Translated from the original by Ana Giménez.
“Recollection” is a way of living Christianity and it, in turn, tries to reform Church. The partisans of recollection envisage the human being in its unity, body and soul, understanding, memory and free will. They link God´s grace with human´s collaboration, everything matters to get the union with God as fast as possible. It doesn´t either separate study or meditation. It integrates everything: prayer and action, ethics and mystic.
To achieve it, they believe that the entirety of the human being, its unity, its essence is in the centre or deep in the soul; it is also called “de profundis”, synderesis…The power is concentrated in that centre where the encounter with God occurs. To accomplish it, we have to enter within ourselves, to learn to enter into ourselves as snails or hedgehogs do, transform our heart and go back to the surface of life renewed in Christ.
They consider that society can´t change without the transformation of our heart. In this sense, they follow the prophets. They get to the root, they run away from lack of depth. To get within, to change and go out to the service of others. Baptism for them is not a shallow event which stays in the epidermis, but something which has to reach our inner self. This intimacy is the essence of recollection, without avoiding the encounter with oneself, to get to the encounter with God from our deep inside.
In the centre of our soul we can find our conscience and our deepest being. It is there where we will travel without any fear. It has three essential helpers, the powers of the soul which are: memory, understanding and free will. The most important one is the free will because love is born from it. It is the core of an apple that opens itself when, after a friendship process the person states, ”I want to love”. In that resolution where free will decides, a story of love -from God to the human being and from the human being to God- starts, because free will inflamed in love is the supreme part of the soul. The Holy Spirit takes part here.
There were very many masters from different schools who expanded the recogidos (partisans of recollection) spirituality. Bernardino de Laredo and Francisco de Osuna, both Franciscan friar and priest, were the ones, I believe, who taught Teresa. As Teresa didn´t have any theological studies, she simplified their theories and made them easy to understand. They all talked about their experiences and they intended to reach to God´s people as a whole. The universal call for holiness dates from well before The Second Council of the Vatican, which is clearly found among the recogidos.
The recogidos were a Church reform movement which started in the 15th century, some among them wanted to go back and abide by the Constitutions after the Black Death disaster, some others became Observants of norms and timetables. A major share of the merit of the recogidos´ movement should be attributed to cardinal Cisneros and to the invention of the printing press. El “Carro de dos Vidas” by Garcia Gómez (“The mystical science of the soul, medieval cognition in Bernardino de Laredo´s recollection method”) and “Ejercitatorio de la vida espiritual” (i.e. “Exercises for the spiritual life”) by Cisneros, both from 1500, are the two literary works which mark the beginning of the adventure to the one we are invited now. If you want to stop having a superficial life, or if you are more interested in your life than in the life of others, if you wish to live from the Love to God and to your neighbours, if you want to learn to let yourself be loved by Jesus Christ, launch yourself with no fear into this adventure.
(I have used the monograph of about 1000 pages by Melquíades Andrés Martin, “Los recogidos, nueva visión de la mística española”, Madrid 1976) (i.e. The recogidos, new vision of the Spanish mystic”, Madrid 1976. Photo Brooke Shaden)