To explain things better I want to use a helpful comparison.

The silkworm…

Well once this silkworm is grown it begins to spin silk and build the house wherein it will die.

His Majesty Himself, as He does in this prayer of union, becomes the dwelling place we build for ourselves.

Therefore, courage my daughters! Let’s be quick to do this work and weave this little cocoon by getting rid of our self-love and self-will, our attachment to any earthly thing.

Let it die; let this silkworm die, as it does in completing what it was created to do! And you will see how we see God, as well as ourselves placed inside His Greatness, as is this little silkworm within its cocoon.

Now, then, let’s see what this silkworm does, for that’s the reason I’ve said everything else. When the soul is in this prayer, truly dead to the world, a little white butterfly comes forth. Oh, greatness of God! How transformed the soul is when it comes out of this prayer after having been placed within the greatness of God and so closely joined with Him for a little while.

Oh, now, to see the restlessness of this little butterfly, even though it has never been quieter and calmer in its life, is something to praise God for! And the difficulty is that it doesn’t know where to alight and rest. Since it has experienced such wonderful rest, all that it sees on earth displeases it, especially if God gives it this wine often.

So, there is no reason to be surprised that this little butterfly seeks rest again since it feels estranged from earthly things. Well then, where will the poor little thing go? It can’t return to where it came from; as was said, we are powerless, however much we do, to bring about this favour until God is again pleased to grant it. O Lord, what new trials begin for this soul! Who would say such a thing after a favour so sublime? Briefly, in one way or another, there must be a cross while we live.

I don’t mean to say that those who arrive here do not have peace; they do have it, and it is very deep. For the trials themselves are so valuable and have such good roots that although very severe they give rise to peace and happiness.

  • St Teresa of Jesus

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