“Happy Pumpkin Day!”


“Happy Pumpkin Day!” the mommy said to her four-year-old girl Emily, home early from preschool to celebrate the national event. Mommy (whose real name was Melissa, incidentally) wielded a foot-long carving knife, with which she summarily stabbed the rotund pumpkin sitting perched on the kitchen island. With surgical precision and the deftness of a sculptor, she traced the blade along the sinuous permanent marker stencil lines she had drawn while Emily was at school, so that the gutted cut-out would be a laughing jack-o-lantern in bad need of orthodontia. Emily ran precariously around the knife-wielding lady clapping her hands, jumping off up and down, and giggling like someone gassed with nitrous oxide. Ah, the giddy innocence of youth!

“This pumpkin is about as round as my tummy was when I was pregnant with you, Emily!” Melissa cried wiping the stringy saffron innards on her smock.

“Really, Mommy, really?” Emily laughed on the verge of a delirious tumble onto the hardwood floors. Neglectful of her immature antics, Melissa continued to carve hard, cutting into the raw matter of the gourd to free the form within and shaping substance under her maternal hand. She sawed like a woman gone mad, releasing all the suppressed frustrations endemic to the cult of domesticity onto the shell of that poor pumpkin to unleash the orange fluff within.

“Will we eat the seeds, Mommy?” Emily inquired presciently.

“Sure, honey… once… I… get… them… out!” Melissa replied with an exhalation of relief as the piece that would be the mouth popped out. “We’ll have to salt them and bake them before we eat them. Now, for the eyes…” Melissa muttered absently as Emily hummed the nonsense lyrics from a television show in the backdrop. Before dipping the sharp edge into the triangular socket space, Emily thought she heard a rustle, not from Emily… but from the pumpkin itself. A haunted pumpkin, she mused, and proceeded to slice the eye open. The noise continued, and she thought she spotted movement in the russet pulp of the pumpkin. Probably just something that came loose when you pulled out the other piece, Melissa explained rationally to herself. Suddenly, the triangle eye slot popped out of its own accord!

Melissa recoiled in horror with a shriek: “It’s alive!” She dropped the metal scythe with a clatter, almost gashing Emily’s bare foot.

“Mommy, you sound like Frankenstein!”

Melissa’s brain was reeling. Was this some sort of cruel prank? Did she buy a pumpkin from the automated Halloween toy aisle to spook the trick-or-treaters? She stood there and stared, knife in hand. A phrase from Ovid’s Amores spontaneously returned to her from her days as a Classics major before she had become a wife and mother: “Why do you cheat the vine of thriving grapes, and why do you cruelly rip the unripened fruits from the tree? Its ripeness will flow of its own volition; allow things produced by nature to come into being.” Latin and Greek had been her pre-connubial bliss, conjugations of another kind; she relished what wonders could be extracted from words pregnant with meaning.

Melissa gingerly picked up the knife and inspected the pumpkin at yard’s length.

“What is it, Mommy?” Emily tugged at the sleeve of her flowery blouse.

“Nothing, Emily. Everything will be fine.” The wooden handle was clammy in her palm. She held it up in a protective stance, prepared to spear any creature that emerged from the hollowed hole in the Halloween pumpkin. What Hollywood shenanigans were these?

Intuitively sensing her mother’s terror, Emily clung to Melissa’s skirted hip like an endearingly parasitic appendage. “Mommy,” she whimpered, “I’m scared.” More ominously still, Melissa thought her radio antennae hearing picked up a whimper coming from the pumpkin, whenever she cocked her ear in its direction.

Just then, a human hand stuck out from the nascent smile, and then… a foot! The limbs of an infant wriggled to be set free.

“Moommmmyyy, what’s happening?” Emily burst forth in sobs. “It’s a baby in there!”

“I don’t know, Emily, stay behind me!” Melissa’s knees were quaking and a cold sweat broke out upon her brow. What kind of sick joke is this? How could…? Her mind could not even process what was transpiring before her very eyes. It was like a foreign monster from the black lagoon, or something out of a David Lynch surrealist film. A pumpkin homunculus!

Mustering her motherly aplomb, Melissa took the plunge and took the small hand gesturing pleadingly for air from the placental pumpkin patch, yearning to be severed from the umbilical vine. The hand was soft, warm, human, alive, very real, not rubber manufactured. Gently, like an obstetric nurse, Melissa midwived the poor creature’s parturition. The nude neonate cringed his purple face and flapped his jaundiced arms against his rubicund torso, uttering his first wail at the birth of the light. Melissa’s protective, nurturing instincts overcame the sheer absurdity – the logical impossibility – of the situation, and she nestled the baby boy to her bosom to suckle, pumping for the munchkin kin.

“It’s a boy!” Emily shouted with glee, her tears drying from her rosy cheek.

“Yes, it is!” Melissa chittered as he gulped abundantly from her life-giving font. “Happy Pumpkin Day to you, my pumpkin!”

Later that afternoon, when the Pumpkin Seedling had fallen into a halcyon slumber and Emily had dozed off for her afternoon nap, Melissa packed both children into the family van and dropped off the newborn in a cradle basket like Moses at the threshold of the fire department station door, to be tended by the first responders. While the mystery of the infant’s strange origins was never solved, the incident remained a secret between Emily and Melissa, as the latter did not see fit to pry further into the situation. In fact, Emily would grow up to forget it had ever happened, in the dim twilight between dream and memory that characterizes early youth, and Melissa never cared to apprise her otherwise. Nevertheless, it would be a Pumpkin Day that she would remember forever.

The Hitch-hiker

Cathedral of the Plains

In the middle-of-nowhere Kansas, one finds the Cathedral of the Plains. William Jennings Bryant, poet laureate, had first dubbed the Basilica of Saint Fidelis with this Romantic appellation in the course of his peregrinations across nineteenth-century America. The German immigrants who built it had since come and gone, but the memorial of their presence there has remained for generations afterwards. Two turrets sprout up from amongst the ears of corn and waves of wheat beneath the cumulous covers of cloud and deep blue ocean of sky. The sibling spires stand sentinel there, rain or shine, like the proud parents of a long lineage. Only the church knows what tragedies and triumphs she has seen, in war and peace, storm and fair weather.

On this particular cool, crisp morning in late autumn, as the mystical mists of the morning exhaled from the fertile earth, a black convertible bobbed and weaved through the semi trucks that caravan between Hays and Victoria, transporting the fruits of land and sea from north to south and east to west. Paul was a man who placed his faith in reason. He operated his motor vehicle like everything else in his life – with the grim expectation that things would go as planned, because that is how things are intended to function. Existence held little surprise for him, and thus, little joy. He was returning to his job as a software engineer in California after paying his family a visit in Texas for Thanksgiving. Like many young men eager for independence, he felt that they occupied a different world than the one he inhabited. He kept interaction with them to a holiday minimum. Then again, he kept peers, whether male or female, at bay, for they seemed keen only to compete with him for standing in his parents’ eyes. Neither did nature hold any perennial consolation for him. Its complexity was too chaotic, its seasons too unsteady for simulated study. His scientific bent precluded human connection in favor of cold, abstract logic and an absolute absorption with the inanimate and artificial. His dream was to construct an automaton that could do all the jobs for him that he did not want to do for himself, a mirror of his mind. But his plans for himself were to be upset on this day.

Just when he finally thought he had the road to himself for once, sailing along a clear stretch of highway on cruise control, a hitchhiker sprung out from the shoulder of the road right smack dab into the middle of his lane. Jolted by the sight, Paul barely had time to react. He shifted the gear, slammed on the breaks, and attempted to swerve into the neighboring ditch to avert any collision from behind. Squealing to a providential stop, he got out of the car to calm his quaking nerves and berate the interloper. The dust cleared, and the figure emerged. The hitch-hiker’s quick and easy smile curbed Paul’s anger and quelled his temper. This stranger wore a sawdust white working shirt tucked into Levi jeans with suspenders. He had propped a Hudson Bay rucksack hung from a walking stick over his left shoulder. The tufts of hair that blew over his brow had been bleached by the sun, and his face had been tanned an earthy brown tone.

“Hi, I’m Silas,” he said, as he reached out his coarse, calloused palm. Paul, not being the touchy-feeling type, refused his shake under the pretense of having a cold.

In his typical sardonic ill-humor, Paul said, “You look like you belong in the Renaissance fair, and you jumped out like you’d never seen a car before. Where are you headed?”

Silas chuckled off the barb. “Victoria, over yonder. The Church there.” He pointed in the direction of the Cathedral of the Plains, barely visible on the horizon. Paul squinted and had trouble distinguishing it from the silo nearby. He had never noticed it heretofore, in his many jaunts along this public thoroughfare.

“Ok, I can take you there, I guess. It’s about twenty minutes away, and it’s not too much of a detour. But you should really never scare someone like that again. You might get yourself killed. Hop in the front – if you don’t have an ax to murder with me in that there pack, that is.” Paul’s voice became more concessionary as he noted the friendliness of this visitor.

Silas smiled mysteriously and climbed over the door into the right-hand passenger side. “I won’t cause you any trouble, I promise.”

The two fellows resumed their journey as the open-air automobile picked up pace and fresh fall breeze caressed their youthful faces. Paul detected a slight accent in Silas’ voice, Teutonic perhaps.

“So are you from around here?” he was prompted to ask.

“Yes, but I’ve been everywhere, you know,” Silas looked askance, admiring the pastoral beauty.

