The 5th Day in the Octave of Christmas
“Simeon took the child in his arms
Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), Carmelite, Doctor of the Church
The Way of Perfection, ch. 31 (©Institute of Carmelite Studies)
“Simeon took the child in his arms”
In the Prayer of Quiet the Lord begins to show that he hears our petition. He begins now to give us his kingdom here below so that we may truly hallow and praise his name and strive that all persons do so. This prayer is something supernatural, something we cannot procure through our own efforts.
In it the soul enters into peace or, better, the Lord puts it at peace by his presence, as he did to the just Simeon, so that all the faculties are calmed. The soul understands in another way, very foreign to the way it understands through the exterior senses, that it is now close to its God and that not much more would be required for it to become one with him in union. This is not because it sees him with the eyes either of the body or of the soul. The just Simeon didn't see any more than the glorious, little, poor child. For by the way the child was clothed and by the few people that were in the procession, Simeon could have easily judged the babe to be the son of poor people rather than the Son of our heavenly Father. But the child himself made Simeon understand. And this is how the soul understands here, although not with much clarity. For the soul, likewise, fails to understand how it understands. But it sees it is in the kingdom, or at least near the King who will give the kingdom to the soul. And seemingly the soul has so much reverence that it doesn't even dare ask for this.