“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” - Luke 12:49

Besides October 15th   - the liturgical feast day of St. Teresa which is the memorial of her death and entrance into eternal life, the Church also celebrates August 26th, the feast of her transverberation - the day she saw an angel with a flaming dart piercing her heart. This gift of Love from God to her is also a timeless gift of God to us through her.

In the Book of Her Life, Chapter 19, St. Teresa describes her ecstasy…
I saw an angel beside me toward the left side, in bodily form. He was not very large, but small, very beautiful, his face so blazing with light that he seemed to be one of the very highest angels, who appear all on fire. They must be those they call Cherubim…I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying.”

In his book Living Flame of Love, St. John of the Cross comments on this experience …
As Moses declares in Deutoronomy, “Our Lord is a consuming fire” that is a fire of love….which can inestimably consume and transform into itself the soul it touches.  Yet he burns each soul according to its preparation.... it divinizes it…. enlarges it, delights it, brightens it and enriches it….

…The soul is converted into an immense fire of love….Few persons have reached such heights. Some have, however, especially those whose virtue and spirit was to be diffused among their children.  For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have in their doctrine and spirituality. O happy wound,…. delightful wound, ….burning all that was burnable in order to give delight to all that could be delighted!

In the Bull of Canonization Gregory XV wrote: “the flame of divine love in her heart became so strong that, inspired by God, she made the extremely difficult vow of always doing what seemed to her most perfect and most conductive to God’s glory.”

Completely on fire with the love of God, Teresa’s response to God in all circumstances was a complete self-offering, to do whatever God has her to do. No doubt, over the centuries, through the Holy Spirit, she is helping Jesus set the earth on fire, enkindling the fire of God’s love in the hearts of her great following. A small puncture site later discovered in St. Teresa's incorrupt heart confirms this precise transverberation experience.


Almighty God,
you filled the heart of St. Teresa of Avila our Holy Mother
with the fire of your love and
gave her strength to undertake difficult tasks
for the honor of your name.
Through her prayers
may the power of your love fill our hearts also and
stir us to ever more generous efforts in your service.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.