Paul found such an enigmatic answer rather unnerving. “Then, what do you do for a living in this Podunk town?”

“I’m an artist,” Silas smiled.

“Well, you don’t here that everyday…” Paul muttered in his perpetual sneer.

“I have some unfinished business at the cathedral. There’s a stained glass window with my name on it.” Silas smiled broadly at the thought.

“That’s cool,” Paul grunted with barely masked disdain. Hard-nosed brutal science had made him snide before his time. He scoffed in scorn as they passed a billboard of Saint Faustina Kowalska’s Divine Mercy Image rising from the fields, with rays of blood and water and the words, “Jesus, I trust in You!”

Silas picked up on Paul’s all too obvious resentment. “What’s the matter? You don’t trust Jesus?”

“No, no, I definitely don’t,” Paul replied brusquely.

“You’re young. You’ve got time,” Silas said serenely.

This unsettled Paul even further, and he was really ready to scuttle this passenger out the door and on his way as soon as possible. Such piety and creativity intruded on his complacency, an assault on his sense of self. They exchanged few words after that, as Paul set his face like flint against the wind. In no time at all, they had passed the gas station where elderly farmers partook of microwaved breakfast sandwiches at dawn, the closed courthouse with no case controversies to adjudicate, the gazebo in the park with not a picnic on the premises, and the factory out of operation. In short, it was a ghost town past its prime.

“Can I get you anything in the shop before you go, beef jerky, club soda?” Paul’s Texan hospitality kicked in at the prospect of losing this newfound friend, rudely treated as he may have been.

Silas shrugged it off, “I’m good.” As they drew in front of the grand steps of the Basilica, Silas opened the door and got out. “Thanks for the ride, Paul.” Before he had a chance to mention that he did not remember ever informing Silas of his own name, the hitch-hiker had turned his back and was walking not towards the church doors but rather the adjacent cemetery, behind a wrought-iron sign. Within the graveyard gates, an elderly farmer with a green cap and a flannel jacket hunched in prayer over a tombstone. Paul watched as Silas strolled up behind him, placed his hand on his shoulder. Startled, the old man stood with the help of Silas, and the two embraced in tears. With an awe that he could not fully comprehend, Paul looked desperately for the name inscribed on the tombstone. Lo and behold, it said in big, graven font, SILAS! An eldritch electricity prickled over his goose-bump skin at this somewhat eerie discovery. “Don’t let this get to your head,” he reminded himself under his breath. “They’re probably just old friends, relatives maybe. It’s a coincidence.”

Fighting off his fear, he parked the car and entered the cold calm of the cathedral. Alone, inside, with only the flickering light of the tabernacle candle for company, he ran across the marble floors admiring the Stations of the Cross in German glass-blown splendor. He tried to make out the name at the base of every window, to little avail. On the cusp of surrendering hope of every finding a clue as to the identity of his hitch-hiker, he was struck by the depiction of the Prodigal Son. Paul did not know much of scripture, but he knew enough to identify the iconography of that archetypical scene.

The senescent father huddled against his wastrel son, with the elder brother looking dismally on from behind. The paternal beard was cut of immaculate glass, the Hebrew robes were indigo and violet. All exploded with color as the sun rose behind the window at this time of day and year. Even someone as pedestrian and prosaic as Paul could admire the glorious mosaic. He almost forgot to look what he had come for. Again, the dots connected. In a little corner of the window was etched, FECIT SILAS… something or other, Paul could not discern the rest, but he understood enough to know that a certain Silas had fashioned that image with his own hands. He was the Prodigal Son returned, his soul released from the purgatorial pain of distance and lost time.

Making the Sign of the Cross for the first time in decades by dipping his hand in the cup of holy water held by a cherub, Paul returned to the bright light of day from the dark womb of the church, rebirthed a new man and cleansed of his cynicism, at least for now. He turned the corner and searched for Silas in the cemetery to thank him, but he was nowhere to be found.

Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam: A Counterintuitive Unity of Purpose behind the Works of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Rene Descartes

  1. Introduction


As the philosophical speculations of Rene Descartes have come to constitute a “Copernican turn” in the history of Western thought, plumbing the depths of what prompted his reflections (insofar as lies possible, from what posterity leaves us) proves to be of preeminent interest. After all, most persons think along Cartesian lines, whether they recognize it or not. We owe the very idea of mind over matter in no small measure to the work of Descartes. What is little realized, and even less understood, is the largely hidden influence of the writing of the thoroughly religious Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the writing of the thoroughly secular Descartes. The nexus between the thinking of the two men has been readily established in academic circles, both biographically and historically, but most scholars adopt the tact of reading Descartes in light of Ignatius. Rather, this essay will explore the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in light of Descartes, which seems to be a more chronologically congenial approach for determining not merely the extent to which Descartes situated himself within the preceding meditative genre (a matter which has been adequately addressed in previous literature on the topic) but furthermore the degree to which Descartes’ probing psychological queries were in large part prompted by his Ignatian formation at the Jesuit college of La Fleche.

As a comprehensive juxtaposition of the oeuvres of both figures lies far beyond our present scope, we shall confine ourselves to reading the Spiritual Exercises in relation to and in comparison against pertinent selections from Descartes’ Discourse on Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, and especially, The Passions of the Soul. Thus, this essay will examine the ways in which Descartes, subconsciously or not, applies a deeply embedded Ignatian spirituality in proposing solutions to those very questions that haunt him late into the night; in the course of this study, we will be able to discern how it is this very spirituality which he returns to for answers in the end, more or less explicitly and with varying success. Fundamentally, this article posits the somewhat audacious thesis that Descartes’ famous skepticism is native to Ignatian thought; in much the same fashion, Ignatius resolves this skepticism in ways that Descartes falls short of. At bottom, both men ostensibly desire a freedom of soul borne of solitude before God and out of the love of God, whereby they may purge the faculties of sense and reason – act and potency, form and matter, flesh and spirit, sense and reason, etc. – to evaluate their purity of intention in the pursuit of union with God. Both men cultivate indifference (apatheia) to negotiate the inescapable cycle of joy, sorrow, and remorse in our subjective experience of life, running counter to intuition in the process. Thus, the dualism so characteristic of the “tree” of Descartes finds its roots in the fertile soil of Ignatius.

One runs a far greater risk of shoehorning Ignatius into Descartes by reading Descartes through an Ignatian lens (as is the angle from which critics customarily approach the issue) than when one reads Ignatius through a Cartesian lens. By stepping into Descartes’ shoes in his first exposure to Ignatius, we can hope to grasp just how consummately his Jesuit education saturated the line of questioning he was later to develop. But first, for the benefit of any Cartesian skeptics out there, we must establish the historical credence behind any such causal connection – let alone correlation – between Ignatius and Descartes, beyond the fact that “they went to school together,” metaphorically speaking.

  1. The Jesuit Education of Descartes:

Scholars have come to a relative consensus that Saint Ignatius is indeed a prime influence over the mind and (dare we say) the heart of Descartes. In his essay, “Divine Simplicity and the Eternal Truths in Descartes,” Dan Kaufman casually concludes, “It is well-established that Descartes was heavily influenced by his education by the Jesuit scholastics at La Flèche, particularly with respect to his metaphysics and philosophical theology” (560)[1]. In this, he concurs with Joel Schickel’s paper, “Descartes on the Identity of Passion and Action,” that in some respects, “Descartes’s reference to these distinctions is consistent with the way that they were understood in late Scholastic metaphysics” (1077)[2]. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam locates Descartes within the arc of 17th meditational literature by honing in on Descartes’ most probable, proximate influences.

While Descartes’ secular-sounding call for apatheia might smack of the Stoics, Kureethadam notes that, notwithstanding the obvious parallels (particularly with the self-reflexive philosophy of Marcus Aurelius), “it is not possible to include the reflective essays of the Stoics in the meditational tradition that developed centuries later” (54)[3]. Likewise, he discounts the role of Neo-Platonist strains of thought in influencing Descartes’ idea of the extension of mind as a sort of nous, as “‘the systematic meditational practices familiar to Descartes and his contemporaries only began to develop in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries’ (Bradley 1990, p. 30)” (54). Furthermore, whereas Matthew Bagger spills much ink in convincingly situating Descartes as part of the Augustinian mode of meditation (particularly on the grounds of “Augustine’s doctrine of the perversion of the will through original sin” (221))[4], Kureethadam patently rejects that tempting hypothesis (55), reporting instead that, “Any possible link of the meditational genre of the Meditations with the Augustinian tradition of devotional meditations is also unwarranted, as Descartes had himself categorically denied any such influence” (55).

Of course, Kureethadam concedes that Descartes was certainly familiar with Augustine, but Descartes mentions reading Augustine’s De Trinitate for the first time only after the Meditations had been published (55). Thus, such an Augustinian influence would have been mediated, if not negated altogether; Augustinian imprints are to be sought after in Descartes’ later compositions. These considerations lead Kureethadam to declare that, “The Meditations bears closest resemblance to the devotional meditational genre” (55) and that “it is the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola that most scholars identify as closest to the meditational genre adopted by Descartes” (56). In corroboration of such a claim, Kureethadam cites the fact that Descartes’ contemporary Gabriel Daniel jests that he wanted to request a copy of the Meditations for spiritual reading during Passion Week (55-56).

