On Those Words "I am for My Beloved"

by Teresa of Avila

English version by Megan Don
Original Language Spanish

Already I gave myself completely,
and have changed in such a way
That my Beloved is for me
and I am for my Beloved.

When the gentle hunter shot me
and left me in all my weakness,
in the arms of love
my soul fell
and being charged with new life
I have changed in such a way
That My Beloved is for me
and I am for my Beloved.

He pierced me with an arrow
laced with the herbs of love
and my soul became one
with her Creator;
I no longer want another love,
since I have given myself to my God,
That My Beloved is for me
and I am for my Beloved.

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and we are also in the season of Lent. I thought this meditation on love and the soul's yielding to the Beloved was just right.

I was sent this poem directly by the translator, Megan Don. She is the author of Falling Into the Arms of God: Meditations with Teresa of Avila -- a truly beautiful collection of contemplations inspired by the writings of Teresa of Avila.

According to Megan Don, this poem by Teresa of Avila was written about her well-known mystical experience of feeling her heart being pierced with a rapturous love by an angel. This mystical experience also inspired the great Bernini to sculpt the controversial mystically erotic sculpture of Teresa.

A few of my own thoughts:

Saints and mystics the world over speak of the heart being touched, pierced, opened. They speak of being surprised by love. The problem is, we hear the world "love" and "heart" and we think of the simple sweetness of Valentine's Day cards. We aren't encouraged to develop a real concept of what these great souls are attempting to describe.

When the mind settles and the soul waits in courageously vulnerable readiness, the most amazing thing happens: the heart blooms. The heart opens and expands. Effortlessly, the heart reaches out, with a wider span than you ever imagined possible, embracing all of creation. We become flooded with something beyond feeling or emotion; there is a sense of finally recognizing one's very nature within the heart. That this is home. That this is the seat of your being.

When focused inward, you are enraptured, filled with bliss. When focused outward, you are an embodiment of love, love that permeates everything. We begin to feel so much more, all the world's suffering and searching and occasional surges of life, and it is all beautiful and somehow a part of us.

Think about these things. Consider what it means to have your heart truly "pierced" by the Divine. How do we prepare ourselves? How can we, in full honesty, say, "I gave myself completely," and "I am for my Beloved"? What is the weakness or vulnerability that the "gentle hunter" leaves us in? What does it mean to be "changed with new life"? The big question: What is the real experience that allows you to say, "my soul became one / with her Creator"?


Have a beautiful Valentine's Day afterglow, fully at rest, fully alive in the heart.



Recommended Books: Teresa of Avila

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty The Essential Mystics: Selections from the World's Great Wisdom Traditions For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time
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On Those Words "I