Imaginative Visions: Part Three
Interior Castle: Sixth Mansions: Chapter Nine
We carry with us the invisible presence and power of God. But sometimes God reveals Himself suddenly, for a brief time, in the form of an Imaginative Vision. Teresa gives an analogy to help us understand these visions:
“It is as though we had in a gold vessel a precious stone having the highest value and curative powers. We know very certainly that it is there although we have never seen it. But the powers of the stone do not cease to benefit us provided that we carry it with us. Although we have never seen this stone, we do not on that account cease to prize it, because through experience we have seen that it has cured us of some illnesses for which it is suited. But we do not dare look at it or open the reliquary, nor can we, because the manner of opening this reliquary is known solely by the one to whom the jewel belongs. Even though he lent us the jewel for our own benefit, he has kept the key to the reliquary and will open it, as something belonging to him, when he desires to show us the contents, and he will take the jewel back when he wants to, as he does.
Well, let us say now that sometimes he wants to open the reliquary suddenly in order to do good to the one to whom he has lent it. Clearly, a person will afterward be much happier when he remembers the admirable splendor of the stone, and hence it will remain more deeply ingrained in his memory. So it happens here: when our Lord is pleased to give more delight to this soul, he shows it clearly his most sacred humanity in the way he desires, either as he was when he went about in the world or as he is after his resurrection. And even though the vision happens so quickly that we could compare it to a streak of lightning, this most glorious image remains so engraved on the imagination that I think it would be impossible to erase it until it is seen by the soul in that place where it will be enjoyed without end.”
You’ve seen inside the reliquary. God revealed His presence and power. While a vision doesn’t make you more spiritual or virtuous than anyone else, God communicated to you this way for a purpose. Are you waiting around for another vision or moment of ecstasy? Don’t wait for that! Act on the vision He’s already given you.
For information on authenticating our mystical experiences:
- Authenticating Our Mystical Experiences: Quality
- Authenticating Our Mystical Experiences: Spiritual Guides
- Authenticating Our Mystical Experiences: Certitude
- The Authenticity of Our Spiritual Experiences
For this post I used a translation of The Interior Castle by Kieran Kavanaugh O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez O.C.D., ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies: Washington D.C. Kindle Edition.