Monday, February 4, 2013

Spiritual Direction with St. Teresa of Jesus

Feast Day: February 11

Photo: R. Massaro (C) SpiritSinging 2013
St. Teresa of Avila, Cadiz, Ohio

Continuing our series describing the prayer life of the soul according to St. Teresa's, today, we turn to her teaching on rapture and suspension.

"Rapture and suspension, in my opinion, are both the same. But I am used to saying suspension in order to avoid saying rapture, a word that frightens.  And indeed the union just described ( we covered this in the previous post) can also be called suspension.  The difference between rapture and union is this: the rapture lasts longer and is felt more exteriorly, for your breathing diminishes in such a way that you are unable to speak or open your eyes. Although this diminishing of these bodily powers occurs in union, it takes place in this prayer with greater force, because the natural heat leaves the body, going I don't know where. When the rapture is intense (for in all these kinds of prayer there is more and a less), when it is greater, as I say, the hands are frozen and sometimes stretched out like sticks, and the body remains as it is, either standing or kneeling. And the soul is so occupied with rejoicing in what the Lord represents t it that it seemingly forgets to animate the body and leaves the body abandoned; and if the suspension lasts, the nerves are left aching.
Spiritual Testimonies, 59, No. 7

Here is a video of the late Fr. Thomas Dubay, the great teacher on Carmelite spirituality.  I had the privilege of meeting and talking with him one-on-one in the early eighties.  A moment I will never forget!  What a beautiful soul!  I'll be sharing more of his teaching as we continue this series on prayer.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

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