Teresa of Avila: Interior Castle: Chapter Four
An Intellectual Vision leaves a powerful impression in the “depths of the soul” but the actual event eludes description. The content of the Intellectual Vision is also much larger than the actual details or imagery.
Teresa anticipates a question about the Intellectual Vision:
Question: If after having an Intellectual Vision “the soul is not going to remember these sublime favors which the Lord grants it in this state, how can they bring it any profit?”
Answer: The “profit is so great that it cannot be exaggerated, for, although one cannot describe these favors, they are clearly imprinted in the very depths of the soul and they will never be forgotten.”
Teresa reflects on the story of Jacob and the Ladder: “He must, of course, have learned other secrets which he could not describe; for, if he had not had more interior light, he would not have understood such great mysteries merely from seeing a ladder on which angels were descending and ascending.” Teresa also references Moses and the Burning Bush and how the unstated content of his Intellectual Vision were also important. They shaped his understanding of God and powered his mission to the people of Israel.
But if we have an Intellectual Vision: How can we recall, what we cannot remember? How can we see what we no longer see? How can we hear what we no longer hear? How can we take action without direction? While we can’t “remember” the details of the Intellectual Vision, it is still engraved in the “very depths” of our soul and these things “will never be forgotten”.
But this still leaves us with a number of challenges:
- We struggle to find the words to describe this Intellectual Vision to others.
- We cannot even find the words to define this Intellectual Vision for ourselves.
- The Intellectual Vision is engraved in our souls and we are compelled to do something. But what?
- The Intellectual Vision rarely has an immediate or comfortable fit into the mainstream cultures of places like work, church, and family.
To further complicate things, the Intellectual Vision doesn’t come with a roadmap. It doesn’t even come with a compass. We must incarnate the vision in a step-by-step process. When people go into ministry, join boards, or become involved in church programs as a way to articulate their vision instead of incarnating their vision, they end up leaving ministry, quitting boards, and exiting the church.
Let the vision engraved in your soul become a reality in your life. Quit trying to explain yourself. Take action. Live the message. Then you will speak with power.
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