An extract from 'The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila'
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Let us now return to our orchard, or flower-garden, and behold now how the trees begin to fill with sap for the bringing forth of the blossoms, and then of the fruit - the flowers and the plants, also, their fragrance. This illustration pleases me; for very often, when I was beginning - and our Lord grant that I have really begun to serve His Majesty - I mean, begun in relation to what I have to say of my life, - it was to me a great joy to consider my soul as a garden, and our Lord as walking in it. I used to beseech Him to increase the fragrance of the little flowers of virtues - which were beginning, as it seemed to bud - and preserve them, that they might be to His glory; for I desired nothing for myself. I prayed Him to cut those He liked, because I already knew that they would grow the better.

I say cut; for there are times in which the soul has no recollection of this garden - everything seems parched, and there is no water to be had for preserving it - and in which it seems as if the soul had never possessed any virtue at all. This is the season of heavy trials; for our Lord will have the poor gardener suppose all the trouble he took in maintaining and watering the garden to have been taken to no purpose. Then is the time really for weeding and rooting out every plant, however small it may be, that is worthless, in the knowledge that no efforts of ours are sufficient, if God withholds from us the waters of His grace; and in despising ourselves as being nothing, and even less than nothing. In this way we gain great humility - the flowers grow afresh.

O my Lord and my Good! I cannot utter these words without tears, and rejoicing in my soul; for Thou wilt be thus with us, and art with us, in the Sacrament. We may believe so most truly; for so it is, and the comparison I make is a great truth; and, if our sins stand not in the way, we may rejoice in Thee, because Thou rejoicest in us; for Thou hast told us that Thy delight is to be with the children of men. O my Lord, what does it mean? Whenever I hear these words, they always give me great consolation, and did so even when I was most wicked.