Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Teresa's account of her mystical marriage to Fr. Edward Powell

From the biography of Lady Anne Cecil Kerr.

The wonderful ceremony of her Mystical Marriage took place during the night of the 23rd of October, 1887, between the feast of the Holy Redeemer and that of St. Raphael. She wrote at once to Father Snow and a few days later sent a somewhat fuller account in reply to a request from Father Powell. Her eyes had beheld that which it is not given to man to utter and she speaks as one still dazed from the glory of that vision. Her very writing, wavering and almost illegible, betrays that she was trembling on the verge of ecstasy as she wrote. The following is what she wrote to Father Powell:

  Mystical marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria

AMDG et in hon BVM et St J
“In the Name of the most august and blessed Trinity and in holy obedience I write of the unspeakable favours which Jesus Christ true God and true Man, my divine Spouse and only Treasure through the excess of His infinite Love has bestowed on me, the very least of His little ones. Oh my Father, how can I find words to express this wonderful mystery, this excess of His mercy and love which is more astounding to me than the great mystery of the Incarnation. Oh my Love, my Love, my beautiful One, My Jesus, my Own, my All, my God, my (the writing becomes illegible).

“Oh my Father it seems to me almost impossible to continue, or rather I should say I am unable to begin and describe what I would. This is the third paper I have spoiled; I am carried away at the recollection of His wonderful condescension. I have twice before written the four pages and when I read them over I found it full of little prayers, and now again I find myself like one only half awake, for my whole being seems lost in His infinite immensity, His wonderful Attributes, the unspeakable dignity to which He has raised this little nothing. And so prostrating myself before the thrice holy Trinity and before Jesus, my own Jesus, my spouse and my Treasure, I beg of Him to guide my hand and my understanding that I may write without these little wanderings and make clear to you all that you would wish to know, to the praise and glory of His Holy Name. Oh my soul bless the Lord and magnify, for He has regarded the nothingness of His handmaid and has had compassion on my weakness and misery. He has drawn up this little drop of water from the earth into the ocean of His infinity, into the Essence of the Unity and Trinity of the Almighty God of Wisdom and Love, the all-pure and uncreated One, and made me one with Himself in the most holy and solemn bond of marriage. He has really and truly united Himself to me in the presence of the whole court of heaven, presenting me as His beloved Spouse to the Eternal Father and the Holy Spirit, and His Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, the Cherubim and Seraphim, etc. etc. and making me feel and understand how this sacred alliance was as real and as true as the union of His divine and human Nature in the one Person of Himself, Jesus Christ the Coeternal Son and the Son of Mary since the moment of the Incarnation. And in His Name and with His help, I will tell the way as far as I can that all has been accomplished.

“Remember oh my Love and my Lord that I am all Thine and Thou art the God of Truth, the Word that is God, and that now I am one with Thee as the body and soul of man are one person, so my words must be a reflection of Thine, must be, as Thou hast said to me they shall be, Wisdom and Truth, as the honey that drips from the hive, pure and sweet, and all men may confess that these things are the works of Thy Wisdom and Love.

“Since the feast of our holy Father St. Francis, when my divine Spouse gave me the general absolution (as I complained to Him that I had not been able to receive it from the hands of a priest and we had no Franciscans here), He caressed my soul as it were and told me that He would give me the absolution, not to take away sins from which He had preserved me, but to saturate me with His most Precious Blood and make me more like Himself. And He let me feel that my soul (through His presence and the holy Sacraments) gave great glory to the adorable Trinity and was a reflection of Themselves in the powers in which He had and they had taken up their abode and which was glistening and saturated with His adorable precious Blood. He told me frequently that, as I had given myself wholly to Him to be His entirely, so He would be all mine, and that He would glorify me in the sight of the angels and saints, because I had emptied myself and become as naught to myself and had gladly clothed myself with the sins of others for the price they had cost Him and for the love of His image and likeness. And because I desired Him with a longing nigh unto death, He would unite Himself to me in the closest union possible and clothe me with the brightness of His glory, and because I had rejoiced and united myself to Him when I was reviled by men and had clothed myself in the fool’s garment (as it were), as He was during His bitter Passion, so He was about to clothe me with the wedding garment of Purity, Charity and Truth.


He also shot those fiery darts of love from His Sacred Heart into the very centre of my poor soul so frequently that I felt as though my breast was a liquid fire: a boiling seemed to be going on in and through my entire being, and the pain it caused was so excessive that I continually cried aloud to Him for pity and told Him again and again that He knew how I loved and desired Him and begged of Him to burn away all that was not Himself and so unite me and make me all His own, though never for one moment dreaming of the unutterable favour which His love has accomplished. In this fire which burns very clearly for there is no smoke or wet fuel – in this consuming flame all is brightness, and the light thereof is very pure so that the soul sees very clearly what God is and what He has done for her and that she has nothing of her own, all being the gift of her great and wise Creator and Redeemer, and she knows and understands how the Holy Spirit has sanctified her, and seeing what she is and what God is, she is as it were annihilated in His sacred presence. Oh how He has taught me what I am and what I owe Him and His excessive love!

