Monday, August 27, 2007

Commemoration of the Transverberation of St Teresa of Avila heart

St Teresa - ora pro nobis.

Today, Discalced Carmelites commemorate transverberation (piercing) of the heart of St. Teresa of Avila. In 1559, at the age of 44, the saint experienced one of the most sublime of her many mystical ecstasies. In a vision, she saw an angel, and in his hand he held a golden spear tipped with fire. He penetrated her heart and caused a very sharp pain that was at the same time exquisitely beautiful. Signs that the piercing were real are visible in her heart, which is incorrupt and kept in the glass reliquary (photo on the left) located in the Carmelite convent in Alba de Tormes, where St Teresa died in 1582 on her way back to Avila.
We can read description of this mystical experience in Chapter 29 of her "Autobiography": “It pleased the Lord that I should sometimes…see beside me…an angel in bodily form…. He was not tall, but short, and very beautiful, his face so aflame that he appeared to be one of the highest types of angel who seemed all afire…. In his hands I saw a long golden spear and at the end of its iron tip I seemed to see a point of fire. With this he seemed to pierce my heart several times…[leaving] me completely afire with a great love of God.”

(picture after American Catholic