In Chapter 34 of the Way of Perfection, St. Teresa is advising the sisters on the the value of recollection, or prayerful gathering together of all the senses and the awareness of the presence of Christ, immediately after receiving Communion. It is then, after all, that “in the most Blessed Sacrament [we] have Him just as truly present as He was” when he walked in the world.
“If you have to pray to Him by looking at His picture, it would seem to me foolish. You would be leaving the Person Himself in order to look at a picture of Him. Wouldn’t it be silly if a person we love very much and of whom we have a portrait came to see us and we stopped speaking with him so as to carry on a conversation with the portrait? Do you want to know when it is very good to have a picture of Christ and when it is a thing in which I find much delight? When He himself is absent, or when by means of a great dryness He wants to make us feel He is absent. It is then a wonderful comfort to see an image of One whom we have so much reason to love. Wherever I turn my eyes, I would want to see His image. With what better or more pleasing thing can our eyes by occupied with than with One who loves so much and who as in Himself all goods. Unfortunate are those heretics who through their own fault have lost the consolation among others.
“But after having received the Lord, since you have the Person Himself present, strive to close the eyes of the body and open those of the soul and look into your own heart. for I tell you, and tell you again, and would like to tell you many times that you should acquire the habit of doing this every t time you receive Communion and strive to have such a conscience that you will be allowed to enjoy this blessing frequently. Though He comes disguised, the disguise as I have said, does not prevent Him from being recognized in many ways, in conformity with the desire we have to see Him. And you can desire to see Him so much that He will reveal Himself to you entirely. ”
The Way of Perfection, chapter 34, paragraphs 11-12.
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