THE DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEAD (continued)
EVER since our Lord had first spoken to Teresa with regard to His Sacred Head as the Seat of Divine Wisdom, this devotion had been acting as a leaven on her whole spiritual life, until she came at last to view everything in its light. In November 1880, she wrote:
 "It has been the good pleasure of our dear blessed Lord to allow me to participate more fully in His dreadful bitter Passion during the past week and He has impressed on my soul, more clearly than I ever before saw it, the 6th Station where St. Veronica presents the towel to wipe the Face of our Lord. And He has made me feel that He Himself commenced that devotion which is so near and dear to Him, the Devotion to the Seat of Divine Wisdom, by impressing the image of His sacred Head and Face upon the towel she offered Him. It rewarded her piety and He comforted Himself in the glory and love and compassion which should in after ages be rendered to Him and the adorable Trinity in it. Oh Seat of divine Wisdom and guiding power which regulates and governs all the motions and love of the sacred Heart, may all minds know Thee, and all hearts love, all tongues praise Thee now and forever. Thou art truly the Light that shineth in darkness, the height and depth of knowledge, for in Thee are all things present. Oh my Lord and my God, I conjure Thee by this Seat of divine Wisdom, by the love of Thy sacred Heart and by all the Precious Blood Thou didst shed and pain and anguish Thou didst take upon Thy sacred Humanity, to imprint now Thy seal upon this Devotion and give proof positive to His Lordship of Thy holy Will in this respect. Hasten oh Lord the day when, all gazing into the depth of Thy divine Wisdom and untold love, we may commence that immeasurable bliss here of gazing into that Face which is the joy of the saints and angels, and which we too hope to enjoy for all eternity. Oh Light and Love, come quickly and slake this raging fire which consumes my whole being, come and accomplish Thy Will and my only desire. Oh Lord, make no long delay. Oh Thou Who in the beginning didst say, 'Let there be light' and it was so, speak now oh Almighty God and will that this unfailing light shine forth and the resplendent rays of this sun brighten up our minds and hearts; prove oh Lord, if such be Thy holy Will, that Thou art the living and the true God.
"Oh Mary, by all the love and homage thou hast bestowed on this Seat of divine Wisdom before which the cherubim and seraphim prostrate lie in awe and trembling fear and love, but which thou hast so often pressed to thy sacred Heart and pillowed on thy breast. Oh Mary and Joseph, all ye choirs of angels and gleaming rows of saints, raise now your minds hearts and hands to the adorable Trinity and beg of the Holy of holies to look on those warm red drops of priceless worth, the Precious Blood of Jesus which have obeyed the order of His divine Wisdom, and by His obedience unto death and all the Wisdom and Love He has shown towards His creatures to arise and spread this light over the whole face of the earth. Where would we all be if it were not for His infinite Wisdom and Love? In nothingness out of which He called all things. Then let all things acknowledge, praise, bless and love this Wisdom and adore the sacred Head of Jesus as its seat. Not my Will but Thine be done. I mean I am ready to wait Thy good pleasure, but oh Lord Thou knowest how this fire bums within me, Thou knowest all things, my love and my desires are not hidden from Thee.
"Oh dear rev. Father, I trust this is not anything wrong in me, I mean to wish so ardently to have this Devotion established when it does not seem to be His holy Will to give the proof the Bishop desires as yet. I try to wish to wait His time, but at times such a sea of fire, I mean such a burning desire comes upon me to have His holy Will accomplished, I mean to have the Seat of divine Wisdom honoured after the manner He has made known to me, that I am so weakened by its fury that I know not how I live. Then I know not what I wish, for I feel I could live for ever and endure with pleasure the very torments of Hell if it would gain one act of love and adoration to Him (in this form) Whom I know and love above all things. And at the same time such an impetuosity in the soul to escape from this earthly prison that no tongue can express and no one understand, but they to whom our dear Lord imparts it."
The following was the reply to a question of Father Powell's:
Nov. 11, 1880.
