idea of the fourth water. I shall indeed need His help more now than ever before. In this state, the soul still feels that it is not altogether dead, as we may say, though it is entirely dead to the world. But, as I have said, it retains the sense to know that it is still here and to feel its solitude; and it makes use of outward manifestations to show its feelings, at least by signs. Throughout, in every stage of the prayer that I have described, the gardener performs some labour, though in these later stages the labour is accompanied by so much bliss and comfort to the soul that the soul would never willingly abandon it. So the labour is not felt as such, but as bliss.
Here there is no sense of anything but enjoyment, without any knowledge of what is being enjoyed. The soul realizes that it is enjoying some good thing that contains all good things together, but it cannot comprehend this good thing. All the senses are taken up with this joy so that none of them is free to act in any way, either outwardly or inwardly.
Previously, as I have said, the senses were permitted to give some indication of the great joy they feel. Bur now the soul enjoys incomparably more, and yet has still less power to show it. For there is no power left in the body - and the soul possesses none - by which this joy can be communicated. At such a time anything of the sort would be a great embarrassment, a torment and a disturbance of its repose. If there is really a union of all the faculties, I say, then the soul cannot make it known, even if it wants to - while actually in union I mean. If it can, then it is not in union.