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December 14th, 2005

Allen’s Lives of The Saints, Part One: Andrew and Theresa

"The things done, the victories gained over circumstances by ...St. Teresa, St. Joan of Arc, George Fox, are hardly to be explained unless these great spirits had indeed a closer, more intimate, more bracing contact than their fellows with that life 'which is the light of men'." Evelyn Underhill, 1911

"As she started to pray again, God gave her spiritual delights: the prayer of quiet where God's presence overwhelmed her senses, raptures where God overcame her with glorious foolishness, prayer of union where she felt the sun of God melt her soul away. Sometimes her whole body was raised from the ground. If she felt God was going to levitate her body, she stretched out on the floor and called the nuns to sit on her and hold her down."

Back in 832, the High King of Alba, Angus MacFergus and his Pictish army, along with Eochaidh the Dalriadian Scots king and his merrie Scots, were in dire straits (now cut that out) in Lothian, facing a gazillion raging Northumbrians. The king went to sleep, as kings will do, and had a vision of the venerable martyred saint Andrew, who had met his end on an X-shaped cross, thus assuring his fame ever after among the faithful and bondage fans. If the story reminds one a bit of Constatine’s vision of either Sol Invictus or the cross of Christ (he was unsure which), it gets even more so, because the next day the X-shaped cross appeared in the sky and the battle of Athelstanford became a route for the Picts and Scots, with the Northumbrian horde fleeing from the Big X in The Sky, thus assuring the good St. Andrew the office of patron saint in Scotland and the saltire cross, the big X, to be enshrined on the flag of the Scots (and, later, the Confederate States of America).

A few hundred years went by, and Theresa of Avila began to have visions of a crucified man suffering, who she took to be Jesus, but we may be sure, was just as likely poor St. Andrew. Now in Theresa’s day, Nun didn’t necessarily mean “absolutely none”. Consider this description of the convent where she spent so much time in contemplation:

“The richer nuns kept servants and lap-dogs, wore jewellery, colorful sashes and perfume, and lived in private suites, while their poorer sisters slept in a dormitory. There was a parlour where they could meet friends and relatives, and the nuns could have "devotos", men who would visit them regularly, in theory for spiritual guidance.”

In such an environment, one should not be altogether astonished that the future saint and doctor of the church, and I quote again “After about a year Teresa's health began to fail; she suffered fevers and fainting spells and was believed to have tuberculosis. The convent released her to her family. Teresa was so attractive to men that while she was in Becedas for medical treatment, her confessor not only fell in love with her but wound up confessing his own sins. He had kept a mistress for the last seven years; she had enslaved him by means of a copper medal she gave him to wear around his neck. Teresa threw the idol in a river, allegedly breaking the spell. The medical treatment, however, failed miserably. Her father finally brought her home to die. Her grave was dug at the Incarnation Convent, and she would have been buried in it except that her father insisted she was not yet dead. Several days later she awoke. She was unable to open her eyes because they had been sealed shut with wax in preparation for her burial.”

Then she had a series of visions that would have been of enormous interest in Vienna in later centuries. By her own account: "I would see beside me, on my left hand, an angel in bodily form ... He was not tall, but short, and very beautiful, his face so aflame that he appeared to be one of the highest types of angel who seem to be all afire ... In his hands I saw a long golden spear and at the end of the iron tip I seemed to see a point of fire. With this he seemed to pierce my heart several times so that it penetrated to my entrails. When he drew it out, I thought he was drawing them out with it and he left me completely afire with a great love for God. The pain was so sharp that it made me utter several moans; and so excessive was the sweetness caused me by the intense pain that one can never wish to lose it, nor will one's soul be content with anything less than God."

Hot stuff, clearly in the authentic tradition.

St. Theresa
Joan Osbourne

Sit down on the corner, just a little climb
When I make my money got to get my dime
Sit down with her baby, wind is full of trash
She bald as the street light- dark and sweet as hash

{chorus}
Way down in the hollow, leavin' so soon...
Oh, St. Theresa, higher than the moon.

Reach down for the sweet stuff, when she looks at me
I know any man sees you like I see
Follow down the side street movin' single file
She say- that's where I'll hold you, sleeping like a child

{chorus}

Just what I've been needin', feel it rise in me
She say- every stone a story, like a rosary
Corner St. Theresa, just a little crime
When I make my money, got to get my dime

{chorus}

You called up in the sky
You called up in the clouds
Is there something you forgot
to tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me...

Show me my Theresa, feel it rise in me
Every stone a story, like a rosary


Lost

running always running
its so dark i cant see anything
i stumble and i fall
when i turn to feel the ground for the object
that took my balance i find nothing but cold damp earth
i rise and run again
i dont know where im going
i dont know why im here
i dont know when ill stop
i dont know if ill find what im looking for
i scream and i cry but im never heard
why cant i see????

by cassandra CassieJoF6@aol.com




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