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Transverberation is a mystical grace whereby Saint Teresa of Avila's heart was pierced with a lance of love by an angel.Know Thyself: Saint Teresa of Avila's essential wisdom for a holy life and true union with God. Saint Teresa says that the first step in a life of holiness and union with God is self-knowledge. But what does that even mean? Reflecting on Our Lady's Magnificat, Mary says:


"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness. Behold, from henceforth, all ages shall call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name." (Gospel of Luke, chapter 1)

Seems a little boastful, "all ages shall call me blessed." But is it really? No. In this great song of Mary, we have a perfect example of precisely what Saint Teresa of Avila meant when she said, "self-knowledge."

Mary knows who God is. In all humility, she then acknowledged what God did for her. Looking at her in her lowliness, He thus raised her to a state where all generations would rightly call her blessed! She truly is the Mother of God! Isn’t that beautiful?

Pure Humility

The Magnificat is a lament of humility. Our Blessed Lady is pure humility. She knew herself. If we are to truly know ourselves, it takes humility. As Saint Teresa said, "True humility is being satisfied with what God has given us."

We must look upon and really examine ourselves. The gifts, talents, and even the beauty given to us, are strictly that – gifts from God. He gives to whom He wills, as He wills. Our shortcomings and failures are our own. When we separate ourselves from God, the giver of all gifts and graces, we become dependent upon ourselves and the things of this world. We busy ourselves with passing nonsense, idle chatter, and shallow, fruitless endeavors.

Some of those fruitless endeavors can even be seemingly good. But disconnected from God, they are fruitless. A soul seeking to be fully human and fully alive with peace and joy is a soul of prayer and reflection. A soul that looks carefully at where they are and how far they’ve advanced, fallen back, and advanced some more, through God’s grace and mercy.

They also look at themselves in the light of belonging to God, and how truly loved and forgiven they are. My spiritual director often says, "Know thyself, Bridget. Know thyself." I offer the same direction to you: Know Thyself.

Please Know This...

Please know that simply because there are those who are smarter, more talented, and even more beautiful than you, it does not mean that you are not smart, talented, or even beautiful. Know that if every song were a sonnet, our ears would grow weary of hearing them.

Know that if spring were every season, the autumn colors would fail to be enchanting. Know that just because you've fallen, it does not mean you can't be made of something beautiful. Know that in growing in knowledge of self, we understand our utter dependence on God for everything more deeply, and most especially, sanctity.

May our Lady of Mount Carmel (Teresa was a Carmelite) always go before us, praying that we better know ourselves. Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us!


Article Copyright © ChurchPOP. All Rights Reserved. Original article here.

Author Copyright © Bridget Costello. All Rights Reserved.

Public Domain Image: Josefa de Óbidos, La transverbération de Sainte Thérèse (1672)

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