My Beloved is For Me, And I am For My Beloved

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Teresa of Avila. I have always loved Teressa, who displayed a remarkable independence of spirit during a time when the Church was not particularly tolerant of independence of thought or spirit and when no one was tolerant of such a characteristic in a woman. She bent Church rules, she barely survived the Spanish Inquisition, she annoyed many with her reform of both the male and female Carmelite orders, and she did it all while suffering debilitating illness through most of her life.

I first discovered Teresa’s writings after I returned to Christianity after twenty years of practicing Buddhism. Even as she engaged in an amazing amount of active service, she authored a body of written work that many would call the cornerstone of Christian mysticism. (Even today, She is one of the most widely read writers in the Spanish language.

While her prose writings are amazing and deep, I am particularly fond of a lot of Teresa’s poetry. She wrote poems not for their own sake, but rather (in the words of one of her biographers) “as a release for the mystical fire she could no longer contain in her heart.”

For your reflection today, her feast day, here is one of Teresa’s Poems. It is titled On Those Words “Dilectus Meus Mihi”.

Myself surrendered and given,
The exchange is this:
My Beloved is for me,
And I am for my Beloved.

When the Gentle hunter
Wounded and subdued me,
In love’s arms,
My soul fallen;
New life receiving,
Thus did I exchange
My Beloved is for me,
And I am for my Beloved.

The arrow hew drew
Full of love,
My soul was oned
With her Creator.
Other love I want not,
Surrendered now to my God,
That my Beloved is for me,
And I am for my Belove
d.

One thought on “My Beloved is For Me, And I am For My Beloved

  1. I am acquainted with many of Teresa’s writings. The poem you have included in so beautiful. I didn’t realize she wrote poetry. Thank you.

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