In point of fact, “during his schooldays at the Jesuit College de la Fleche, Descartes would have participated in the annual Easter retreats, and it is usually assumed that he would have had some contact with Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises during these retreats” (56). The illustrious likes of none other than Etienne Gilson, not to mention the lesser known Arthur Thomson and J.L. Beck, all second this assessment. After all, the Jesuit philosophy teacher at Descartes’ school had just published the Ignatian retreat manual for all the Jesuit colleges (56). Kureethadam summarizes the commonality Thomson sees between the Meditations and Exercises, including “the emphasis on the necessity of retiring oneself in solitude, the vital role of the practice for the application of the method, the usefulness of written instructions, the value of personal experience, particular attention to the faculties of reason and will, and on the mastery of the senses” (57). On the other hand, Bradley Rubidge points out that these elements were by no means unique to the Ignatian model (57).

Perhaps the most exhaustive treatment of this nuanced subject is Zeno Vendler’s ambitious analysis on “Descartes’ Exercises,” wherein Zendler states categorically that “the influence of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises on Descartes’ work, including the Meditations has been recognized and discussed by many historians” (193)[5]. For the reasons aforementioned, “it would be greatly surprising if he had escaped Loyola’s influence” (194). Zendler goes so far as to state outright, “It is impossible to believe, therefore, that students in the Jesuit colleges, established primarily with that aim in mind, were not exposed to the spirit, the strategy, and even the key terms of the Exercises” (195). Furthermore, Zendler proposes the following:

Loyola’s deepest influence is to be found in the Meditations, where it is not just a matter of some similarities, but of basic conception, aim, strategy, and literary form. If this is so, then the discovery of the Ignatian background of the Meditations ceases to be of mere historical interest… it has important consequences for the philosophical understanding of Descartes’ principal work (195).

Here, Zendler’s otherwise hermetic argument becomes vulnerable to penetration by later writers, who fail to see the substantive hand of Ignatius in the Meditations.

On the other hand, Zendler presents some startling parallels between the biographies of both Ignatius and Descartes, insofar as the context for the composition of both men’s principal works – the Exercises and the Meditations, respectivelyarose from a novena-long period of sequestration, ostensibly for vocational discernment: “Descartes should be seen as fulfilling his ‘mission’ in life, first conceived in a mystical experience in his youth, reinforced by a dream, followed by a pilgrimage to a shrine of the Virgin, and a period of solitude, mirroring the story of Loyola’s own vocation” (196). While this might be regarded as the most tenuous of evidence by some of the more skeptical among us, the structural similarities between the texts are harder to ignore, especially when one takes into account the fact that Ignatian Exercises were typically condensed to the period of a week. This renders even more readily feasible the period of days that composes the Meditations (200). In a similar vein, Zendler makes the argument that both treatises are not so much descriptive as prescriptive (200), illustrating a unity of purpose between them. Zendler attributes Descartes’ silence on a possible Ignatian influence to the fact that Descartes feared his beloved Jesuits’ criticism (222).

A minority dissenting voice in this dialogue is that of Sarah Katherine Wallace, who argues that Zendler – while right to point out textual parallels between the two works – strays far afield in giving Ignatius the primacy over Descartes’ thinking that he does (8)[6]. She takes the opposite extreme (not to mention the more dogmatically secular interpretation) that Descartes intended to subvert the subjugation of free thought to the Church. Hence, Wallace becomes guilty of that which she accuses Zendler of: a superficial analysis. Wallace’s unwarranted prejudice against Ignatius verges upon the ad hominem, accusing him of blind obedience (a not entirely inaccurate charge, in some respects), not to mention a lack of the sort of thrilling narrative impetus that she strangely imputes to Descartes’ prose style (36). Instead, she elucidates the departure between Ignatius and Descartes, while at least conceding that the former had to have influenced the latter (31). However, her account has a tendency to draw a false dichotomy between the metaphysical and the ethical (112), arguing that Descartes marks a shift towards the descriptive rather than the prescriptive (39).

Having undergone the Ignatian retreat in secondary school and having invoked Our Lady under a novena in preparation for this work, this author promotes a golden mean between the views of Zendler and Wallace, a synthesis of their dialectic on Descartes. Descartes is prescriptive, but he is at his most prescriptive in the descriptions of The Passions of the Soul. In the Passions, Descartes proves much more Ignatian than has readily been supposed, while Ignatian readings of Descartes tend to focus on the Meditations, given the religious connotations conjured up by that name. Contra Zendler, I would argue that the Ignatian influence is most evident not in the Meditations but in The Passions, the last of the writings of Descartes, presumably when he is closest to coming before God. Here, we observe the phenomenon Wallace evinces: “[P]ersonal effort, and a specific setting, are… rooted in a central tenet of both the Ignatian and the Cartesian meditational texts: that the goal of the exercise is the transformation of the individual, as they go through a profound change over the course of the exercise” (116). It is this “transformation of the individual” that is to become our focus in succeeding sections of this paper.

Before we go on, however, in true Cartesian fashion, it is salutary to cast out all doubt that Ignatius did indeed influence Descartes. For this, we turn to Walter John Stohrer. Stohrer echoes the other philosophes in acknowledging that “the early formulation and development of the Cartesian methodology and philosophical reflectivity were intimately and concretely founded upon the influences of Descartes’s actual life history, and necessarily so. This is true of any thinker” (13)[7]. He notes the congeniality of the Jesuits towards Descartes, even when they felt it incumbent upon themselves to exercise fraternal (if not paternal) correction of some of his more daring ideas (he did end up on the Forbidden Index, for a time) (15).

However, in the end, Stohrer detects how “[f]ive identifiable issues of mutual concern seem to emerge, and can be expressed as follows: the strategy of solitude, active indifference, the role of self-activity, the discipline of concentration, and continuity of thought and repetition” (16). Still, Stohrer sides with Wallace in distinguishing between Ignatius’ and Descartes’ motives for retreating into solitude and communing with oneself in the first place. Either way, he admits that the “radical reformation of the life of reason proposed by Descartes reflects a similar concern [as Ignatius]. The unquestioning mind must eventually be purified of its naivety in the humbling purgatory of the methodic doubt” (20). Thus, Stohrer can answer his own question of doubt: “Does the textual evidence in Descartes’s writings warrant the judgment that there is a pattern of dependence by Descartes on the methodological principles and directives of Ignatius, as developed in the Spiritual Exercises? I suggest an affirmative reply” (26). However, he issues a caveat that his “Cartesian-Ignatian relation seems to be a flexible bond suggesting analogy and adaptation, rather than a unity grounded in univocity or identity” (26), whereas I suggest that the metaphysical-ethical problems Descartes conceives of only occur to him because of his Ignatian training, as we shall summarily see. After all, as Stohrer himself addresses, “In one letter, Descartes referes to his philosophy as one ‘developed by an author who is ruled by the same spirits as your entire Society” (15). That cryptic allusion suggests none other than the Father of the Society of Jesus, Saint Ignatius of Loyola himself.

III. Spiritual Exercises

  1. First Week

Now that we have adequately established the premises that Ignatius did indeed exert a profound influence over the thought of Descartes, we shall proceed to un-package the ways in which this influence unfolds in his thought. To do so, we can do no better than to turn to the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius himself, along with his “Rules of Discernment.” By a cursory perusal of some of the most salient of Ignatius’ Stoic pronouncements, we need look no further to find the source and summit of Descartes’ most gnawing questions. In the “Principle and Foundation” of the First Week of the Exercises, Saint Ignatius boldly proclaims the meaning of life, asserting the teleology of the text with no holds barred: “Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul” (24)[8].

Thus, it should be no surprise that Descartes sets out to prove through rational means that the soul and God exists, as our eternal welfare subsists upon right opinion in these matters:

I have always thought that two issues – namely, God and the soul – are chief among those that ought to be demonstrated with the aid of philosophy rather than theology. For although it suffices for us believers to believe by faith that the human soul does not die with the body, and that God exists, certainly no unbelievers seem capable of being persuaded of any religion or even of almost any moral virtue, until these two are first proven to them by natural reason (Meditations 35)[9].

This is the point of departure between Ignatius and Descartes, in that the former is more of a theologian and the latter a philosopher in the true sense of the word. Nevertheless, Descartes’ point is fairly orthodox; he goes on to quote the Scriptures in defense of belief, whilst simply acknowledging that an unbeliever would cite such “evidence” as being a species of circular logic, purely superfluous. Descartes concurs with Ignatius; he simply tests the premise that Ignatius commences with: namely, that God and the soul exist in the first place, rationally and independent of divine revelation.

However, granted the existence of God and the soul, this does not mean that Ignatius goes without doubt – far from it. In fact, the dogmatic emphasis that Ignatius places on the importance of God and the soul arguably prompts Descartes’ quandary in the first place. The soldierly purity of Ignatius’ pursuit of our intended end gives rise to apatheia, not in the sense of “apathy,” but rather “holy indifference” to all things on Earth and of Earth: “For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it… desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created” (Exercises 24). Likewise, while Descartes admittedly conflates will and intellect in a way that Thomas would never condone, his antidote to commotional desire proves consonant with Ignatius’ view espoused above: “The supreme remedy against this error is to free our mind as much as possible from all kinds of other less useful desires, and then to try to know very clearly and consider attentively the goodness of that which is to be desired” (Passions II.144, p.40)[10].