 "In honour of the Sacred Head as Seat of divine Wisdom and Shrine of the powers of the holy Soul and intellectual faculties and centre of the senses of the body, I write dear rev. Father in obedience to your wish. Oh my love and my Lord, my God and my All, help me to gather in short that which You have shown me in such abundance. Thou hast shown me the light of Thy countenance and let me taste how sweet Thou art, Thou hast taken me into Thy house and instructed my understanding, and knowledge Thou hast infused which no man could speak, but oh Jesus my beloved Spouse, in glory to Thy holy Name and in honour of Thy sacred Head and love of Thy sacred Heart, I write with certainty of doing what is required in obedience.
"I asked our dear B. Lord to let me know what you desired, and He opened to me such a flood of light and knowledge that it seems to me that all thoughts of men and words are as so many ciphers when we would try to express what He shows and makes us feel, but I am doing what you desire. The question you asked me was (I think) why our dear B. Lord wished His sacred Head to be honoured as the 'Shrine of the powers of His holy Soul', when the soul was certainly all over the body and the head was not considered the acting seat of all the powers of the soul. And this is what I understand — that as the Reason or Intellect in us is that part of the soul that is nearest to God — is in a special manner the image of God, nay, is the very light of God in the soul, in which we see God as He is, and ourselves as we are, and are capable of judging right from wrong. And as the head is the seat of the reasoning powers, and the faculties of the mind repose therein, so from the sacred Head shine forth in a blaze of resplendent light all knowledge, wisdom, understanding and a guiding power to direct and govern the Will and Affections of the sacred Heart; and in this is seen the connection of the desired Devotion — the ruling powers of the sacred Heart are seated in the sacred Head. I will not enter further into detail for I think what you wish to know is clear. The soul pervades every part of the body, but as the reasoning powers are the highest faculties of the soul, and as the head is said to contain or be the Shrine of these faculties in a special way and the memory is said to exist in the brain, so the reason guides and directs the will and love or affections of the human heart. The head is the highest and noblest part of man but I do not mean that the soul is divided, no, these three powers though really distinct cannot be separated no more than the Persons of the adorable Trinity could be separated — they form together but one soul which is immortal and perfect in its powers when filled with sanctifying Grace as is the holy Soul of Jesus. And our dear B. Lord gave me to understand that though He was much offended by the sins committed through the weakness of the will and misled affections, yet the sins of the intellect far exceeded those in number and in magnitude. And as the sins of intellectual pride were now (more than ever) drawing away souls from the love and service of His holy church and filling Hell with souls, when this so called light of the nineteenth century (as a will o' the wisp) is leading men to think only of gaining painted shadows and empty bubbles, giving them in appearance what they are really taking from them in substance; when men are taught to eat poison and are fed with such and given to drink of a stream of (so called) knowledge, the waters of which are pestilential and deadly and as our Lord says 'By their fruits you shall know them', so we see at once that this knowledge is not of God, but of evil, this fruit is not from the Tree of Life. So when this light which men set up for themselves would lead away all (I mean the number that are guided by it are so numerous), Jesus the true Light will arise and shed true light and wisdom and heat over the face of the earth. He will give us to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, He will feed us with good fruit, the wheat of His elect, and from the wine which makes virgins He will give us to drink nectar and honey. He gives freely and we draw abundantly from the essence of sweetness and good things. The Sun of Justice shall arise and we shall see Him in the very light of His countenance, and if we allow ourselves to be guided by this light, He will open the eyes of the soul. He will instruct the understanding, He will recollect the memory, He will feed the imagination with real and profitable substance, He will guide and bend the will, He will fill the hearing with good things and the heart with all it can desire."
She gained fresh light and saw more clearly into the meaning of the Devotion with each of the great feasts of the Church's year.
"The Annunciation, 1881.
