A dry sponge does not have any water, but put it in a bucket of water, and the water will enter the sponge. Water will seep into the large holes and will then fill the tiny spaces until it has penetrated throughout the sponge completely saturating it. In addition, the sponge will also expand a little in its size.
The soul is like this sponge. God is represented by the water. Most souls are dry like a sponge, but after spending time with God, drinking in His Presence, His Divinity will gradually fill up the soul until it is saturated and will even expand it a little.
The soul has a capacity for being filled with God. However, this depends on the soul’s capacity to absorb the Trinity. Meditation initiates this union. The more the soul spends time meditating on God allowing itself to be transformed, the more intimate and tender will the daily conversation become even in the midst of daily duties and activities. Drinking daily of His fullness allowing itself to be permeated by Him, like this sponge by water, the soul will be filled with God.
The Lord told St. Teresa to “Labour thou not to hold Me within thyself enclosed, but enclose thou thyself within Me”. This can only be accomplished by meditation and growth in self-knowledge. And this is why daily intimate conversation with God is so necessary to the Carmelite.
Through her communion with God, St. Teresa also felt a communion with all creation. “It seemed to me that I saw the Three Persons within my soul, and communicating Themselves to all creatures abundantly without ceasing to be with me.” Through our communion with God, we also know His presence within the bonds of friendship, which is why the community is important. We are called to live a trinitarian life in the Church, with Christ, under the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.
“I, being accustomed to the presence of Jesus Christ only, always thought that the vision of the Three Persons was in some degree a hindrance, though I know the Three Persons are but One God. Today, while thinking of this, our Lord said to me ‘that I was wrong in imagining that those things which are peculiar to the soul can be represented by those of the body; I was to understand that they were very different, and that the soul had a capacity for great fruition.’ It seemed to me as if this were shown to me thus: as water penetrates and is drunk in by the sponge, so, it seemed to me, did the Divinity fill my soul, which in a certain sense had the fruition and possession of the Three Persons. And I heard Him say also: ‘Labour thou not to hold Me within thyself enclosed, but enclose thou thyself within Me.’ It seemed to me that I saw the Three Persons within my soul, and communicating Themselves to all creatures abundantly without ceasing to be with me.” (St. Teresa of Avila, Spiritual Testimonies no. 14)