To that end, on the Fifth Day of the First Week, Ignatius presents his vivid meditation upon Hell (Exercises 37). As a side-note, the focus upon the five senses makes it seem plausible that the five-fold structure he and Descartes follow parallel the five senses. Sometimes, it is a four-fold schema, which would allude to the classical model of biblical hermeneutics. Further, dualism throughout the work alludes to the two natures of Christ: human and divine. Regardless, this belongs to the realm of conjecture, and perhaps too much is made of number in Descartes anyway. In any event, the sensory description of Hell seems to have impressed itself upon Descartes’ overactive imagination, particularly in the example of the wax in the Meditations, as Vendler points out: “As Ignatius calls upon the exercitant to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel with the sense of touch, say, the fiery environment of Hell, so Descartes, sitting in front of the fire, subjects the piece of wax to a similar scrutiny” (207). Besides, Descartes’ The Passions of the Soul could more aptly be termed The Passions of the Body, preoccupied as he is with the movements of the senses in that work. Just as wax undergoes a change, so must the soul, if she is to avoid Hell, for Ignatius. Ignatius applies his method of doubt to the transcendent eternal domain, whereas Descartes applies it to the immanent temporal domain.

Here, a sort of dualism begins to unfurl itself in the Exercises, as Ignatius first treats of the senses and then treats of the passions (or more properly termed, the emotions) on the very next page. We develop a sense that sense and emotion spring from a different source, which would give rise to Descartes’ speculation of mind over matter. First, Ignatius distinguishes between the interior and the exterior here: “it will be here to ask for interior sense of the pain the damned suffer… to see with the sight of the imagination the great fires, and the souls as in bodies of fire” (36). Imagination as an internal faculty represents to the mind an external sense, envisioning burning flesh where there is but spirit. This dichotomy – Aristotelian-Thomistic in origin – acquires a vivid distinction Descartes will pick up on, as The Passions is really nothing more than an attempt to reconcile Aristotelian metaphysics with primitive neuroscience, trying to determine where the soul ends and the body begins and vice versa.

Likewise, Ignatius urges “exterior penance” (38) in order “to chastise the flesh, that is, giving sensible pain… to make sensuality obey reason, and all inferior parts be more subject to the superior.” This parallels the emotional purgation from the page before, wherein one is instructed “not to want to think on things of pleasure or joy… to keep before me that I want to grieve and feel pain” (37). At first glance, this might strike a reader as a marked contrast from the thought of Descartes, but Ignatius’ end in mind is a sort of apatheia Descartes could readily assent to, so that the reason may better discern what the will should do: “there I will rest, without being anxious to pass on, until I content myself” (37). For, as Descartes writes, “Anyone who lives in such a way that his conscience can’t reproach him for ever failing to do something he judges to be best… will get from this a satisfaction that has such power to make him happy that the most violent assaults of the passions never have enough power to disturb the tranquility of his soul” (Passions II.148, p. 42).

  1. Second and Third Weeks

As we move into the Second and Third Weeks of the Exercises, Marian imagery predominates. Descartes neglects to mention Mary in his work, but his novena to Our Lady of Loreto before composing the Meditations has acquired the status of legend. Thus, it could be suggested that Ignatius’ specific mention of “the Eternal Word incarnate” (44) is not so much of a stretch as the best means of rectifying the Cartesian rift between mind (Word) and matter (incarnate), baptizing Aristotle’s hylo-morphism as the salient phrase does. The Pauline verse “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” runs throughout all of the Exercises, and thus, in a mediated fashion, throughout all of Descartes’ Passions (not to mention throughout the Discourse and Meditations).

It is in this vein then, on the Fourth Day of the Second Week, that Ignatius recommends “when we feel a tendency or repugnancy against actual poverty, when we are not indifferent to poverty or riches, it is very helpful, in order to crush such a disordered tendency, to ask in the Colloquies (although it be against he flesh) that the Lord should choose one to actual poverty” (52-53). Here, the Aristotelian distinction between potency and actuality acquires a whole new dimension of mentality versus materiality that Descartes seems quick to pick up on, as have the critics. Much of the work of Ignatius and Descartes has to do with this very purgation of the natural intuition towards things. As Bryan Williston has pointed out, “It may be the case, then, that in our attempt to reach this sublime perspective we are torn between of it as a psychological ideal and the visceral passions on which it feeds” (49)[11]. Indeed, Joel Schickel somewhat naively claims, “Descartes’ reference to these distinctions is consistent with the way that they were understood in late Scholastic metaphysics” (1077).

This may very well be true, in that Descartes advocates abandonment to Providence for one’s material circumstances (just as Ignatius does), saying we “should recognize that everything is directed by divine Providence, whose eternal decree is infallible and immutable. So much so that we must consider everything that affects us as occurring necessarily and as it were by fate, so that it would be an error to desire things to happen in any other way” (Passions II.146, page 41). So much for Cartesian doubt, in that instance, one might ponder. Shoshana Brassfield posits, “Thus, before we submit to a passion, we must consider whether it is there as the result of some bad habit rather than the result of God’s wisdom and providence” (467)[12]. That interpretation puts Descartes very much in the camp of Ignatius.

Attendant upon such poverty is humility, which both Ignatius and Descartes address. Ignatius recommends that “it is very helpful for whoever desires to get this third Humility, to make the three already mentioned Colloquies of The Pairs, asking that Our Lord would be pleased to choose him to this third greater and better Humility, in order more to imitate and serve Him, if it be equal or greater service and praise to His Divine Majesty” (54). Like Ignatius, Descartes distinguishes between pure and impure humility, defining the former as follows:

Thus the most generous people are usually also the humblest. We have humility as a virtue when, by reflecting on the infirmity of our nature and on the wrongs we may have done or could yet do (wrongs that are no less serious than other people’s), we don’t rate ourselves higher than anyone else and think that since others have free will just as we do, they may use it just as well as we use ours (Passions III.155, pg. 44).

Even if Descartes would depart from Ignatius in classifying humility as a “passion,” his definition is quite compatible with that which Ignatius sets forth, although his definition is predicated more directly upon comparison with fellow creatures rather than in comparison with the Creator.

  1. Fourth Week and the Rules of Discernment

In fact, Ignatius’ description of the Creator’s constant provision for His Creation lends itself to Descartes’ scientific approach to the Passions. Ignatius instructs us: “to look how God dwells in creatures, in the elements, giving them being, in the plants vegetating, in the animals feeling in them, in men giving them to understand: and so in me, giving me being, animating me, giving me sensation and making me to understand” (69). From such a passage as that, it is no small wonder that Descartes could exult in declaring, “I am a thinking thing.” Ignatius here has laid the groundwork for a sort of scientific exploration of where the body meets the soul in the human person, which is what Descartes sets out to discover in the Passions. Moreover, to behold such solicitude on the part of our Creator cannot but inspire what Descartes deems to be the “passions” of gratitude, wonder, and love. Ignatius defines love as the “lover’s giving and communicating to the beloved what he has” (69), while Descartes defines gratitude similarly as “a kind of love aroused in us by some action of the person to whom we are grateful—an action by which we think he has done us some good or at least intended to do so” (Passions III.193, p. 53). Obviously, no one can intend us a greater good than God, so we owe him the most love and gratitude as we stand in wonder before His Creation.

However, the Adversary militates against this love, and I argue much of Descartes’ skepticism arises from this passage from the “Rules of Discernment.” First, as we have seen, one’s own intentions may not be as pure as they seem. Thus, we are right to doubt ourselves. Ignatius says one should “not give the alms until, conformably to them, he has in all dismissed and cast out his disordered inclination” (136). Likewise, Descartes warns against selfish pity upon others. Second, Ignatius’ devil sounds an awful lot like Descartes’ “evil genius” from the Meditations, as many critics have suggested, for “little by little he aims at coming out drawing the soul to his covert deceits and perverse intentions” (134).

Finally, in general one must discern “by experience of consolations and desolations, and by the experience of the discernment of various spirits” (56). Though he means something different by spirits, Descartes does mention joy and sorrow frequently in the Passions as incentives towards the passion of remorse. This is prime subject matter for Ignatius, instrumental as cultivating a spirit of repentance is for the transformation of the soul. According to Descartes, “Repentance is directly opposed to self-satisfaction. It is a kind of sadness that comes from our believing that we have done something bad” (Passions III.191, p. 53). Descartes puts it simply, but this sentiment enables us to grow in love for the God whom we have offended, although both Descartes and Ignatius recognize that this sadness must come from a legitimate cause externally verified. Otherwise it is merely a scruple. For both thinkers, contrition recalibrates the balance of joy (consolation) and sorrow (desolation) in the soul upset by vice (sin), such that the reason can rise above the will to regard God.

  1. Conclusion

The first half of this paper demonstrated that Ignatius did indeed shape the trajectory of Descartes’ thought. The second half adumbrated just a shadow of how Ignatius influenced Descartes, with special attention paid to the little studied correlations between the Spiritual Exercises and The Passions of the Soul. While a broad-reaching consensus as to the extent to which Descartes’ works operate genuinely within the Ignatian tradition lies beyond our present scope, we can tentatively conclude that Descartes and Ignatius share an invetereate suspicion of intuition in uniting one’s will to God’s. To approach the Unmoved Mover, one must oneself be relatively unmoved by the passions. Regardless of any separate intents between the Founder of the Jesuits and the Jesuit-educated Descartes, Descartes labored for the same purpose as Ignatius: According to Wallace, Descartes self-professedly wrote for “the glory of God, to which the entire undertaking is directed” (117). Thus, like any Jesuit schoolboy, Descartes could truly sign his work with the Jesuit motto Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam.