 "Almighty God has on several occasions instructed me regarding the great mystery of the Incarnation and I feel sure I have written on it before. I see more clearly now though why our dear Lord is called the Word, because He is produced by the Father's thought or contemplation of Himself, for St. John says: 'In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. etc. and the Word was made flesh.' I think that in all it pleases the Almighty One to show me He wishes to instruct me more and more fully concerning His infinite Wisdom and love. And although the Son and the Holy Ghost are equally powerful, yet the almighty power is attributed in a special manner to the Eternal Father, and as the three Divine Persons have the same wisdom and goodness, yet the Wisdom is particularly attributed to the Son and the Goodness to the Holy Ghost, and we render a great homage to the ever Blessed Trinity by adoring our dear B. Lord's sacred Head as the 'Seat of divine Wisdom'."
"The Ascension, 1881.
 "When I knelt to adore the thrice Blessed Trinity for all the glory of the sacred Humanity, I was caught up as it were and dissolved in the excessive heat and glory of the Sun of divine Justice, and I heard sounds of praise and songs of joy in the heavens which echoed and re-echoed from the earth, and they were hymns of thanksgiving and admiration of the Seat of divine Wisdom. Then I saw reflected in the large crystal the glory which the ever blessed Trinity would receive from the Devotion to the sacred Head and the numberless souls that would be guided by its light to the bosom of the true Church and eventually to the throne of God. I understand too that this should be the one great means of the conversion of poor dear England, and that it was not far distant when she would bow her understanding to the obedience of faith and repair in some manner through this Devotion the great evil of her apostasy, and that Mary's name and Mary's Son should be more honoured than ever they had been dishonoured by our people."
 "I saw how the sacred Head was in a special manner the dwelling place of the Holy Ghost, and as at the moment of Creation the Spirit of God moved upon the waters, so He is ever enshrined in the Sea of glass and His brightness is the light thereof, and His love the Sun that gives light and governs all things in this terrestrial and celestial Paradise as the sun rules the things of earth. I have understood from our dear B. Lord that He wished the great mystery of the Incarnation to be made very clear (or taught very carefully) to the children."
On Corpus Christi our Lord again appeared to her:
June 19, 1881.
 "Then He really came and gave me holy Communion Himself and drew me entirely into Himself, even as a raindrop into the ocean, and there He represented to me the great desire He had to have the Seat of Divine Wisdom honoured, and He instructed me in this manner: that the uncreated Wisdom of God is God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and that God the Son, becoming man and being the Image of the uncreated Wisdom of God, built for Himself a House which is the sacred Head 'for Wisdom has built herself a house.' And as Jesus has promised to remain with us forever, so He and the Spirit of Truth etc. will guide and govern and enlighten His Church to the end of time. And I saw Him as a sun drawing up vapour from the earth, so will souls warmed by the heat of this Sun of divine Justice and guided by its light ascend to the great white throne to adore the ever blessed Trinity in Persons and Unity in Essence. — Then, when I went into church, He urged me more and more to make known His desire, and there seemed to be a crown of fire which consumed His sacred Head and ate into the very brain and He said: 'Behold the burning desire I have to have my sacred Head honoured as I have instructed you.'"
July 16, 1881.
 "Our divine Lord has made me feel that it is with this special Devotion as with the mustard seed, that, although so little known and less practiced, it will be the great Devotion of the Church in time to come, for in it the whole of the sacred Humanity is honoured — the holy Soul and intellectual Faculties, which have not hitherto been specially venerated and which are nevertheless the noblest part of the human being, and the sacred Head-sacred Heart, in fact the whole of His sacred Body. I mean that the members of His adorable Body and five senses were ruled and governed by the intellectual and spiritual powers, and we venerate each act they suggested and the Body performed; for if we move only our hands, we must use the powers of the soul if it be only the will to do it or anything else; but in each action of the God Man we see an infinite degree of wisdom, power, knowledge and love, and in the motive of each act we see the perfect fulfilment of the law, 'loving God above all things and our neighbour as ourselves'. In other words the honour and glory of His Eternal Father and love and zeal for the salvation of man. And who can speak of that Love? ...
"He urged me to pray for true light, faith and wisdom for all, especially heretics and all poor sinners, and made me feel that the people of our dear land should shine in the brightness of this true Light and bring back more souls through this Devotion than they had scattered through the darkness of their infidelity. And it seemed to me that Mary prayed with me and reminded Him her divine Son that this England is called her Dower and He filled her hands with graces and blessing for us and a new glory as it were shone around her the reflection of the glory that surrounds the Seat of divine Wisdom. And our B. Lord renewed all the promises He has made to bless etc. all who practise or further this devotion in any way."
