In her Spiritual Testimonies #32, St. Teresa writes that, “suffering is the way to truth”. The Lord spoke to St. Teresa about suffering and reminded her that suffering is given to those whom the Lord loves. He asked her to recall the way St Paul had rejoiced in what he had suffered. The Lord goes on to tell her:
“When you see My Mother holding Me in her arms, don’t think she enjoyed those consolations without heavy torment. From the time Simeon spoke those words to her, My Father gave her clear light to see what I was to suffer. . . .Believe daughter, that, My Father gives greater trials to anyone whom He loves more; and love responds to these.”
“How can I show you greater love than by desiring for you what I have desired for Myself? Behold these wounds, for your sufferings have never reached this point.”
“By this means you will help me weep over the loss of those who follow the way of the world, and you will understand that all your desires, cares, and thoughts must be employed in how to do the opposite.”
Trials are more for those who love him more, because those who love him more strive to overcome the world and all their desires that might lead them away from Him.
St Teresa strove to serve the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose habit she wore. She also strongly desired that the Blessed Mother would be served by all the monasteries that she had founded. St. Teresa approached the Feast of the Nativity of Mary with great joy because whenever this day came she would renew her vows. One day on September 8, 1575, the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Teresa and the saint writes, “it seems to me I renewed them in her hands and that they were pleasing to her.” (Spiritual Testimonies, 43)
One evening while St. Teresa was the prioress at the monastery of the Incarnation she had a vision of Mary. In this vision, she saw Mary sit in the prioress’ chair where St. Teresa had previously placed a statue of the Virgin Mother. There were angels all around and this intellectual vision lasted during the whole length of the Salve Regina.
The Salve is the traditional Marian hymn sung at the end of the day to conclude Night Prayer. One can probably assume that this vision took place while the nuns were in the choir reciting the Liturgy of the Hours.
Our Lady told St. Teresa that it was good that she had placed her in the prioress’ chair for our Lady told her that:
“ I shall be present in the praises they give my Son, and I shall offer these praises to Him.”
(Spiritual Testimonies #21
As a Secular Carmelite I would like to think that Our Lady is also present whenever I praise her Son, and that she “offers these praises to Him”. What a pleasant thought to have in mind when praying the Liturgy of the Hours!
. . . O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us!