Amatayakul, Supakwadee. “Overcoming Emotions, Conquering Fate: Reflections on Descartes’ Ethics.” Diogenes 60, no. 1 (February 2013): 78-85. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2015).


Bagger, Matthew C. “The Ethics of Belief: Descartes and the Augustinian Tradition.” Journal Of Religion 82, no. 2 (April 2002): 205. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2015).


Brassfield, Shoshana. “Never Let the Passions Be Your Guide: Descartes and the Role of the Passions.” British Journal For The History Of Philosophy 20, no. 3 (April 2012): 459-477. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2015).


Kaufman, Dan. 2003. “Divine simplicity and the eternal truths in Descartes.” British Journal For The History Of Philosophy 11, no. 4: 553-579. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2015).


Kureethadam, Joshtrom Isaac. “THE ‘MEDITATIONAL’ GENRE OF DESCARTES’ MEDITATIONS.” Forum Philosophicum: International Journal For Philosophy 13, no. 1 (Spring2008 2008): 51-68. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2015).


Sluhovsky, Moshe. “ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA’S SPIRITUAL EXERCISES AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO MODERN INTROSPECTIVE SUBJECTIVITY.” Catholic Historical Review 99, no. 4 (October 2013): 649-674. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2015).


Schickel, Joel A. “Descartes on the Identity of Passion and Action.” British Journal For The History Of Philosophy 19, no. 6 (December 2011): 1067-1084. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2015).


Williston, Byron. “AKRASIA AND THE PASSIONS IN DESCARTES.” British Journal For The History Of Philosophy 7, no. 1 (March 1999): 33. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2015).


[1] Kaufman, Dan. “Divine simplicity and the eternal truths in Descartes.” British Journal For The History Of Philosophy 11, no. 4 (November 2003): 553-579. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed December 7, 2015).

[2] Schickel, Joel A. “Descartes on the Identity of Passion and Action.” British Journal For The History Of Philosophy 19, no. 6 (December 2011): 1067-1084. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed December 7, 2015).

[3] Kureethadam, Joshtrom Isaac. “The ‘Meditational’ Genre of Descartes’ Meditations.” Forum Philosophicum: International Journal For Philosophy 13, no. 1 (Spring2008 2008): 51-68. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed December 7, 2015).

[4] Bagger, Matthew C. “The Ethics of Belief: Descartes and the Augustinian Tradition.” Journal Of Religion 82, no. 2 (April 2002): 205. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed December 7, 2015).

[5] Vendler, Zeno. “Descartes’ Exercises.” Canadian Journal Of Philosophy 19, (June 1, 1989): 193-224. Saint Mary’s College, JSTOR (accessed December 7, 2015).

[6] Wallace, Sarah Katharine (2012). “The Meditations as Meditation [sic]: The Significance of Reading Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy from a Meditational Perspective,” Durham theses, Durham University, accessed at December 7, 2015 at Durham E-Theses Online: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/6381/.


[7] Stohrer, Walter John. “Descartes and Ignatius Loyola: La Fleche and Manresa Revisited.” Journal Of The History Of Philosophy 17, (January 1, 1979): 11-27. Saint Mary’s College, ProjectMUSE (accessed December 7, 2015).

[8] Saint Ignatius of Loyola. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, trans. Father Elder Mullan, S.J. (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1914), accessed December 7, 2015, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/ignatius/exercises.i.html.

[9] Descartes, Rene. “Meditations on First Philosophy (1641).” Trans. Donald Cress. Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources. Ed. Roger Ariew and Erin Watkins. 35-69.

[10] Descartes, Rene. The Passions of the Soul, trans. Johnathan Bennett. Oct. 2010. Accessed December 7, 2015, http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/assets/pdfs/descartes1649part2.pdf.

[11] Williston, Byron. “Akrasia and the Passions in Descartes.” British Journal For The History Of Philosophy 7, no. 1 (March 1999): 33. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed December 7, 2015).

[12] Brassfield, Shoshana. “Never Let the Passions Be Your Guide: Descartes and the Role of the Passions.” British Journal For The History Of Philosophy 20, no. 3 (April 2012): 459-477. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed December 7, 2015).


Bernini Teresa


Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) stands alone as one of the most beloved saints of the Christian canon. Her abundant correspondences provide readers – religious and secular alike – with a rich repository of mystical wisdom. Richard Crashaw (1613-1649), on the other hand, is an Early Modern poet who has fallen into relative obscurity over the course of the centuries. His renown has ebbed and flowed with changing tides of critical opinion, yet his name has survived, if for no other reason, due to his singular fascination with this great female saint of Spain. Now, why should a seventeenth-century Anglican minister incline himself to the study of a sixteenth-century Castilian Catholic woman? Her writings and his suggest an answer: the Eucharist. Crashaw’s poems do nothing short of demonstrating Teresa’s influence on his conversion to the Catholic faith. Thence, this thesis will explore the extent to which Crashaw adopts the Eucharistic chords struck by Saint Teresa, developing his own unique vernacular of the tabernacle in the process.

In the first chapter, we will explore Crashaw’s early life and influences, including his forced vacation to Italy. In the second chapter, we will also examine the three poems about Saint Teresa, for which Crashaw is most known. The third chapter will delve into the Eucharistic language Crashaw develops in his poems for the Blessed Sacrament. The fourth chapter is a compendious coverage of the references to Holy Communion in Saint Teresa’s Life, Spiritual Relations, Way of Perfection and Conceptions of the Love of God. Scholars have every reason to believe that Crashaw was well-acquainted with Teresa’s body of work, so it is only natural that her Eucharistic writings would merit juxtaposition with his. The pattern that emerges will reveal the extent to which Crashaw and Teresa alike derived their inspiration from and dedicated their inspiration to the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament enabling the in-dwelling of God in their hearts.

Crashaw is a poet’s poet, so it behooves us to read the testimonies of other poets to understand his niche in spiritual literature. The Romantic poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, conceded that “lines 43-8 of ‘A Hymne to Sainte Teresa’ were ever present to my mind whilst writing the second part of Christabel; if, indeed by some subtle process of the mind they did not suggest the first thought of the whole poem,” and in a lecture in 1819, he quoted from “The Flaming Heart.”[1] Francis Thompson, the poet who wrote “The Hound of Heaven,” claimed that, “the highest product of the Metaphysical School was Crashaw,”[2] while the Modernist poet T.S. Eliot dubbed Crashaw “the representative of the baroque spirit in literature.”[3] In the world of cinema, the classic Catholic actor of stage and screen, Sir Alec Guinness, even recorded his own recitation of Crashaw’s “To St. Teresa.”[4] Crashaw is also of relevance to those interested in Catholic liturgical renewal, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI names the Baroque as one of the proper liturgical forms of art in his Spirit of the Liturgy.[5] Suffice it to say that some of the greatest minds in the world of poetry, theater, and theology have regarded Crashaw in no small measure due to his choice of Muse – Teresa, a veritable tabernacle of God.



Before we can adequately address Crashaw’s affinity for Saint Teresa, we must better acquaint ourselves with Crashaw himself. Much of Crashaw’s correspondence and documentation has been lost, considering the tumult of the times in which he lived, but we can at least delineate a brief biography here with the facts available to us. Crashaw’s mother died soon after his birth in 1612, and his stepmother, Elizabeth Skinner, died in childbirth in 1620.[6] Crashaw’s father, William, followed her to the grave in 1626, and Richard matriculated into Charterhouse School in 1629, where the curriculum required him to compose Latin epigrams concerning both Classical and Christian themes. These compositions contributed to his first book of poetry, Epigrammatum Sacrorum Liber, published upon his graduation from Pembroke College, Cambridge, with a BA in 1634.[7] This first set of verses reflects not only Crashaw’s profound scholarship, but also his increasingly Laudian strain of piety, encouraged by his tutors Benjamin Laney and John Tournay.[8]

In 1638, Crashaw was ordained as an Anglican pastor at Little St. Mary’s, where he spent “prolonged prayer in ‘the Temple of God.’”[9] But perhaps the most instrumental element in Crashaw’s eventual conversion to Catholicism (outside of Saint Teresa, of course) was his participation in the community of Little Gidding. Little Gidding was founded in 1625 by Nicholas Ferrar, who had edited George Herbert’s The Temple.[10] Crashaw first encountered Nicholas when he tutored Nicholas’ nephew, Collet Ferrar, at Peterhouse in 1636.[11] In fact, the only letter that survives from Crashaw is one he wrote in 1644 to Nicholas’ niece, Mary Collett, from Leiden, Holland, where he traveled in exile.[12] What precipitated this sudden exodus from his content arrangement in Cambridge? In 1644, Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan iconoclasts stormed Cambridge to purge it of any papal vestiges, and Crashaw was induced to join the High Anglican diaspora from his native land.

Holland was Crashaw’s first pit stop after escaping Cromwell’s forces. Since Holland was also a heavily Protestant nation, he soon made the switch over to France, where he came under the good graces of Queen Henrietta Maria, the mother of James II. The onset of the Civil War in England precluded her from ever assuming the throne of royalty, due to her Catholicity. However, Henrietta took kindly to Crashaw, helping to receive him into the Catholic Church and recommending him to the Pope for a post in Rome; in 1649, he was appointed to one by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Maria Palotta.[13] The office was short-lived, however, as the Cardinal’s court did not appreciate a foreigner in their midst, for whatever reasons. All that we know is that Crashaw was sent to Loreto, and he died shortly thereafter. But we get ahead of ourselves. It is now necessary to examine how these events shaped Crashaw’s creative imagination and spirituality.

