Transverberation of Teresa of Jesús

August 26, 2015
August 26, 2016
August 26, 2017
August 26, 2018
August 26, 2019
OCD commemoration: 
Doctor of the Church

Note: For Carmelite nuns, this is a Memorial feast date and for all others an Optional Memorial.

'The 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 prefect and most conducive to God's glory' (Gregory XV in the Bull of Canonisation).

A reading from "The Living Flame of Love" by St. John of the Cross


"As Moses declares in Deuteronomy, 'Our Lord is a consuming fire,' that is, a fire of love, which being of infinite power, can inestimably consume and transform into itself the soul it touches. Yet He burns each soul according to its preparation: He will burn one more, another less, and this He does in so far as He desires, and how and when He desires. When He wills to touch somewhat vehemently, the soul's burning reaches such a high degree of love that it seems to surpass that of all the fires of the world: for He is an infinite fire of love. Because the soul in this case is entirely transformed by the Divine Flame, it not only feels a cautery, but has become a cautery of blazing fire.

It is a wonderful thing and worth relating that, since this fire of God is so mighty it would consume a thousand worlds more easily than the fire of this earth would burn up a straw, it does not consume and destroy the soul to which it so burns. And it does not afflict it: rather, commensurate with the strength of the love, it divinizes and delights it, burning gently.

Since God's purpose in granting these communications is to exalt the soul, He does not weary and restrict it, but enlarges and delights it, brightens and enriches it.

The happy soul that by great fortune reaches this cautery knows all things, tastes all things, does all it wishes, and prospers; no one prevails before it and nothing touches it. This is the soul of which the Apostle speaks: 'The spiritual man judges all things and he is judged by no one.' And again: 'The spirit searches out all things, unto the deep things of God.'

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. Some have, however; especially those whose virtue and spirit were to be diffused among their children. For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have in their doctrine and spirituality.

O happy wound, wrought by one who knows only how to heal! O fortunate and choicest wound; you were made only for delight, and the quality of your affliction is delight and gratification for the wounded soul! You are great, O delightful wound, because He who caused you is great!

And your delight is great, because the fire of love is infinite. O, then, delightful wound, so much more sublimely delightful the more the cautery touched the intimate centre of the substance of the soul, burning all that was burnable in order to give delight to all that could be delighted!"

Carmelite Prayer: 
Almighty God, you filled the heart of Saint Teresa of Jesus, our Mother, with the fire of your love and gave her strength to undertake difficult tasks for the honour of your name. Through her prayers may the power of your love fill our hearts also and stir us to ever more generous efforts in your service. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.