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Saint Teresa Of Avila Essay, Research Paper
Saint Teresa of Avila
The selection The Raptures of St. Avila that appears here concerns St. Teresa?s visions of Jesus and angels. She describes her visions very carefully in this chapter, saying that at first she was able to see only the hands of Jesus, than later his face, and eventually his body. She goes into great detail that she saw his human form as resurrected and that sometimes Jesus showed her his wounds. Sometimes she saw Jesus appearing with a crown of thorns and sometimes bearing the cross. These visions normally disturbed her confessors, some of whom were convinced that she was being deceived by the devil.
Part of the teaching of the Carmelites insisted on the union of the individual with God. The visions of St. Teresa strengthened this teaching, stressing her direct contact with Jesus. But the special qualities of her visions emphasize a personal rapture and ecstasy that seem to exceed normal human feelings. Teresa points them with special care, reminding her readers that she realizes that no one who has not experienced the visions could ever understand what they are like or follow the meaning they have in religious life.
At the end of this chapter Teresa strongly talks of the ecstatic feelings that escort one of her most profound experiences with the arrival of an angel. The outcome is to communicate the expansiveness of the religious acquaintance rather than to confine her to discussing the advantages of discipline alone.
Additionally, St. Teresa discusses the visions she had and the problems that are associated with them. She explains that she believed of such a possibility right away but that it is hopeless. Teresa also solves how her confessors taught her to confront the vision of Jesus, to determine whether it is a fiendish fraud. When she uncovers her conflicted emotions as she snaps her fingers at Jesus, one might understand how she feels even though one has never had her visions. She is able to help us understand even the most incomprehensible of human experiences by virtue of her directness and modesty.
In this passage, St. Teresa analyzes and dissects mysterious experiences the way a scientist would. She never saw these gifts as rewards from God but the way he ?chastised? her. The more love she felt the harder it was to offend God.
She also felt that the best evidence that her delights came from God was that the experiences gave her peace, inspiration, and encouragement. She once said, ?If these effects are not present I would greatly doubt that the raptures come from God; on the contrary I would fear lest they be caused by rabies.?
?May God protect me from gloomy saints,? Teresa said, and that?s how she ran her convent. To her, spiritual life was an attitude of love, not a rule. Although she proclaimed poverty, she believed in work, not in begging. I personally feel that she held in obedience to God more than penance.
Teresa?s simplicity and directness display the depth of her faith in the goodness of the visions she has received. She is strongly influenced by Jesus that she feels she is in his presence. Her faith is in her union with God, and the raptures that are connected with this faith are clearly communicated in this selection.
In conclusion, I feel that St. Teresa was very involved with her writings and was very dedicated to make them heard from all over the world. I learned what a remarkable, giving person she was. She was totally devoted to God, and spreading his word and goodness. In today?s society, many people are lacking a basic foundation of being able to open their hearts to the love of God. When you feel the love of God it enables one to give that love to others around you.
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