A Father’s Library

The path that led Crashaw from a stridently anti-Catholic home in England to the heart of the Catholic Church in Rome was a long and tortuous one, but it is well worth some of our time here to investigate it, if we are to come to understand the depths of his appreciation for Saint Teresa and her visions. Counter-intuitively, Crashaw is likely to have experienced his first encounter with Teresa in his father’s library, as the elder Crashaw owned many Catholic texts for the sole purpose of formulating polemical tracts against them. E.I. Watkin relates in no uncertain terms the level of antipathy that William Crashaw bore the Vatican:

For the singer of Catholic devotion in its most exotic and Latin form, was the         son of a minister of North Country birth, remarkable for his virulent hatred             of popery – a hatred which, not satisfied with pouring out a flood of          controversial abuse, found final utterance in William Crashaw’s will, in which        he writes: ‘I account poperie (as nowe it is) the heap and chaos of all heresies. I     believe the Pope’s seat and power to be the power of the great Antichrist       and      the doctrine of the Pope to be the doctrine of the Antichrist.’[14]

Likewise, in his foundational twentieth-century study of Crashaw, Harvard scholar Austin Warren expounds upon this irony: “Moreover, the elder Crashaw’s persistent, almost hysterical fear of Rome, this Whore of Babylon, this force insidious and menacing, can scarcely have failed to excite the son’s concern with the character and claims of a power which, if not diabolic, might indeed be divine.”[15] In our present millennium, Richard Rambuss of Brown University muses how William Crashaw’s library numbered many Catholic mystical devotionals on its shelves, “including Bernard of Clairvaux’s sermons on the Song of Songs, the ‘Revelations of St. Bridget,’ and Catherine of Siena’s ‘Life.’ (Did the son, one wonders, derive the taste for Continental Catholic writers, especially the mystics, from reading his father’s books?)”[16] One way or another, Crashaw’s puritanical upbringing did not preclude childhood exposure to some of the greatest mystics the Church has ever known.

At the risk of a Freudian analysis (which Crashaw has scarcely escaped from, considering the ripe material his writing offers towards such interpretations), the absence of a maternal figure in his childhood has also been adduced as a force impelling him towards Saint Teresa and the Holy Mother Church that she came to embody for him. For instance, Richard Geha, Jr. somewhat spuriously posits that in Crashaw’s poetry Teresa “becomes the mother, finally recovering the eternity that was lost; the mother who abandoned him as an infant to the father.”[17] He is not the first to reach such a reductive assessment; Crashaw’s father, William, was twice widowed after all, leaving the boy bereft of most feminine company in his youth. In fact, one of Crashaw’s early Italian biographers, Mario Praz, credits Crashaw’s artistic evolution to “the craving for a mother’s love, which for its satisfaction attracted the poet to his ‘mother’ Mary Collett, to Madre Santa Teresa, to our Lady and finally to Mother Church.”[18] Not lost upon such critics is Crashaw’s propensity for mentioning the woman’s breast, which is sublimated into Eucharistic devotion, as we shall see. In the words of the late, great Father Michael Morris, O.P., Ph.D. at UC-Berkeley and DSPT, “Never underestimate the breast and its mythos!”

As Watkin observes, “That the poet did feel this strong longing for a mother’s care and love is shown, I think, by the peculiar fondness which he displays for such images as ‘nest,’ ‘breast’ and ‘bosom.’”[19] George Walton Williams from Duke University concurs: “Crashaw’s Mariolatry carried him naturally… at Little Gidding, to St. Teresa, and to his Mother in Christ. Consequently it is not surprising to find in the imagery an emphasis on the figures of the nest and the breast.”[20] Likewise, as Itrat Husain maintains, “It was… the reading of the Catholic mystics, especially St. Teresa, which largely led him to seek repose in the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church.”[21] Ultimately, the question rests between Crashaw and his Creator, but it would not be too much to say that the yearning for a mother’s love drew Crashaw to the very bosom of the Church.

Little Gidding and Continental Exile

Crashaw’s orientation towards Rome only intensified during his time as a fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge, from 1636 to 1644. Michael Cayley explains that, “During his Cambridge years, his High Church leanings were reinforced by visits to the semi-monastic community of the Ferrars at Little Gidding.”[22] Here, Crashaw studied languages (including Latin and Spanish) and was eventually ordained curate of Little Saint Mary’s.[23] Surprisingly, the Catholic mystical tradition resonated with the Protestants of this Laudian community of High Anglicanism. Cayley points out how, “Teresa was canonized in 1622, and in the following years there was much interest in her life and work. In a Latin oration delivered at Cambridge in 1638, Crashaw’s friend Joseph Beaumont gave Teresa especial praise.”[24] Warren reports how glowingly Beaumont wrote of the Carmelite of Castile, echoed in Crashaw’s own poems:

I see her whose pen, wet with divine dew, dripped I know not what sweeter than sweetness itself, and bathed the whole heaven. Do you await the name of the     heroine? It is Saint TERESA, a name unheard by you, I believe, and more   familiar to angels than to our men. O with what sweetness may you breathe your        last in her writing! O how least a death would it be, in her writings to die![25]

While we do not know which of Teresa’s writings Beaumont was singling out for praise, fellow poet R.A. Eric Shepherd seconds this Cambridge connection to her mysticism, evincing that Crashaw’s “poems seem to bear witness that he had known previously of St. Teresa; and it is probable that he had read some part at least of these mystical writings while still at Cambridge.”[26] Princeton historian Robert T. Petersson claims Crashaw read Teresa’s Vida in Spanish.[27] Further, two of his hymns to the honor of Saint Teresa may very well have been composed during his years at Cambridge before he had even become Catholic, as Paul Parrish concludes.[28] Regardless, the faithful community congregating around Peterhouse, Little Saint Mary’s, and Little Gidding collectively proved to be a seminal time for Crashaw’s creative spirit.

While the catalyzing effect of Teresa’s mysticism no doubt played a part in Crashaw’s conversion to Catholicism, this environment of ornate ritual worship sowed the seeds of his skepticism towards High Anglican Communion. Warren recounts how, “Cambridge Papists had evidently made an attempt to convince Crashaw that Anglican rites were invalid, that true Catholics must be in communion with the See of Peter.”[29] Anglo-Catholic company coincided with the outbreak of the Civil War in 1644. Oliver Cromwell spearheaded the expulsion of anything reminiscent of Rome, deleting it from the British Isle. Professor Edwin Mims of Vanderbilt describes in vivid detail the effect this had on our Crashaw: “They desecrated his shrines, even the remote chapel at Little Gidding, and they removed him from his fellowship.”[30] Watkin elaborates:

But the storm fell in the shape of Dowsing and his iconoclasts, who visited   Cambridge during the winter of 1643 and broke down, as Dowsing’s diary             gleefully records, a host of ‘superstitous’ Cherubim, Crucifixes and Popes in           Crashaw’s homes of prayer, Peterhouse Chapel and Little St. Mary’s. It drove          Crashaw from his ‘contentful kingdom’ into lonely wanderings, [sic] which we        cannot even trace.[31]

Moreover, Crashaw was singled out by the Puritans: “A litany of other offenses follows in their report: Crashaw held private masses; engaged in ritual hand washing… traded the regular church plate for pieces covered with Eucharistic decoration of his own devising… and made sure to consume every bit of consecrated bread and wine.”[32] In these times of sectarian conflict, such Laudian liturgical practices constituted high crimes and misdemeanors, for which Crashaw had to pay dearly.

This violent event precipitated Crashaw’s exile to Continental Europe, where he peregrinated from Holland, through France, and eventually, to Rome. There, he found the patronage of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Maria Palotta as a clerk in minor orders. Despite the inconveniences, being on the lam did not inhibit Crashaw’s creativity.[33] With the guidance of Queen Henrietta Maria of France, Crashaw was embraced into the Catholic Church upon arrival to Paris in 1645, followed by the publication of his verse compilation Steps to the Temple in Rome, first in 1646 and later an expanded version in 1648. [34]

Shrine of Loreto

To gain a grasp of the circumstances Crashaw experienced, we must now to devote some attention to his sojourn in Italy. Brief as it was, his life will forever be tied to the land where he died, and a summary sets the stage for the work he was to publish there. Watkin reports, “the Cardinal was compelled to send Crashaw away from Rome to protect him from the hostility of the fellow members of his suite whose misconduct he had denounced.”[35] Just what this misconduct consisted in remains a bit of mystery, but what is for certain is that Crashaw had outstayed his welcome amongst the Cardinal’s courtiers, perhaps for no other reason than suspicions regarding his foreign extraction. Therefore, in 1649, Crashaw was deputed with all deliberate haste to the office of canon at the Shrine of Loreto, where he died within a few months of exhaustion, fever, or even poison.[36] Since the Catholic Church teaches that Christ is just as present in the church as He was in the manger at Bethlehem some two millennia ago, Watkin fittingly describes Crashaw’s crypt at the Shrine in the terms of a tabernacle: “Shortly after his arrival at Loretto he died and was buried beside the Holy House, the concrete symbol of a Divine Infancy, and fit resting-place for a soul of childlike purity and simplicity.”[37] Crashaw’s remains were to rest in close proximity to the Christ he extolled in his poems.

