Continuing with the series on the life of the Discalced Carmelite mystic, St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this program delves into the depths of aridity that caused this Saint to view her religious duties and devotions with repugnance; yet, because of her insatiable desire to love God, she obediently continues with the utmost charity for the other nuns, who never had any inkling of the depths of aridity, darkness, and coldness the Lord permitted her to go through. There are many counsels given to her that will help other souls experiencing the trials of the Dark Night of the Spirit. Her offer to be a victim soul was accepted by Heaven and she was intensely tested. St. Teresa Margaret courageously went forth in a pure faith, a dark faith, an arid faith. In the end, she died of love as the force of her love burst through the veil separating her from the one she loved with all her heart, mind, body and strength. As she glorified the Lord on earth, so the Lord glorified His faithful servant in Heaven. Many prodigies occurred at her death and afterwards. Her body still lies incorrupt in Florence, Italy today. Up to the very end, she lived the hidden life in imitation of Jesus, and now, the Lord is bringing her to the fore for us as an example of a pure soul who battled bravely and was purified to an eminent degree.
What exactly is required of us in the spiritual journey? How do we make progress? What disposition of heart is necessary for us to be drawn into the heart of the Lord? These are important questions. If we are truly seeking the Lord and we genuinely desire to be transformed into the persons we were created to be, then these are questions we need to explore for ourselves. It is always nice, however, to have a picture, to learn from the experience of someone else who may have already traveled down a similar path. In this conversation, Mark and Frances delve into the secrets of sainthood. While looking through the lens of the life of someone who, for many, is a hidden Saint. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus' own writings, and the reflections of her personal spiritual director, provide us remarkable insight into what is required of that soul who would be raised to the very heights of divine union or spiritual marriage. This exploration into the life of this Saint will look at both her total abandonment to the Lord, what she herself describes as her complete detachment from all things worldly, but it also examines her complete devotion to the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Perhaps most importantly, especially for those of us who live in the world day to day, this Saint will reveal to us her secret for the practice of Recollection, and how it is that she is able to enter into herself and communicate with the Lord, even in the midst of her busy daily activities. This is an important conversation for anyone who struggles in understanding exactly what it is the Lord desires from us, if we truly desire to enter into a deeper relationship with Him.
St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and making our lives a Sacrifice to the Lord (PART 3)
Following her entry into Carmel, at the young age of 17, the future St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, committed herself unflinchingly to two great Carmelite practices for those who aspire to holiness. In this program, Mark and Frances discuss how these ascetical (which in the Greek means exercise) contributed to Teresa Margaret being raised to such a high degree of union with the Lord in such a brief period of time - only five years in her case. These practices, or exercises were detachment and recollection. Consistent with the teachings of her great patron, St. Teresa of Avila, Teresa Margaret would later add the practice of humility to her program of discipline. She of course practiced many of the better known means of detachment, including fasting, praying at night, sleeping on a hard surface and always attempting to deny her own desires. But she would soon come to understand that the greatest challenge is in detaching ourselves from our own will. As for recollection, Teresa Margaret was already well schooled in this art of prayer, one which requires us to re-collect our faculties and enter within ourselves to commune with the Lord who never leaves us. Indeed, the Lord is constantly waiting in the little Bethany of our Heart for us to come and spend time with Him. Teresa Margaret perfected this practice to such a degree that she was known to lose herself, like St. Teresa of Avila before her, even in the midst of her busy chore. The prayer of recollection is absolutely essential for anyone who wishes to make progress in the spiritual journey, and Mark and Frances provide a perfect model for this practice in their discussion of the life of St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Finally, this conversation explores St. Teresa Margaret's deep understanding and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In many ways, her insights and practice of this devotion preceded and even informed Popes who would later write about and institute the formal celebrations dedicated to the Sacred Heart. This devotion, and St. Teresa's motto to "Return Love for Love," represent the very center of her great progress in the spiritual journey, and is the main reason she is so important for us to study today.
God is Love, Saint Teresa Margaret: Her Life, by Margaret Rowe ICS Publications.
From the Sacred Heart to the Trinity: The Spiritual Itinerary of Saint Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart, by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene ICS Publications