Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Book of the Foundations - Discussion of Chapter 8 - St. Teresa of Avila - Teresa of Jesus

         The Book of the Foundations
             of S. Teresa of Jesus 
   of the Order of our Lady of Carmel 
         Discussion of Chapter 8 

             Chapter 8 Contents 
  Treats and Gives Some Advice 
    Concerning Revelations And Visions 
  1. Timid confessors. — 
  2. Evil visions. — 
  3. The Saint's own experience. — 
  4. The Saint satisfied by Father Banez. — 
  5. Abuse of visions. — 
  6. How to baffle Satan. — 
  7. Women most liable to delusions. — 
  8. The Saint detects a delusion. —
  9. Instance of delusion detected.  — 

10. Visions and revelations to be kept secret.  
        Summary and Discussion of Chapter 8 

 Regarding  a vision or revelation, 
       St. Teresa said:
▪ It can be a way by which God is leading a soul:
                                       [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #1 ]
       ◦ "if our Lord of  His goodness 
             is pleased to show himself to any soul, 
           in order that it may 
              - know Him and 
              - love Him the more, or 
              - to reveal to it any of His secrets, or 
              - to give it any special consolations 
                      and graces..."
                                       [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #5 ]
       ◦ "they cannot attain 
              to these extraordinary graces, 
           for God gives them to whom He will
                                      [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #10]

▪ It can be a temptation from the devil:
       ◦ "Satan, for the purpose of stirring up pride
               brings about these apparitions"
                           [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #6 ]
      ◦  "Satan effects 
            for the purpose of deceiving us" 
                                           [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #2 ]
▪ It can be a self-deception  through:
           - our faults
           - our weak natures,
           - disordered emotions, thoughts, imaginings
              e.g. those "subject to melancholy"
                            [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #7 ]
▪ True visions or revelations  from God 
      bring blessings, humility and other virtues.
       ◦ "if the revelations be from God, 
              for that is already known 
            by the great blessings 
              they bring to the soul; 
                    [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #2 ]
       ◦ "by the great fruit and good issues of them, 
              were felt to be the work of God."
                              [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #3 ]
       ◦ "for...the vision when true 
              will make itself understood"
                               [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #7 ]
       ◦ "For, if it be the spirit of our Lord 
              that is working in them,
           He brings in His train,  humility 
              to enable them to bear neglect with joy
            and such treatment 
              therefore will not harm them, 
            and does great good to the others. 
                               [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #10 ]

  Recommendations for the person
         who has experienced the vision or revelation:
▪ Prudence and Self-Knowledge
       ◦ "that we should not at once 
               take it for granted 
            that every little fancy we may have 
               is a vision"
                                [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #7 ]
       ◦ "that a soul  
             - should not believe at once, 
             - but should 
                 -- bide its time, and 
                 -- examine itself carefully 
                before it makes its visions known, 
             lest it should, 
                without the wish to do so, 
             deceive its confessor; 
                                 [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #9 ]
▪ Consultation and Obedience to their Confessor:
      One who experiences vision or revelation,
       should consult their Confessor  and 
      should be Obedient to his counsel.