Sister Mary Margaret Claydon denotes the chapel in no less poetic words, citing it as having an indelible imprint on the compositions that led up to Crashaw’s arrival there: “In the Litany of Loreto, which was authorized for general use in 1587, and which originated in the sanctuary where Crashaw received a benefice in 1649, the shrine of the House of Loreto, Mary is called ‘Morning Star,’ and ‘Mystical Rose.’… The morning star is considered the harbinger of day.”[38] This position likely comprised of one of the ranks of minor orders, such as porter, or lector. For one who sang paeans to Mary as the first tabernacle of Christ, nowhere would be better to die than the home where she is said to have received the Annunciation of Gabriel and the Incarnation took place.[39] Legend has it that her home of stone was borne aloft by a flight of angels, ferrying it across the Mediterranean from Nazareth to Loreto to save the site from Saracen desecration. The shrine even contains an icon of the Virgin purported to have been painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist, a relic sure to please someone as devoted to Mary as Crashaw was.[40] The house that is said to have once contained Mary now contains Crashaw next to his beloved Blessed Sacrament, his body awaiting resurrection in a house that, like Mary, had been assumed into the heavens.

This poetic burial place has drawn the perennial attention of scholars. As Thomas F. Healy suggests, “It may be tempting to picture Crashaw’s development… as a pilgrimage whose end was the church at Loreto…”[41] Contrary to some historians’ incorrect interpretation of the title beneficiatus, which the Cardinal bestowed upon Crashaw, it is not likely that Crashaw was ever ordained as a Catholic cleric.[42] Tangential as it may seem, Crashaw’s oeuvre is forever remembered alongside Loreto, as his Cambridge contemporary, Abraham Cowley, wrote of him in memoriam, “Thou most divine and richest offering of Loretto’s shrine! / Where, like some holy sacrifice t’expire, / A fever burns thee and love lights the fire” (ll. 40-42).[43] Here, Crashaw’s friend describes him as a sort of host in the monstrance, or a candle before the altar, inscribing upon stone in death what had been inscribed upon his heart in life. Though it was emended by the publisher, rather than Crashaw himself, the title of his compendium – Steps to the Temple – adequately conveys his journey from the palace intrigue of Rome to the sacred site of Loreto; in fact, his catacomb lies literally at the steps to the temple of the altar.

Crashaw and Bernini

However, Saint Teresa of Avila’s fame has been spread primarily not through the fluid medium of poetry, but rather through the static medium of sculpture. Gianlorenzo Bernini was a contemporary of Crashaw, though it is doubtful the two ever crossed paths. Bernini commenced work on The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa for the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria a couple of years after Crashaw published his poetry in her honor, and he finished the sculpture a few years after Crashaw passed away. Much has been made of their shared devotion towards Saint Teresa of Avila as a receptacle of divine enlightenment. In this, they both represent – in visual and verbal art, respectively – the Zeitgeist of the Spanish Counter-Reformation Baroque.

Mario Praz introduces his famous study of Crashaw with Bernini, explaining how Bernini’s depiction of her angelic transverberation suggests, “a blend of the human and the divine, possibly best defined in a Shakespearian phrase dear to Swinburne, spirit of sense…”[44] Watkin renders this cross-genre comparison even more explicit, writing that Crashaw “celebrated St. Teresa and her ecstasy in verse, as Bernini in stone.”[45] Ironically, he comments how even Jesuits have denounced the sculpture on account of indecency, a charge similarly leveled against Crashaw, on account of the sensuousness of their spirituality. The implications of Eucharistic reception cause Watkin to spring to their mutual defense: “If spirit is simply the negation of sense, we must of course condemn baroque art, condemn Bernini, condemn Crashaw. But this is a false philosophy, doubly condemned by the doctrine of Creation and its fulfillment, the Incarnation… Away then with liturgy, ritual, churches, sacraments.”[46] Parrish shares this fundamentally sacramental take on their works, remarking how, “This inevitable conjunction of the senses and the spirit lies at the heart of the Baroque affirmation of body and soul, as seen in the works of a Bernini or Poussin or Rubens, and as seen most certainly in the Teresa poems of Crashaw.”[47] If God can be welcomed into the human body, then the carnal can reflect the cosmic, and vice versa, as both Crashaw’s poems and Bernini’s sculpture of Saint Teresa of Avila go to show.

In order to fashion their marvelous masterpieces, Bernini and Crashaw would have been familiar at the very least in their native tongues with Saint Teresa’s autobiography, or Vida (Spanish for “Life”), wherein Teresa describes being pierced with the dart of an angel through the heart.[48] In 1642, the Vida had been translated into English under the title of The Flaming Hart, which is where Crashaw derived the title for his third Teresian ode.[49] The convergence of inspiration between Bernini and Crashaw leads Petersson to assert the pair as the perfect case for comparison, and he dedicates an entire book to the topic.

Petersson attributes this common ground to the Counter-Reformation’s emphasis on the Eucharist, a style this author has come to call the vernacular of the tabernacle: “With the Eucharistic Communion officially interpreted as the actual consuming of Christ’s body and blood, many new works of art revealed body and spirit in a high degree of unity. The body is now more human and palpable, the spirit more intensely sublime…”[50] Nowhere, Petersson continues, is this more evident than in the life of Saint Teresa: “The reality Teresa herself pictures in her writing is a unified state in which Creator and created exist together: man’s body and spirit occupied by Christ’s body and spirit, or striving to rise to Christ’s body and spirit.”[51] The tabernacular vernacular is no less present in Bernini than Crashaw.

Petersson elucidates the relational placement of objets d’art within Santa Maria della Vittoria itself, explaining how, “the relief of the Last Supper makes clear the sacramental purpose Bernini has in mind… the Last Supper relief serves as the liturgical equivalent to Teresa’s more intense and exceptional communion with God.”[52] Likewise, Parrish elucidates that “the life of Teresa… provided extraordinary fruit for the Baroque spirit – as the works of Bernini, Crashaw, and numerous other admirers testify…”[53] Furthermore, “A renewed emphasis on the transformation of the Eucharistic symbols, the bread become flesh, the wine blood, adds meaning to the profound conjunction of the physical and spiritual in other realms.”[54] Wylie Sipher of Harvard even states, “Crashaw’s is the rhetoric… of Bernini…”[55] Crashaw is to the verbal as Bernini is to the visual – both regard their beloved figure of Teresa as an incarnation of the divine, her heart and theirs a veritable home for God through Holy Communion.



Crashaw fell in love with the Church of Rome in no small part because he fell in love with the life of Saint Teresa, so our exploration of his Eucharistic theology best begins by examining his poems addressed to the glory of her holiness. To this day, Crashaw is most known for his poems about Saint Teresa, and Saint Teresa is better known amongst students of English literature due to this series of poems. The trilogy constitutes the fulcrum about which Crashaw’s mind, heart, and soul pivots from Cambridge to Castile. His lyrical tributes in Teresa’s honor go without parallel in all the history of British poetry. Before delving into the Eucharistic elements in Teresa’s mysticism, it is necessary to engage with the Eucharistic elements in Crashaw’s poems for her. The pattern that emerges in both Teresa and Crashaw is their need for reception of the Holy Sacrament of the altar in order to achieve theosis, or union with God.

Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Saint Teresa

The first song of this set was likely composed at Cambridge before Crashaw had even converted to Catholicism, since the Teresian poem following it acts an apology for the previous poem. As Rambuss writes, “The full-page manuscript heading of the group’s opening poem… introduces her as, ‘A woman for angelical height of contemplation, for Masculine courage of performance, more than a woman’… a holy femina virilis – and more.”[56] While Rambuss proceeds to go to great lengths to use this poem as an instance of religious transvestitism in the vein of Lacan, Crashaw likely intended to communicate the capacity for the soul who receives Holy Communion to transcend gender altogether. Rambuss maintains that the poem is based on Teresa’s Vida, although he concludes, “Crashaw was probably also familiar with Teresa’s works in the original Spanish… one of the several languages, in addition to his native English, in which he was ‘excellent.’”[57] In fact, Norman Farmer of the University of Texas at Austin sees a biographical parallel between Teresa’s childhood desire to go to Morocco and Crashaw’s flight from England: “Abandoning her home, Teresa journeys abroad seeking a purer life of devotion, in much the same way that the converted children of Protestants fled to Catholic religious communities on the continent.”[58] If we are to understand how Teresa led Crashaw deeper into Eucharistic mysticism, this poem would be the place to start.

