Today the Discalced Carmelite Order celebrates that mystical grace granted to St. Teresa which we call the Transverberation, also referred to within the Carmels of Ávila as “la gracia del dardo” or the “grace of the dart.”
The transverberation is commonly referred to as St. Teresa’s entrance into the state of Spiritual Marriage. This state is described in the Saint’s 7th mansion in her book The interior Castle. It is interesting to note that when St. Teresa’s incorruptible heart was preserved, a small puncture site was discovered thus confirming this precise experience.
St. Teresa herself recounts the experience in chapter 29 of her Life:
“I saw close to me toward my left side an angel in bodily form. … the angel was not large but small; he was very beautiful, and his face was so aflame that he seemed to be one of those very sublime angels that appear to be all afire. They must belong to those they call the cherubim, for they didn’t tell me their names. … I saw in his hands a large golden dart and at the end of the iron tip there appeared to be a little fire. It seemed to me this angel plunged the dart several times into my heart and that it reached deep within me. When he drew it out, I thought he was carrying off with him the deepest part of me; and he left me all on fire with great love of God. The pain was so great that it made me moan, and the sweetness this greatest pain caused me was so superabundant that there is no desire capable of taking it away; nor is the soul content with less then God. The pain is not bodily but spiritual, although the body doesn’t fail to share in some of it, and even a great deal. The loving exchange that takes place between the soul and God is so sweet that I beg Him in goodness to give a taste of this love to anyone who thinks I am lying.” (Life, 29.13)
Jesus, You want your Spirit of Love to blaze like fire throughout the world; may we, like Saint Teresa, be instrumental in keeping that flame of love alight.
You sanctify Your friends and reveal to them the mysteries of Your heart; unite our hearts to yours in a friendship so close and intimate that we may experience the secrets of Your Love, proclaim it to others, and win them to you.
You blessed the pure of heart and promised that they would see You; purify our sight so that we may see you in all things, and through all things be close to You.
You oppose the proud and give wisdom to the simple; make us humble of heart, so that we may receive Your wisdom for the sake of the Church.
~ Intercessions from the Carmelite Proper of the Liturgy of the Hours