      ◦ It is preferable to consult with a Confessor
          who has had , himself, such experiences.
            "for if he has had
                 no experience himself herein, 
             however learned he may be, 
                 he will never be able to understand it. 
                                 [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #9 ]
      ◦ "She will meet with few confessors 
            who will not make her afraid".
                                [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #1 ]
      ◦ "she must 
             - refer it all 
                    to a learned and wise confessor, and
             - do and believe nothing 
                    but that which the confessor permits. 
                                 [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #6 ]
            - "let her take his advice"
                                 [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #6 ]
      ◦ "if she does not 
               obey the confessor, and 
               allow herself to be directed by him,
           it comes from 
              - an evil spirit 
              - a terrible melancholy. 
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #6 ]
      ◦ "For, supposing the confessor 
            were in the wrong, 
          she would do better 
             by not departing from what he tells her,   
                (as) though it was an angel of God 
            who had been speaking to her, 
          for our Lord will 
              - give him light or 
              - provide for the fulfilment of his word"
                                 [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #6 ]
▪ Inform their  Prioress:
     A nun who experiences vision or revelation
        should inform her Prioress.
      ◦ "Let her speak to the prioress
               that she may send her a prudent confessor"
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #6 ]
      ◦ "it is the duty of each sister 
             to make known to the prioress 
          with great openness her way of prayer 
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #10 ]
▪ The Necessity of Humility
      ◦ It "...should make the soul humble
               (since) it does not merit that grace"
                                [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #4 ]  
      ◦ "nobody will be deceived 
              if only they are humble"                                        
                                 [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #2 ]
      ◦ "for if he is humble 
                the vision 
           even if it came from Satan 
                can do him no harm, 
                                 [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #4 ]
      ◦ Even if the vision is a temptation
              if the soul at the time, 
                 thinking they come from God, 
                   - humbles itself, and 
                   - confesses itself 
                            undeserving of a grace so great, 
                   - does violence to itself 
                          ( forces itself / disciplines itself 
                             by way of  fasts, sacrifice, etc.)
                          that it may serve Him better; 
              if, when it sees itself rich, 
                   confessing itself unworthy... 
                   it humbles itself, and begins in earnest 
                     - to do penance, and 
                     - to give itself more unto prayer, and 
                     - to be more careful 
                            never to offend our Lord 
                            — for it thinks it is He 
                                 who is the giver of this grace —  
                     - to be more perfect in its obedience 
              then I assure it
              that Satan 
                     - will never come again, 
                     - but will go away defeated, 
                     - leaving behind him 
                             no trace of evil in the soul. 
                                     [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #6 ]  
            The detrimental effects of Pride
                 ◦ A vision does not confer sainthood.
                 ◦ A vision can not be merited or deserved.
                 ◦ "if he is not humble 
                        it will do him no good 
                      even if it comes from God"
                                 [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #4 ]
                 ◦ If  it "makes the soul proud, 
                    that soul is 
                     - like the spider, the food of 
                           which is all turned into poison, 
                    - not like the bee, 
                           which turns it all into honey".
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #4 ]  
                ◦ "if that soul, (which is) bound to 
                    - abase itself and 
                    - confess the scanty merits of its vileness,
                    -  looks upon itself, as a saint,  and
                    -  thinks that this grace has been given it, 
                         ...because of some service or other
                                   it may have done,...
                         it is plain that, like the spider, 
                         it changes the great blessing, 
                           which might have been the fruit 
                                    of the visions,   
                            into something evil."
                                      [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #5 ]
▪ Do not be unhappy or fearful 
    instead she should strive for growth in virtue:
      ◦ "there is, therefore, no reason 
                for being downcast"
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #2 ]
      ◦ "make no account of these resemblances..."               
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #2 ]
     ◦  "that His Majesty will 
               - never suffer (the devil), 
               - nor give him the power, 
            to deceive anybody by such resemblance, 
            unless such a person be himself to blame;
                                 [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #2 ]
      ◦ "let their anxiety be 
               for the attainment of other virtues
           for, though virtues also are the gift of God, 
                they are more in our power, 
           and are of great worth in religion. 
           If we 
                - exercise ourselves in them, 
                - are diligent 
                       -- in the pursuit of them,  and
                       -- in prayer for them, 
           He will not refuse them to any one 
               who, in reliance on His compassion, 
                   shall labour to attain to them. 
                                [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #10]
      ◦ "give itself more unto prayer, and 
           to be more careful 
                            never to offend our Lord 
                                [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #6]
▪ Faith and Trust in the Lord
      ◦ "only let us trust in our Lord"
                                 [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #2 ]
▪ Gratitude for this opportunity to Praise Him
      ◦ "make no account of these resemblances  
              unless it be that we make them 
          an occasion of praising Him 
             more and more."
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #2 ]

  Recommendations for the Confessor:
▪ Discernment of the vision or revelation
      ◦ "Accordingly, I said to the confessor
           - that we should wait to see 
                 whether the prophecies were true, 
           - that he should 
                  ask for other tests, 
                                   [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #8 ]
▪ Discernment of the person:
        her state of prayer and virtue
    who is experiencing the vision or revelation:
      ◦ "Accordingly, I said to the confessor...
             find out what sort of a life 
                    that person was living ; 
                                    [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #8 ]

  Recommendations for the Prioress 
Referral to "a prudent confessor"
      ◦ "that she may send her a prudent confessor"
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #6 ]
      ◦ "she should choose a confessor 
            for the purpose 
          if the ordinary confessor 
            is not sufficiently acquainted 
                  with things of this kind. 
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #10 ]

▪ Discernment of the person's state 
    who is experiencing the vision or revelation:
      ◦ "must carefully consider 
            - the temper of that sister and
            - the degree of perfection 
                 to which she may have attained, 
          that she may instruct the confessor 
            so as to enable him 
                 to understand her better"
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #10 ]

      ◦ "The prioress, herself, must be always 
           - ready to listen prudently, 
           - more commend those 
                 who excel in humility, 
                           mortification, and obedience 
             than those 
                 whom God is leading 
                    by this most supernatural way of prayer, 
                          though they may be endowed 
                                 with every other virtue. 
           For, if it be the spirit of our Lord 
               that is working in them,
           He brings in His train,  humility 
               to enable them to bear neglect with joy"
                                   [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #10 ]
▪ Maintain Silence and Confidentiality
       concerning the vision or revelation:
      ◦ "She must be very careful 
           that matters such as 
                -  these revelations and visions, 
                        though most truly from God, 
                - graces confessedly miraculous, 
           be not divulged 
                 to persons outside the monastery, 
                 nor to confessors 
                      who have not the wisdom 
                          to keep them secret...
                 nor may the sisters discuss them 
                      among themselves."
                          [ Foundations: Ch. 8: #10 ]

        End of  the Discussion 
           of Chapter 8 
                of the 
      Book of the Foundations
        of S. Teresa of Jesus 

  of the Order of our Lady of Carmel 

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