Following the great figures of Carmel: Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross had a gift for poetry. The collection is entitled “Despite the Night”. Here are excerpts from her most famous poems.
“Finally at the end of a long journey. Who can understand? I am yours forever and ever You deign to lean over the least of your creatures, you reach out to me-I want to never let go of it.”
“Lord, how high the waves are, how dark the night is! Wouldn't you like to enlighten it for me who watches alone?
Hold the rudder firmly, keep your confidence and stay calm. Your boat is worth it to me, I want to take it to port.
Keep your eyes fixed on the compass without fail. It helps to reach the goal through nights and storms. The on-board compass needle shudders but holds. She'll show you the course I want you to take.
Keep trust and remain calm: through nights and storms the will of God, faithful, guides you, if your heart watches."
“The priest leads me to the steps of the altar: I incline my forehead, the holy water flows on my head.
Lord, is it possible for someone to be reborn after half their life has passed? You said it, and it became a reality for me. The weight of the mistakes and penalties of my long life has left me. On my
feet, I received the white coat placed on my shoulders, a luminous symbol of purity! I have carried in my hand the candle whose flame announces that your holy life is burning in me. My heart has now become the manger that awaits your presence.”
“Who are you, sweet light, who fills me and illuminates the darkness of my heart?
Like a mother's hand, you drive me, and if you let go of me, I can't take one more step.
You are the space surrounding my being and sheltering it in you.
Would you reject him? He would sink into the abyss of nothingness from whence you drew him to lift him up to the light.
You, who are closer to me than I am to myself, who are more inward than my own heart, and yet elusive, inconceivable, beyond every name, Holy Spirit, eternal Love!
“Darkness is the night of the tomb, and yet the brilliance of the sacred wounds crosses the thickness of the stone, lifts it up and puts it aside like a feather; from the darkness of the tomb rises the resurrected body of the Son of Man, dazzling with light, radiating with light.
Without sound, he comes out of the cave at dawn, peaceful, from a morning peace, a light mist covers the earth; it is now crossed by light, sparkling with whiteness and the Savior walks into the silence of the earth that is barely awakening.
Under his divine footsteps blossom bright flowers, which no one has ever seen, and wherever his garment touches the ground, the earth begins to shine with a burst of emerald.
The blessing flows from his hands on the fields and meadows, it springs forth abundant and clear and in the morning dew of the fullness of grace nature radiates with joy and praises the Risen One as he advances in silence before men.”
“At the foot of the Cross, I stood with you today and felt clearly, as never before, that you became our Mother here at the foot of the Cross.
A mother's fidelity here already takes so much to heart to fulfill her son's last will! You were also the handmaid of the Lord.
The being and the life of God made man were engraved entirely in your being and in your life, and that is how you took his in your heart.
By the blood of your heart, by your bitter sufferings, you have acquired a new life for each of these souls.
You know us all with our wounds, our weaknesses, you also know the heavenly splendor whose love of your Son desires to flood us with eternal clarity. So you take it to heart to steer our steps.
No price seems too high to bring us to the point. But to those whom you have chosen to follow you and surround you one day near the eternal throne, it is up to you to stand with you here near the Cross.
Through the blood of their hearts, through bitter sufferings, they have a mission to acquire the heavenly splendor for all those souls of great value that the Son of God has entrusted to them and given to them as an inheritance.”