August 22, 2019

Mystical Marriage

It has been estimated by Dr. Imbert that, from the earliest times to the present, history has recorded seventy-seven mystical marriages;

they are mentioned in connection with female saints, beatae, and venerabiles — e.g. Blessed Angela of Foligno, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Colette, St. Teresa, St. Catherine of Ricci, Venerable Marina d’Escobar, St. Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi, St. Veronica Giuliani, Venerable Maria de Agreda. Religious art has exercised its resources upon mystical marriage, considered as a festive celebration. That of St. Catherine of Alexandria is the subject of Memling’s masterpiece (in the Hospital St. Jean, Bruges), as also of paintings by Jordaens (Madrid), Corregio (Naples and the Louvre), and others. Fra Bartolommeo has done as much for St. Catherine of Siena. in speaking of the mystical nuptials of St. Agnes and of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

St Catherine of Siena, Doctor of Theology, “Body Virgin” 1347-80 AD

Mystical Marriage is employed by St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross;

In a more restricted sense, the term mystical marriage is employed by St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross to designate that mystical union with God which is the most exalted condition attainable by the soul in this life. It is also called a “transforming union“, “consummate union”, and “deification”. St. Teresa likewise calls it “the seventh resting-place” of the “interior castle”; she speaks of it only in that last treatise which she composed five years before her death, when she had been but recently raised to this degree. This state consists of three elements:

  • The first is an almost continual sense of the presence of God, even in the midst of external occupations. This favour does not of itself produce an alienation of the senses; ecstasies are more rare. Nor does this permanent sense of God’s presence suffice to constitute the spiritual marriage, but is only a state somewhat near to it.
  • The second element is a transformation of the higher faculties in respect to their mode of operation: hence the name “transforming union”; it is the essential note of the state. The soul is conscious that in its supernatural acts of intellect and of will, it participates in the Divine life and the analogous acts in God. To understand what is meant by this, it must be remembered that in heaven we are not only to enjoy the vision of God, but to feel our participation in His nature. Mystical writers have sometimes exaggerated in describing this grace; it has been said that we think by the eternal thought of God, love by His infinite love, and will by His will. Thus, they appear to confound the two natures, the Divine and the human. They are describing what they believe they feel; like the astronomers, they speak the language of appearances, which we find easier to understand. Here, as in human marriage, there is a fusion of two lives.
  • The third element consists in an habitual vision of the Blessed Trinity or of some Divine attribute. This grace is sometimes accorded before the transforming union. Certain authors appear to hold that in the transforming union there is produced a union with the Divine Word more special than that with the other two Divine Persons; but there is no proof that this is so in all cases. St. Teresa gives the name of “spiritual betrothal” to passing foretastes of the transforming union, such as occur in raptures.

 “I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond.” St Terese of Avila

Five crucial points made by Saint Teresa in Interior Castle:
1) God is always near. He dwells within the soul (“for the Spirit of God dwells within you”  – Romans 8:9);
2) Prayer is absolutely, unequivocally indispensable, with humility and self-knowledge (knowledge of my weakness
 and God’s Infinite
 Goodness) being the foundation of prayer;
3) All harm comes to us when we fail to realize that God is near; therefore, DO NOT take your gaze off of Jesus, the King of your soul;
4) The spiritual journey, although sustained by grace, demands intense effort, including detachment, mortification and perseverance, as well as patience, as the soul waits for God to act on it (desire for God is crucial); and
5) Progress on the spiritual journey is not only possible and desirable, but is also necessary.
Thomas L. Mulcahy, M.A.

Saint Teresa finished writing Interior Castle in 1557 “on the vigil of St. Andrew.”


This perfect integrity of body, enhanced by a purpose of perpetual chastity, produces a special likeness to Christ, and creates a title to one of the three “aureolæ”, which theologians mention. According to the teaching of St Thomas (supplement #96) these “aureolæ” are particular rewards added to the essential happiness of eternity, and are like so many laurel wreaths, crowning three conspicuous victories, and three special points of resemblance to Christ: the victory over the flesh in virginity, the victory over the world in martyrdom, and the victory over the devil in the preaching of the truth. The text of St. John (Rev14:1-5) is often understood of virgins, and the canticle which they alone may sing before the throne denotes the “aureola” which is given to them alone. It is most probable that the words in the fourth verse, “These are they who were not defiled with women: for they are virgins”, are really spoken of virgins, though there are also other interpretations; perhaps, those who “were purchased from among men, the “first fruits” to God and to the Lamb: And in their mouth there was found no lie: (loc. cit., 4, 5) are the martyrs; they are declared to be without spot, as in an earlier chapter (vii, 14); they are said to “have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb…. points to this Truth of Saintliness. How different is RAPTURE from the illicit theology from many protestants. Some maintain that in the “endtimes” even the unholy will be raptured to the sky to heaven. Compare the truth versus the fairy tale from Protestantism?.. Understanding the TRUTH, you find that this rapturing is ongoing for all that master the 9 “stairs in the ladder” of prayer discussed, described by Teresa of Avila & John the Cross.

About this page, please continue for the Daily Indulgence

Source. Translated by C.L. Cornish. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>

“We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee; by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.” #191 (pg125) An indulgence of 3 years (S.P. Ap., Fwb 2,1934)……The faithful who recite the Apostles’ Creed in a conjunction with the above short prayer in a spirit of devotion to the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ, are granted: An indulgence of 10years. (S.P. Ap., Feb 20,1934).

A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily

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