On the feast of the Epiphany, 1882, she was filled with consolation when our Lady came and placed the divine Infant in her arms.
 "And as I beheld Him, the eternal Son of God and Mary's Son, our dear little Infant Jesus, that instant I perceived these words infused into the very centre of my soul: 'Take courage my loved One, for the Seat of divine Wisdom will be known, praised, and adored as I wish and I will glorify my Name in thee.'"
And again He showed her the great things that would come to pass in the church of St. Alexander which she loved so well:
 "He brought very clearly and distinctly before me how in this church He would be honoured and how it would be filled with worshippers from far and near and loving hearts will gather together and praise glorify and thank Him, making reparation to the Seat of divine Wisdom, and holy souls will comfort and condole with Him, honouring His divine Soul, and here souls will be drawn to His Soul and they will be instructed by Him in the Wisdom of His sacred Head and burnt with the fire of His loving Heart. Here in the sacrament of His Wisdom and Love they will see things as they really are, and He will bless them and all who truly adore Him and honour Him as He desires with an everlasting benediction."
Ardently she longed to see that day and prayed incessantly that she might be allowed to know clearly what it was our Lord was asking of her, but still she was content to await His good pleasure in disclosing it.
 "On Saturday I was so overpowered and annihilated, crushed almost out of existence, and when I got to my room and was about to prepare my meditation a deep recollection came upon me and our dear B. Lord drew me entirely into Himself. The powers of the soul were not able to act. The eye of the soul was wide open in God drinking in knowledge and strength, love and confidence, yet the faculties of the mind I think are overpowered with God's infinite beauty, power and awful purity; and the love God has for Himself and the work of His hand which is felt and understood very forcibly in the soul is too great for the human heart to bear, and this I think causes a kind of death to the body while the soul reposes in God: a sweet though agonising death which gives a new life. — I felt (though I did not see any form of a dove or any sensible representation) that the Holy Spirit of God hovered over me, or rather saturated me through and through, and showed me that the gifts He had entrusted to me were for His glory and that of the Father and the Son. And He gave me a fortitude to act and instructed me that I had to do His work and that I must not shrink from the duties He would impose on me in reference to the Devotion to the Seat of Wisdom and His holy Soul, yet He did not tell me what that work was and I did not ask. I feel it is much more perfect to wait though it seems so long, yet I know what He says must be, and though He urges me earnestly yet I know all time is as nothing in His sight and, if it pleases Him that I should not do anything but be consumed with this desire, then His holy Will be done. I am all Thine do with me what Thou wilt! And when I find myself saying to Him: 'How long oh Lord wilt Thou delay?' I check myself and say, 'Not my will but Thine be done.'"
During the month of June our Lord again impressed upon her the infinite love of His sacred Heart and how He suffered from the neglect and cruel ingratitude of His children.
 "There is no pang like this loving in vain as it were which Jesus suffers so intensely. No spear can pierce so acutely as coldness from the souls He has loved unto death. Here He taught me a little of that by allowing me to enter as it were into that divine and loving Heart and so participate in some way in this pang of His sacred Heart. He gave me holy Communion twice on Friday, once before you and once after, towards two or three o'clock in the afternoon. It seems as though a sword of fire and light pierced me through and through my soul and body saturating me in its flame. Then on Sunday He seemed to bathe me in His most Precious Blood and showed me how the Devotion to His holy Soul sorrowful unto death and to the Seat of divine Wisdom was only another means which His love urged to draw us more closely to that sacred Heart. It is not in any way intended to take the place of the Devotion to His sacred Heart, only to complete and further it. And He again impressed upon me that all the promises that He made concerning the practice and devotions of love to His sacred Heart should be bestowed a hundred fold upon those who practise devotion to the Seat of divine Wisdom. And I understand that His time is as hand and we will not have to wait so long as you have given me to understand."
