Thursday, August 25, 2016

Transverberation of St. Teresa's Heart-OCD Memorial

Carmelite Feast Day-August 26: 
Saint Teresa of Jesus-Transverberation

From the Carmelite Proper:
Chief among Teresa's virtues was the love of God, which our Lord Jesus Christ increased by means of many visions and revelations. He made her his spouse on one occasion. At other times she saw an angel with a flaming dart piercing her heart. Through these heavenly gifts the flame of divine love in her heart became so strong that, inspired by God, she made the extremely difficult vow of always doing what seemed to her most perfect and most conducive to God's glory
(Gregory XV in the Bull of Canonization)

Our Holy Mother, St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) was gifted with many mystical graces, among them was the transverberation of her heart. Other saints have experienced this gift. In fact, St. John of the Cross describes this singular grace (be prepared if it happens to you!):

"It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the Love of God, it will feel that a seraph is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraph pierces and in an instant cauterizes this soul, which, like a red-hot coal, or better a flame, is already enkindled. The soul is converted into an immense fire of Love. Few persons have reached these heights."

Even St. Therese of the Child Jesus describes a similar experience after she made the Act of Oblation to the Merciful Love of God on June 9, 1895:

"I felt myself suddenly wounded by a dart of fire so ardent that I thought I should die. I know not how to describe that transport: there is no comparison which would make the vehemence of that flame understood. It seemed as though an invisible force plunged me wholly into fire. Oh that fire! What sweetness!One minute, one second more, and my soul must have been set free..."

These mystical experiences for the saint produced by angelic flame and fire seem to be a mixture of sweetness and pain. 

Our Lady's heart was pierced as well. I think of the prophecy of Simeon to Our Lady:

"Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: "This child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed--and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword--so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare."
(Luke 2:34-35)

Our Lady's heart was pierced by a spiritual sword of sorrow, bitter pain, and anguish. Although at the time of the Annunciation she did not know all the sorrows that would befall her, she said Yes to all that God desired of her.

St. John of the Cross teaches us that to reach the heights we must take up our cross and suffer with Jesus, to be in union with him and his suffering. The saints did not get to be saints by an easy route. They endured untold sufferings and pains, but our Lord helped them to endure the suffering by these graces. As Jesus was consoled in the desert by an angel, it seems he sends his angel to saints such as St. Teresa and St. Therese to strengthen them.


We don't know why some souls receive greater graces than others.  St. Therese pondered this same question. She was led to the scripture passage, " I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." 
(Romans 9:15). After this discovery, she begins her great reflection about souls being compared to flowers, that not all are the magnificent rose; some must be content to be daisies.


St. Teresa's heart was aflame for the Living God. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit inflame our heart with this same love for God and neighbor.

Come Holy Spirit
Fill the hearts of your faithful
And kindle in them the fire of your love
Send forth your Spirit
And we shall be created
And you shall renew the face of the earth.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds 


1 comment:

Erin said...


I cannot tell you the comfort this post gave me! Although a little scary, it felt familiar and somehow gave my sufferings more purpose. Thank you for enlightening me with this knowledge and realizing more how unworthy I am of His love!