Santa Teresa de Ávila: “It is a particular and well-known consolation that my soul feels when I take it”
Does a little bit of holy water really have power against evil? He responds with an amazing personal experience -explained in his 16th century language- by a Doctor of the Church, Saint Teresa of Ávila, in chapter 31 of his autobiography, Libro de la vida :
2. I was once in an oratory, and appeared to the left side, of an abominable figure ; I especially looked at her mouth, because she spoke to me, that I had her frightening. A great flame appeared from the body, which was all clear, without shadow. He told me terribly that he had freed me from his hands, but that he would turn to them. I had great fear and crossed myself as best I could, and disappeared and returned later. Twice this happened to me. I did not know what to do to me. There was holy water there and throw it (2) towards that part, and it never returned.
3. Once again he spent five hours tormenting me, with such terrible pains and inner and outer discomfort , that I do not think he could suffer anymore. Those who were with me were terrified and did not know what to do or how to use me. It is my habit, when the pains and bodily harm are very intolerable, to do acts as I can among myself, pleading with the Lord, if he uses that, may His Majesty give me patience and I remain so until the end of the world.
Well, as this time I saw suffering with such rigor, remedy me with these acts to be able to carry it, and determinations. The Lord wanted me to understand what the devil was like, because I saw a very abhorrent little boy, scolding me as if desperate that where he wanted to win he lost. I, as I saw him, laughed, and there was no fear, because there were some with me who could not be trusted nor knew what remedy to put to so much torment, that were great the blows that he gave me without being able to resist me, with body and head and arms. And the worst was the inner restlessness, which could not have any rest. I did not dare to ask for holy water because I did not make them afraid and because they did not understand what it was.
4. Of many times I have experience that there is nothing with which they flee more to not return . From the cross they also flee, but they return. The virtue of holy water must be great. For me it is a particular and well-known consolation that my soul feels when I take it . It is true that the very ordinary thing is to feel a recreation that I would not know how to make it understand, as an inner delightthat the whole soul comforts me. This is not a whim, or something that has happened to me only once, but very many, and watched with great warning. Let’s say as if one were very hot and thirsty and drank a jug of cold water, which seems all he felt the refreshment. I consider what great thing is all that is ordained by the Church, and regálame very much to see that they have so much force those words, that they put it in the water, so that the difference that does to what is not blessed is so great ( 3).
5. As the torment did not stop, I said: if you do not laugh, I would ask for holy water. They brought it to me and threw it to me, and I did not take advantage of it; I threw it to where it was, and at one point it went (4) and all the evil was taken away from me as if it were taken away with my hand, except that I was tired as if I had been given many sticks. It was great for me to see that, even though he is not a soul and his body, when the Lord gives him license, he does so much harm, what will he do when he possesses him for his? Diome again wins to rid me of such a mean company.
6. Again little has happened, the same thing happened to me, although it did not last so long, and I was alone. I asked for blessed water, and those who came in after they had already left (5) (who were two nuns, well believe, who by any luck told lies), smelled a very bad smell, like sulfur stone. I did not smell it. It lasted so that it could be noticed.
9. At this time also one night I thought I was drowned; and as they threw a lot of holy water, I saw a lot of them go , like whoever is performing. There are so many times that these damned torment me and so little fear that I already have them, with seeing that they can not shake if the Lord does not give them license, that it would tire your worship and I would tire if I said them.
10. […] I will only say what happened to me one night of the souls: (14) being in an oratory, having recited a night prayer (15) and saying some very devout prayers that are at the end of him very devout (16) that we have in our prayers, I was put on the book so that prayer would not end. I crossed myself, and went. Turning to begin, he turned. I think three times I started it and, until I blew holy water, I could not finish it. I saw that some souls came out of purgatory in the moment , that I had to miss them a little, and I thought if I meant to hinder this.
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I have rarely seen him take shape and many without any form, as the vision that without form is clear is there, as I said.
For Devoted Souls