Although to the end of her life Teresa recurred again and again to this all-absorbing subject, and though she never ceased to pray and do all she could for the spread of the Devotion, the following letter, dated just before Dr. O'Reilly bade her cease writing, is the last in which she enters in any detail into its meaning. It gives a most striking diagnosis of the pride of intellect and the rebellion against authority which are the crying evils of the day, and in it she again describes the favoured soul which was once more shown to her, but now more beautiful than ever — so beautiful in fact that at first she mistook it for our Lady. How far was she in her humility from thinking that this glorious soul could by any possibility be her own!
 "He showed me how man outrages the divine Wisdom by the abuse of the three powers of His immortal soul and by his sins — stamps out as far as he can the image of the triune God in himself and by mad folly tries also to rob nature of its God, tries to prove that matter is eternal and creative in itself and that there is no God or need for a God; that when nature decays in one form it only assumes another, that for instance that decayed bodies evaporate into gasses of different kinds and are scattered in the air — that these atoms accumulate and adhere together forming different substances and reappear as a new creature, and that so matter and nature are creative of themselves and need no creative or providential power to call them into being or maintain them in existence. That man in his pride of intellect and perverseness of will tries to drag down the great eternal Three in One, the Beginning and End of all things, from heaven and blots Him out of earth; that infidelity is rife, and man denying God puts away from himself any law or restraint against his vile passions, for if there is no God there cannot be a divine law commanding this and forbidding that. Oh my God, my God, Look not upon our sins but upon the Face of Thy Christ — Listen to His dying prayer, Father forgive them for they know not what they do — oh look on the gaping wounds and the warm flowing Blood and have pity upon us and save and pardon us for this same most Precious Blood.
"Man too darkens his understanding by his infidelity. Take away the sun and we cannot have light or heat. Take away faith which is the light of the soul and all is decay and desolation; if we have not faith we cannot love or serve God. If we do not believe there is a God, well may God in His wrath say that man is flesh that is quite corrupt. Now God must have some recompense for all these blasphemies and outrages against Himself as God. It is worldly wisdom which is folly that is drawing down souls into an abyss of darkness which is Hell, and as of old when the heart of man set his affections against God, the sacred Heart of Jesus really human yet divine, because (united to the Person of God the Son) belonging to God the Son made Man, was the atoning object and Jesus revealed the burning love of His sacred Heart and complained of man's coldness and demanded a reparation and condolence, and souls were warmed in that furnace of divine love and souls burnt again with charity towards the God of Love — now too when infidelity and pride of intellect and open rebellion against God and His revealed law, self will and self-conceit is filling the minds of men and drawing them away from the sweet yoke of Jesus and binding them with the cold heavy chains of self-seeking, private judgment, and abandoning all right to be governed and wishing to govern oneself, disobedience to God and His holy Church — that same Jesus the incarnate Word, the Wisdom of the Father who became obedient even unto the death of 'the Cross, again gives us an antidote, an object which can and does, and will in every way make up and repays a hundred fold the debt that is contracted to the infinite Justice of God.
Oh what atonement could be made
For guiltiness like this?
Or who such ransom could have paid
To save from the abyss?
See there a victim nature scorns,
The Head of Jesus crowned with thorns.
"Our dear B. Lord has again and again impressed upon me His great desire to have His sacred Head honoured as the 'Seat of divine Wisdom', and as it is the abuse of reasoning powers which is now working such devastation in souls, it is the faculties of the mind and the powers of the soul that are sinning against God, so He complains, ah so pitifully, that His Soul is sorrowful even unto death. And He impresses upon me more and more that His Soul is not known, His Soul is not loved, and tells me not by actual words, but He infuses this complaint and saturates the soul with this feeling, which is as it were the overflowing of His holy and adorable Soul and makes known in an unmistakable manner that He wishes His holy Soul to be comforted, and shows and makes me feel that sorrow and anguish that so wrung from Him that complaint to His Eternal Father.