 St. Raphael with Tobias

“Well, on Sunday the 23rd, the feast of our Holy Redeemer, I thought of the holy Sacrifice being offered for me, I tried to make the same act of oblation to God of myself as my divine Spouse made to His Eternal Father during His most bitter Passion, and I felt that He graciously accepted the offering I made. Then in the evening I begged of the angel Raphael to guide me to my divine Spouse as he did of old the young Tobias, and I sent the angel of the Incarnation to present my soul to Him with all its affections, my body with all its senses to be all His forever, and I begged him to present me through the hands of Mary His Queen and my Mother as a clean oblation in His sight. Then I repeated several times: ‘Oh Wisdom of the Sacred Head, guide me in all my ways, oh love of the Sacred Heart consume me with Thy fire’, when I found my soul fluttering on my lips almost and my spirit softly stealing through the gates of death and I was fainting away with desire, and yet such a calm sweet peace was in my soul that it seemed to check the throbbing of my poor heart that tried to break, because it was overwhelmed with His goodness and love and yearned to be united with Him whom it loves with all its affections.

Oh how I hunger and thirst after Him for He alone can satisfy! And as I was thus literally dying I think of desire of Him, He appeared holding the b. Sacrament before me and I thought He had come as He so frequently does to feed me with His adorable Body and refresh me with His most precious Blood, but refrained for some time (it seemed an age to me) and stood gazing into the very centre of my poor trembling soul, which would have left this poor prison of the flesh if it could to fly to and rest in Him, her only Good.

Then He gave me Himself in Holy Communion and the Sacred Host liquified and I seemed to drink of the Precious Blood till I was saturated through and through. And it changed all into Itself, and my divine Spouse spoke to my soul and said He would now fulfil the promise He had made to me so often and present me to the adorable Trinity, and unite Himself to me in presence of the whole court of heaven. I felt annihilated at these words, for I felt my nothingness and unworthiness and I think I would really have died if He had not supported me by a new miracle of power and love. Then He said, ‘Arise my Beloved that I may glorify the triune God in Unity and espouse thee in Their adorable presence.’ And turning then to His blessed Mother, He gave me to her as her daughter, and Mary taking hold of my hand gave it to Jesus and He withdrew the ring that He had before placed upon it and then replaced it on the same finger, saying: ‘I espouse thee in the Name and in the presence of the uncreated Trinity and in presence of My Immaculate Mother, and I give you to her as a daughter and my Spouse for ever.

Mystical marriage of St. Catherine of Siena

“I was wrapped in the Essence of the Eternal Godhead and I heard and saw things which it is not given to man to utter, and when I began to come to myself I beheld the ring (which encircled the finger next the little finger of my left hand) which was a circle of thorns as it were, set with seven beautiful crystals more beautiful than diamonds which looked like liquid gems, the centre representing the Holy Soul of my divine Spouse in which the adorable Trinity is represented by the three powers, and are as it were a reflecting glass in which They behold their Unity in Essence. Then to the right is represented the Sacred Head as the Seat of divine Wisdom, and on the other side the Sacred Heart is represented, and the other four are to represent the Wounds in His sacred Hands and Feet. Oh what brightness and beauty issues from this little ring; what glory it gives, that I could not behold it I think and live if it were not that He who gave it sustains me with His power. Then He allowed me to see the soul I have often seen before but now more beautiful than ever, and He told me, as I sang with the angels hymns of praise, that was the soul of His beloved Spouse, that that glory was my nuptial robe and that He with the Father and Holy Spirit were glorified in me and that I should dwell with them and His Blessed Mother and St. Joseph for ever. He also told me to remember that I was His, that He was Almighty God and I like Him must be about my Father’s business. I understand I have a great deal to do for souls and many difficulties will surround me, but I must take courage and have great confidence in Him. Since then it seems to me that so many saints are with me, and the angels as a guard of honour watch in admiring wonder the mercies of the adorable Trinity to this very least of His little ones, and I could and do continually unite with my dear Mother Mary in singing the Magnificat and singing praises to the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ my Divine Spouse.

“DEAR REV. FATHER,

“I could not describe what God has taught me while held in His infinite and divine Essence, for it seems to me that no form is represented to the understanding, but that the soul is in God’s Immensity, and she sees and knows mysteries which are hidden in God and which it is not given to her to utter, and she enjoys without actually knowing what she enjoys. The secrets of God are made known, but the understanding, being lost in God, cannot comprehend what He has taught her.

“But when I see you I will try and tell you more.

“Begging your prayers and blessing and promising to do all I can for you and yours, I remain dear rev. Father
“Your obedient and devoted child                
“In the S. Head and loving Heart    
“TERESA HIGGINSON
“Enfant de Marie.”

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