Translated from the original by Ana Giménez.
Last post I mentioned that I would further explain Teresian´s prayer´s transition, to look and allow ourselves to be looked. Several items to be explained: first, eyes and the fact of seeing in Teresa; second, in the Old and New Testament; third, in baptismal theology; and fourth, in Edith Stein.
1-The look in Saint Teresa
When Teresa discovered that our body senses have a duplicate in our soul, a new world opened up before her. Our soul has eyes to see, ears to listen, sense of touch and hands to touch, taste to savour, and even sense of smell. She quickly added them to spiritual life with great results.
With the eyes of the soul one learns to discover reality as it is, to never separate oneself from reality, to never allow to deceive ourselves. Hand in hand with Jesus, our vision widens, starting by ourselves to seeing people in a different way, following the reality of life, everything is perceived with God´s eyes. It´s like wearing new glasses, or checking our eyesight to improve it, or a cataract surgery.
First thing we discover when we try to look at the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ with the eyes of our soul is that He has always been looking at us, He looked at us first, with touching love eyes. That kind and tender look, received with the humility of the publican man who doesn´t dare to look up, will be the entrance door to contemplation prayer. Once we finish meditation prayer we allow ourselves to be looked by Someone who always looks at us and walks with us. He will soon be an essential inseparable companionship, we will live in his loving presence. Enough to raise our eyes to heaven, or to go deep down within us where He dwells, there we will find Him: “If we can, we should occupy ourselves in looking upon Him Who is looking at us; keep Him company; talk with Him; pray to Him; humble ourselves before Him; have our delight in Him; and remember that He never deserved to be there.” (Life 13.22)
There are many texts. I will choose some of them: “May the Lord open the eyes of those who read this by granting them experience of it, and, however slight that experience may be, they will at once understand it.” (Life 12.5); “They will keep their eyes fixed upon the true and everlasting kingdom to which we are striving to attain.” (Life15.11); In times of hardship: “I mean that I found myself sorely oppressed on every side and could get relief only by raising my eyes to Heaven and calling upon God.” (Life 39.19); to her nuns: “Keep your eyes fixed upon your Spouse” (The Way of Perfection 2.1) “You are capable of looking at very ugly and loathsome things: can you not, then, look at the most beautiful thing imaginable? Your Spouse never takes His eyes off you, daughters. He has borne with thousands of foul and abominable sins which you have committed against Him, yet even they have not been enough to make Him cease looking upon you. Is it such a great matter, then, for you to avert the eyes of your soul from outward things and sometimes to look at Him? See, He is only waiting for us to look at Him, as He says to the Bride. If you want Him you will find Him. He longs so much for us to look at Him once more that it will not be for lack of effort on His part if we fail to do so.”(The Way of Perfection 26.3) (…)”He will look upon you with His lovely and compassionate eyes” (The Way of Perfection 26.5); “We must fix our eyes on Christ” (The Way of Perfection 1.2.11); “Fix your eyes on your crucified Lord, and everything will seem easy to you” (The Way of Perfection 7.4.8)
It took me longer than a week to find out what was written by her in a thoroughly crossed out sentence by a censor in Life´s manuscript. She was made write: “O wondrous loving-kindness of God, Who permittest Thyself to be looked upon by eyes which have looked on things as sinfully as have the eyes of my soul!” (Life 27.11)
Actually, under the crossing-out of the author there are two lines by the censor and under it, the original sentence we have to regain:
“O humility loving-kindness of God, O my Lord and how little do I have, as my heart does not tear to pieces once I realize Who permittest Thyself to be looked upon by eyes which have looked on things as sinfully as have the eyes of my soul!”
The deepest look is explained this way:
“Just so, in this life, two persons of reasonable intelligence, who love each other dearly, seem able to understand each other without making any signs, merely by their looks. This must be so here, for, without seeing each other, we look at each other face to face as these two lovers do: the Spouse in the Songs” (Life 27.10).
We will achieve this deep look with God´s help in the mystic mansions.
(As this is getting a bit too long, I will continue some other day. You can ask anything in case it hasn´t been well explained)