"And as the angel of old told Abraham that God would find a Victim for the holocaust, and turning round he found a lamb, a male lamb of under one year old caught by its horns in the thorns of the hedge, so now God again provides a Victim, a peace offering, a sacrifice of propitiation, 'the Seat of created and uncreated Wisdom crowned with thorns'.
"And our obedience and faith, like Abraham's, must first be true and tried — we must bow our understanding to the obedience of faith and God will show us the Lamb caught in the thorns which He particularly and expressly wishes to be a sacrifice to His outraged Deity, to His infinite and Eternal Wisdom. Ah, how beautifully God shows me the likeness of this Lamb which He distinctly says through the mouth of His inspired writers was provided by God. It was caught in the thorns, then it was sacrificed, its blood was shed, its heart was pierced and it was consumed by the fire of sacrifice. So the sacred Head crowned with thorns and the dewdrops of Precious Blood are as damask roses telling of the Love that draws forth those streamlets of ruby red...
"I think it is the same soul that our divine Lord has before shown me and whom He loves with an especial love, whom He has lavished His choicest gifts and graces upon, whose whole being seems to rest in Him, in whose soul is reflected very perfectly the Triune God, Whose will is in all things one with His, who is burning with and in the flames that consume His sacred Heart, whose soul gives Him great adoration, who condoles with Him in His sorrows, who is as He gave me to understand an angel of consolation to Him. And He showed me very clearly how perfectly this soul adored the Seat of divine Wisdom and rendered comfort to His holy Soul. I think He wishes to teach me by this holy soul what gifts and graces He bestows on those who give themselves up entirely to Him. And if it were only to reflect one single ray of glory to God such as shines in such profusion from this one, oh it would be worth trying for, for all eternity, she gives such glory to her Creator, her Redeemer, her Spouse. Her love is all for Him and her zeal for souls and His glory is as the pillar of fire which went before the People of Israel. Our dear blessed Lord seems to me to love this soul so tenderly and He gave me to understand that He will reveal the brightness of His shining in her, that multitudes may be drawn to love Him, to praise and thank Him for the gifts He has given her. She is truly a Child of Mary, an ornament to the Church. Oh how He humbled me in this soul, and gave me, poor worm of the earth, confidence and love for Him and His work, for I love this soul on account of the glory she gives to our dear divine Spouse, and I thought I would ask you to let me offer our undertakings to Him through her to Mary And I begged of Him through the love He has for Himself to show His work in her and thus glorify His name. I begged of Him through the Wisdom of His sacred Head etc, etc. and for Mary's sake, for I have heard Him by those words in the soul, show her to Mary and tell her that she is His Spouse, that she has risen early to meet Him and the dewdrops are on her feet etc. The dewdrops of His most Precious Blood and roses encircle her brow. I think He has given to her the marks of His Precious Wounds and she is sealed with His Seal, and Wisdom is on her lips. Oh how it makes me want to do something for Him, how puny we are and how little we see we have done when God shows us a generous soul like this. I have asked our dear Lord to show her to you and others, for I know you will glorify God in His wonderful work in Her soul. Is it presumption of me to wish to speak with this saint? To hear her say that sweet name of love, Jesus, for I feel that it would make me love Him more. Blessed be God in His angels and His saints, Amen.
"When I last saw this soul, at first I thought it was our dear b. Lady, for it seemed to me that the angels of God gazed at her in wondering admiration, and yet the glory which now ascends to the blessed Trinity from this soul and the graces that God showers down upon the earth through her is wonderfully increased. Ah how wonderful is God in Saints. Our dear b. Lord instructed me that the Devotion will be acknowledged and will rapidly spread and draw many souls to Him. I often find myself begging of Him to choose someone who is to reveal the longing wish of His sacred Heart to have the Seat of divine Wisdom honoured. I feel that everyone must think that our dear Lord could not throw such pearls to such swine as I am, but I check myself in obedience and say: 'Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven'. I know I asked Him to let this favoured soul be the messenger of His love for she knows of and practises this Devotion. Will you ask our dear Lord to let this soul if it be His holy Will be an instrument instead of your obedient child,
"In the sacred Head and loving Heart,
"Enfant de Marie."