Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: The More an Era is Engulfed in Estrangement from God, the More it Needs Souls United to God
The divine light, the Holy Spirit, has never ceased to illumine the darkness of the fallen world. He has remained faithful to his creation, regardless of all the infidelity of creatures.
And if the darkness would not allow itself to be penetrated by the heavenly light, there were nevertheless some places always predisposed for it to blaze.
A ray from this light fell into the hearts of our original parents even during the judgment to which they were subjected.
This was an illuminating ray that awakened in them the knowledge of their guilt, an enkindling ray that made them burn with fiery remorse, purifying and cleansing, and made them sensitive to the gentle light of the star of hope, which shone for them in the words of promise of the “protoevangelium,” the original gospel.
As were the hearts of the first human beings, so down through the ages again and again human hearts have been struck by the divine ray.
Hidden from the whole world, it illuminated and irradiated them, let the hard, encrusted, misshapen matter of these hearts soften, and then with the tender hand of an artist formed them anew into the image of God.
[…] People may…be instruments of God without their knowledge and even against their will, possibly even people who neither externally nor interiorly belong to the church.
They would then be used like the hammer or chisel of the artist, or like a knife with which the vine-dresser prunes the vines.
For those who belong to the church, outer membership can also temporally precede interior, in fact can be materially significant for it (as when someone without faith is baptized and then comes to faith through the public life in the church).
But it finally comes down to the interior life; formation moves from the inner to the outer.
The deeper a soul is bound to God, the more completely surrendered to grace, the stronger will be its influence on the form of the church.
Conversely, the more an era is engulfed in the night of sin and estrangement from God the more it needs souls united to God.
And God does not permit a deficiency. The greatest figures of prophecy and sanctity step forth out of the darkest night.
But for the most part the formative stream of the mystical life remains invisible.
Certainly the decisive turning points in world history are substantially co-determined by souls whom no history book ever mentions.
And we will only find out about those souls to whom we owe the decisive turning points in our personal lives on the day when all that is hidden is revealed.