Translated from the original by Ana Giménez.
My intention with this post is to deepen in the source used by Teresa so as to concentrate in the event of the rich young man. It doesn´t add anything new to the spiritual itinerary that we are following, neither does it need to be read for those who are not really interested in meeting Teresa´s masters.
It has already been mentioned that in the third mansion the saint follows the steps of the recogidos movement (partisans of recollection)
Without forgetting what has been learnt in previous mansions, and following meditation prayer, she wants us to learn to recollect all the faculties, to concentrate, in loving silence, to meet the Trinity and ourselves in a deeper way. In this context she takes up the issue of the Gospel´s rich young man and uses it as an example to show us the important step she wants to help us to take in our spiritual life.
With the exception of “Arte de servir a Dios” (“The art of serving God” by Alonso de Madrid, the rest of the recogidos (recollected) didn´t pay much attention to the episode of the rich young man. Neither Laredo, nor Osuna, or any of the Franciscan masters, not even Gracián, went further than a brief comment. Nevertheless, in Landulfo of Sajonia´s medieval text, in its translation by Ambrosio Montesino she found what she was looking for. Chapter 10 is entitled:”Perfection in poverty” in which number 5 says: “Come and follow me; leave everything behind, come and follow me imitating me, live as I do. As true perfection mainly and fully consists of the follow-up of Christ by your work” (I quote the text by the Jesuit´s edition Emilio del Río, Madrid 2010; In bold type print are the key words also used by Saint Teresa).
The observance of the commandments is compulsory for all Christians, the evangelical counsels are for those who decide to follow them, either laypersons or religious ones. “To the first perfection everyone is obliged; to the second, no one”.
The partisans of recollection relentlessly support that those pieces of advice may be followed by all Christians if this is their will:
From Saint Jerome we highlight the importance of the donation of the will, above all.
“It is easier to despise a money bag than will. Indeed, many among those who have disregarded their wealth, don´t follow our Lord; The one who follows our Lord is the one who imitates Him, the one who follows His footsteps” (volume II,10.5)
Landulfo specifies it further: “He put a sign of perfection when he advised to give up on all things; to follow Christ naked. He suggests parting with all the things, as Saint Teófilo did, and persuades extreme poverty, as if it would remain anything, one could be a slave of it”.
“This poverty includes humility, as without it there is not true poverty, as it is useless to have an empty bag, and the heart full of pride (…) as barely can one be in possession of wealth without pride or without control of one´s liking (…) Not only the possession of wealth but plenty of other more things prevents and dispels men from contemplation of God and perfect love”. A resounding sentence which summarizes everything: “your image is God´s image; take all the accidental things off and what is divine will turn up”
Chapter 12, entitled “The twelve evangelical councels” and in chapter 13, “Difficult entrance for the young rich man; to leave everything for Christ”, explanations continue. “Saint Ambrosio says: that´s the reason why we approach naked to lustral baptism, we rush naked to the gates of heaven. How incongruous and absurd is the one who, given birth naked by his mother, and naked was received in Church, wants to enter rich in heaven!” (Volume II, 13. 1)
“Although Peter didn´t have many things, but rather very few, nevertheless he left them all, as he didn´t keep anything for himself, and he gave up the wish to possess which is capable of all the wishes” (Volume II,13.3).We´ll finish up with a final text by Saint Bernard quoted by Landulfo:“This is the main cause to escape from wealth: that almost never can it be possessed without loving it (…) You, that are getting ready to leave all the things, remember to count among them on yourself; even more, mainly and above all, deny yourself, if you are thinking of following to the One who emptied Himself for you. Leave the very heaven burden…”
If we reread the chapters devoted to the third mansion by Teresa, with the elements mentioned ahead, our understanding will really grow. It will be summarized in our next post.