Friday, 26 October 2012

Teresa's accounts of her mystical marriage to Fr. Alfred Snow

The following are two letters to Father Alfred Snow, from Lady Anne Cecil Kerr's biography:

“In the name of the Adorable and undivided Trinity, and to the glory of Jesus my divine Spouse and only Treasure, in honour of Mary my Immaculate Queen and Mother, and in obedience, I will try and write something of those things which He has vouchsafed to me the very least of His little ones. I have written an account of the unspeakable favour which Jesus Christ the Son of God and the ever blessed Virgin Mary has granted to me, and when I read it over it seemed in no way to convey what He really has accomplished, for the change that has come over my soul is so astounding that I cannot express it or convey by any comparison what has really been done. I feel and realise those wondrous words of our dear Lord, ‘My peace I give you’ etc. and it brings such a sweet bright light in the soul that they only can understand who experience it, and our dear Lord has taught me the hidden things of God with such excessive delights that all the senses enjoy such an immense degree of sweetness that nothing here could in any way describe. And if you wish me to tell you what I have seen or what He has taught me, I can only say He has taught me great truths hidden in His immensity. He has laid open His secret and I have drunk to excess, and yet, as there is no image of any sort represented to the understanding, the soul learns and enjoys without knowing what she learns and enjoys. These things may seem to you to be folly on my part, but perhaps it is on account of my nothingness and misery that I am not able to give you a better idea of what passes now or how my soul is contained or held in God and how He acts with her. But even if it is so, oh how I thank Him for knowing nothing and having nothing but Himself, oh how rich I am in His possession! And though the soul may be astounded at first at His condescension, yet afterwards when she considers His immense love, she lies as it were in peace without in any way considering herself. Yet she knows and understands how He is all hers and she is all His, but she has no thought but of Him. I mean she forgets her own misery and sins and does not wish to do this or that but only His adorable Will, and this she hungers and thirsts for as He makes her understand like Him she ‘must be about her Father’s business’ and testify to the world the love and goodness of Jesus, her divine Spouse. Oh that I had the tongue of men and angels that I might proclaim to the whole world what He is and His wonderful love, that I could tell or give them to taste how sweet is the Lord and what they lose who run after the empty bubbles of the world. Oh all we could do or suffer for ages would be nothing to purchase so great a good. Oh that I could tell what I experience in Him who is all good, all powerful, all Wisdom. My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid.

 Mystical marriage of St. Catherine

“Oh my Father, you must pardon me. I do really wish and desire to make all clear to you, and I beg of Him, whom I know will not refuse my request, to teach you by experience and show you my soul as He sees it, that so you may know how to guide and take me with you to His eternal possession.

“Ah what a foretaste I have already of that eternal bliss, for the soul seems to have become one with God in such a close bond of union that all fear of losing Him seems out of the question, for it seems that the soul as a little drop of vapour is drawn up into the immeasurable ocean of God’s infinity. Here she feels to possess all and she cares not whether she lives or dies.

“I don't know but what those great impetuosities may return, but at present I feel as though I had not to run after God as it were, but that I possessed Him and was more closely united to Him than my soul is to my body, that He is the soul of my existence and that I feel and live in Him, that He does all and that I do nothing.

“He has taught me oh so clearly too, all that He has done for me and how miserable a wretch I should have been without Him, and when He shows me the beauty with which He has clothed me and the wonderful works He has accomplished in me, I am forced as it were to sink in the abyss of my own nothingness and praise Him for His mighty acts. And instead of trying to run away as it were at telling you, I feel as though I were robbing Him of that which is His if I did not try to tell you as I know things myself, for all is His and I am and have nothing, and it would seem to be a false humility that I have hitherto had – wishing to hide His favours, as though I considered they were in some way mine, or that I had anything to do with them.

“I seem to have become as a powerful eagle that can soar to and gaze on the midday sun, and as those who look at the sun can see nothing but it for some time, so now I see nothing but Him in all things and all things in Him. That great fear of death and desire of it are gone and I feel such a real disengagement from all created objects, and I feel to have gained such a great dominion over myself that I don’t think anyone can understand but those to whom our dear Lord my Spouse and only Love has given it, for I know too so well that I never could have acquired it no matter how I worked or exerted myself. It is all His work and I feel myself so freed out of this prison of death that I lie basking in peace in the light of His Truth. He has dug deep in the trench that so He might fill me with Himself. He has filled up the valleys on a level with the hills, and the mountains He has lowered that I may view their tops and look down on all things beneath. Oh my Father, I could never tell you all that in His goodness and mercy He has done for me, and it seems to take away from it rather than anything else when I try to express them in such cyphers as is the language of men, when trying to describe the truths and favours of Almighty God.

“Begging of you again and again to bless the Lord for all He has done for me, and offering His adorable Precious Blood in thanksgiving, I unite my voice with His, with Mary’s and the whole court of Heaven in praising and blessing our God who sitteth upon the throne, and the Lamb who redeemed us by His blood and made us to reign with Him for ever and ever. Amen.
“TERESA HIGGINSON              “Enfant de Marie”
 
CLITHEROE, FEAST OF ST. WINIFRED, 1887.
“Oh my Father it seems presumption almost on my part to attempt to describe the wonderful things our dear b. Lord has done for my poor soul, and yet I know I must endeavour that you may thoroughly understand His workings in me. Though it seems as if I could not comprehend at once all that His infinite goodness accomplishes, oh how clearly He has taught me in very truth the true estimate of all things here and to judge rightly of His gifts and graces. Here the soul becomes as it were a very queen of liberty, she has bound up all for Jesus and He sets His little captive free, she has sunk in the abyss of her own nothingness and He raises her to a most intimate union with Himself and the adorable Trinity. She has stripped herself of all things for His sake and He clothes her in His glory. She has tasted of the bitterness of life for His sake and He fills her with unutterable sweetness; and now she who was so afraid and weak is made strong and desires to fly to the heights and gaze on and bury herself in the centre of that sun at which sometimes she felt unable to look, for the light was too strong for her weakness. Now she desires to plunge deeper and deeper into that eternal Essence, to gaze into that sparkling crystal and there drink the waters of life and eat the food of the strong. Here she is taught that she is nothing and has nothing, that all is her divine Spouse’s, and she feels as though she could go to the tops of the mountains and proclaim His greatness, His wisdom, His love, and His goodness aloud to the whole world, that all might acknowledge that He is the Lord and praise and magnify His Holy Name.

“I feel as though I had no heart or soul but that God Himself is my soul and there He shines and rules all in such wonderful wisdom and peace. Oh my soul, bless the Lord and let all that is in thee praise His Holy Name. It would seem to me as though our dear Lord my divine Spouse and Mary my dear queen and my mother were keeping high court within my poor soul and allowing me to understand the glory that so many angels and saints are enjoying in His presence, for they are present with and seem to accompany me. Oh my Father, if it were only to witness the beauty of the stones in this circle of our union, to behold the gems that represent His sacred Wounds, I think it is more than human nature could endure, and it seems to fill my poor body even with a spiritual life and brightness that it seems buoyed up so to speak; but I do not now care what becomes of it, whether it is raised up before others or not. His glory and Holy Will are all I desire. I feel as though I could sing the Magnificat aloud with my more than Mother Mary.
“T. HIGGINSON.             
“Enfant de Marie.”

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