The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa

I am in Rome, and, I have fallen in love!  This city has seduced me.

I have been to Rome before.  I actually wasn’t so fond of it.  But, today, on this glorious, “It was supposed to be raining” day, I fell in love.

I know why there is no need for a Red Light District in Rome.  It is because the sensuality of the city itself makes you want to run and take a lover.  The sights, the tempo, the sensuality of its inhabitants, and the smells!  It is the week before Easter and every pasticceria is filled with Easter treats and the smell is so good it makes your mouth water. And, those Italian men!  Maybe it is because I grew up in a town of Italian-Americans, but Italian men just slay me.

Speaking of slaying, one of today’s highlights included the Santa Maria della Vittoria Church, which contains one of my favorite sculptures, The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.

The swooning nun and the angel with a spear are taken from a passage described by Teresa of Avila, a mystical cloistered Discalced Carmelite reformer and nun, in her autobiography, ‘The Life of Teresa of Jesus’ (1515–1582). Her experience of religious ecstasy in her encounter with the angel is described as follows:

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying.

I’m sorry, this may have sounded like “religious ecstasy” back in the 1500’s, but to this woman who has spent one month in the Red Light District, it sounds like “religious porn!”

I also went to my favorite building in all of Rome and possibly anywhere, the Pantheon. Built in the Middles Ages, the Pantheon was the temple of  “all the gods.” It’s open roof, making it easier to connect to the higher power, makes me feel at peace and whole.

And finally, the best way to top off 6 hours of walking, gelato!!!

Brava, Roma!  Te Amo!

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