Tuesday, September 24, 2019

in this state of prayer

So let's get on with it, my friends!
Let's do the work quickly and spin the silken cocoon,
relinquishing our self-centeredness and personal willfulness
and giving up our attachment to worldly things.
Let's practice humility, prayer, purification, surrender, 
and all the other good works we're familiar with.  
We have learned exactly what to do. Let's do it!
Let it die. Let the silkworm die. This is the natural outcome 
once it has done what it was created to do. 
Then we will see God and see ourselves nestled inside his greatness 
like the silkworm in her cocoon.
Remember that when I say we "see God," I mean in the sense
in which he allows himself to be seen in this kind of union.

Everything I've been saying leads up to what becomes of the silkworm.
The soul in this state of prayer dies to the world and emerges a little white butterfly.
Oh, the greatness of God!
How magnificent that the soul, having been hidden in the greatness of God
and so closely joined with him, is so transformed.
This union, I believe, is very short. 
I don't think it ever lasts longer than a half an hour.
I'm telling you: the soul doesn't recognize herself anymore.
Think of the difference between an unsightly worm and a white butterfly.
That's how different the soul is after her transformation of union.

The soul cannot imagine how she could deserve such a blessing.
She finds herself overflowing with a desire to praise the Lord.
She longs for annihilation.  She would gladly die a thousand
deaths for him.
She is completely willing to suffer any trials presented to her.
Her desire for renunciation and solitude grows deeper.
All she wishes is that every sentient being could know God.
It torments her to see her Beloved dishonored in any way. 

~ Saint Teresa of Avila
from The Interior Castle
translation by Mirabai Starr