            “In Memory of the virtuous and Learned Lady Madre de Teresa That Sought an Early Martyrdom” (later published in the 1652 Carmen Deo Nostro edition as “A Hymn to the Name and honor of the Admirable Saint Teresa, Foundress of the Reformation of the Discalced Carmelites, Both Men and Women”)[59] conveys a distinctly Eucharistic theme from start to finish. In the first stanza, Crashaw writes “to none / Of those whose large breasts built a throne / For Love their Lord, glorious and great, / We’ll see him take a private seat, / And make his mansion in the mild / And milky soul of a soft child” (ll. 10-4).[60] With his sly aside to the mansions of Teresa’s Interior Castle, Crashaw encapsulates the human heart – specifically, the child Teresa’s – as a shrine of the divine, and the palatability of milk hearkens to the nourishment only to be found in the Eucharist. Just as the Precious Blood is received in Holy Communion, so, too, Crashaw considers Teresa’s blood precious, when she debates a maiden martyrdom at the hands of the Moors to imitate the Savior’s sacrifice: “Why to show love she should shed blood, / Yet though she cannot tell you why, / She can love and she can die. / Scarce had she blood enough to make / A guilty sword blush for her sake; / Yet she a heart dares hope to prove, / How much less strong is death than love” (ll. 22-6).[61] As Ruth Wallerstein writes in her foundational study of Crashaw, “blushes become elements in a supersensuous scheme… of thought which sees this world as one vast alphabet of the other, a system of thought central elements in which are the symbolism of the Mass and the traditional interpretation of the Song of Songs.”[62] Crashaw’s immortal lines illustrate that blood can be the source of life through death, if love is present, which is a profoundly Eucharistic truth and a constituent element in the vernacular of the tabernacle.

Further, Wallerstein comments upon how, “In the immediate communion with a profounder intellect and spirit than his own, Crashaw fully realized his whole self…”[63] The motif of Communion persists into the next stanzas: “Such thirst to die, as dare drink up, / A thousand cold deaths in one cup” (ll. 37-8).[64] Paradoxically, drinking from the font of life that is the Communion chalice bespeaks a desire for death to behold the beatific vision, as Crashaw intimates here. This desire gives rise to a longing for martyrdom, as Crashaw pens, “So shall she leave amongst them sown, / Her Lord’s blood, or at least her own” (ll. 55-56).[65] Farmer makes the correlation that Crashaw refers here to how the “‘blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church’… ‘sowing’ her holy seed in the souls of new converts. Only at the end of the poem does Crashaw suggest an alternative consummation, with Teresa occupying a different position with a different ‘Spouse.’”[66] Through martyrdom, the commingling of Teresa’s blood with the Blood of Christ perfects her potential sacrifice, to save the very souls of those who would have slain her in odium fidei.

In following stanzas, even more express allusions to the tabernacle appear. Crashaw apostrophizes to “Thy breast’s chaste cabinet; and uncase / A soul kept there so sweet” (ll. 72-73).[67] As Albert Labriola, late Dean of Humanities at Duquesne University, has observed, “In… ‘A Hymn to Sainte Teresa’ the heart is likened to the cabinet wherein Christ is lodged. And the key providing access to the heart is a lance or spear, again a reference to the human heart’s sympathetic sharing of Christ’s Passion. Christ’s presence is often described as jewel-like, so that the heart becomes a virtual repository of wealth.”[68] Likewise, Alexandra Finn-Atkins of Fordham echoes this interpretation: “The breast of Saint Teresa that encases her sweet soul is thought of as a human tabernacle, which houses the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This represents Saint Teresa’s union with Divine presence during her moments of ecstatic rapture as written in the Vida.”[69] Crashaw conveys the ways in which the love of God penetrates Teresa to the core of her being, inquiring, “How kindly will thy gentle heart, / Kiss the sweetly killing dart: / And close in his embraces keep, / Those delicious wounds that weep…” (ll. 105-8).[70] For Crashaw, reception of the Eucharist is where the human heart contains Christ in a close embrace. While such imagery is indubitably discordant at first glance, the strange speech forces one to reckon with the deeper underlying meaning.

By embracing this dart in her heart, Teresa “sweetly” tastes “Those delicious wounds.” This gustatory metaphor again refers to the Eucharist as the ultimate source of her union with God, insofar as He dwells in her and everyone who receives Him in the Sacrament at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Then, Crashaw announces that Teresa will “melt thy soul’s sweet mansion: / Like a soft lump of incense, hasted / By too hot a fire, and wasted, / Into perfuming clouds” (ll. 112-5).[71] R.V. Young from Yale eloquently expresses how this invokes Teresian mysticism:

The phrase ‘Thy Soul’s sweet mansion’… seems to derive from the fundamental     metaphor of Teresa’s Moradas, ‘which is to consider our soul as a castle all of      diamond and very clear crystal, wherein there are many rooms, just as in heaven        there are many mansions’ (Obras, p. 365; cf. John 14:2). Just as the soul finds   its true home in heaven, likewise God dwells within the soul.[72]

Incense wafts from the thurible to perfume the Host in Adoration. Here, Crashaw extends the simile of herbal coals to apply to Teresa’s soul, enmeshed as she is with Jesus when His Flesh melts under the roof of her mouth. Crashaw appropriates Teresa’s mansions of the soul to adumbrate the divine light whence they are illuminated from within, not unlike the monstrance showing forth divinity in humility.

The Eucharistic imagery of the poem does not stop there; Crashaw develops upon this vernacular of the tabernacle in the pursuant lines. He exclaims, “In a dissolving sigh, and then / O what! Ask not the tongues of men, / Angels cannot tell…” (ll. 117-119).[73] This ejaculatory interjection alludes to the Eucharist that dissolves on the tongue, never tasted by an incorporeal angel. Then, the encounter divinizes the soul of Teresa and raises her to the empyrean, where “Souls as thy shining self, shall come; / And in her first ranks make thee room” (ll. 125-6).[74] The spiritual transportation of Teresa’s soul makes her sense of self shine from the God within, like all the souls in Heaven. Indeed, a room can be a dwelling for either the sacred or the secular, which prompts us to consider Crashaw’s malleable use of the vernacular of the tabernacle in his attempt to sanctify the profane.

Tabernacle derives etymologically from the Latin tabernaculum, or “tent,” to express the Hebrew word mishkan, or “dwelling place.”[75] Before the word tabernacle acquired its liturgical usage in the Middle Ages, it referred to the mobile sanctuary tent that the Jews used to house the Ark of the Covenant before the building of the Temple of Solomon, as well as referring to the enclosure wherein Moses beheld the Lord.[76] This fact is significant for Crashaw not only for the way in which it foreshadows how the tabernacle contains Christ, but also in the sense that the Ark of the Covenant foreshadows the person of Mary, to whom Crashaw entrusts much of his Eucharistic devotion. Indeed, the 16th century Litany of Loreto invokes Our Lady specifically as the “House of Gold” and the “Ark of the Covenant.”[77]

However, the English use of tabernacle as a specifically religious term to describe “the body as the temporary abode of the soul” arose only in the 14th century.[78] Tabernaculum came from the Latin diminutive of taberna, which is the origin for our modern word tavern.[79] Crashaw, being the linguist he was, would have been well aware of the dual connotation, and he exploited this connection by repeatedly analogizing the temple of God to the wine cellar of the Lord in his poetry. Furthermore, the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles celebrated the fruits of the harvest by gathering into tents, in remembrance of the forefathers who lived under tents during their desert exile.[80] Likewise, at the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, Peter asked Christ if He would like to be set up in tents with Moses and Elijah, and this Feast also coincides with the harvest of grain and grapes (to be kneaded and fermented into the Eucharistic species). Thus, Crashaw’s vernacular of the tabernacle intuitively unites the God’s accompaniment of the Hebrew people in exile with His glorification on the mountaintop.

Crashaw expostulates upon this premise, exalting, “O what delight when she shall stand, / And teach thy lips heaven, with her hand, / On which thou now maist to thy wishes, / Heap up thy consecrated kisses” (ll. 129-32).[81] For Crashaw, every Communion is a consecrated kiss of delight that teaches lips Heaven, the fulfillment of all wishes. Crashaw envisions Teresa’s meeting with Mary – the original tabernacle – in Paradise, in no less Eucharistic terms: “What joy shall seize thy soul when she / Bending her blessed eyes on thee / Those second smiles of heaven shall dart, / Her mild rays, through thy melting heart” (ll. 133-6).[82] Mary’s glance like a lance pierces Teresa’s heart, melting in the fires of love for her Lord. In this compendious passage, Crashaw covers the entire court of Heaven within the heart of Teresa. She welcomes angels, Mary, and Jesus at Mass, and so they welcome her at the mystical death.

Crashaw extends this partnership with God to everyone who beholds Him at work in Teresa’s life through her writing. He writes, “Those rare works, where thou shalt leave writ, / Love’s noble history, with wit / Taught thee by none but him, while here / They feed our souls, shall clothe thine there” (ll. 155-8).[83] Thus, in a stroke of incarnational language, Crashaw articulates how the words of truth are something which both nourish their hearers on Earth and house their speakers in Heaven, not unlike Holy Communion. He persists to say, “Each heavenly word, by whose hid flame / Our hard hearts shall strike fire, the same… Whose light shall live bright, in thy face / By glory, in our hearts by grace” (ll. 159-60, 163-4).[84] Teresa incarnates the truths she lives by, dwelling in her soul and showing through her face, and these truths dwell in the hearts of all those devoted to her honor. But this crown of glory does not come except at the cost of the cross of pain, as Crashaw takes care to add: “Thou with the Lamb the Lord shall go. / And wheresoe’er he sets his white / Steps, walk with him those ways of light. / Which who in death would live to see, / Must learn in life to die like thee” (ll. 178-182).[85] By dying to oneself like Teresa did, her followers in religion can learn to live in love and light, if they partake of the Lamb as food for the journey, or viaticum.

An Apology for the Precedent Hymn

Given the triumphalist tone of the preceding poem (especially considering he was at Protestant Cambridge when he composed it), Crashaw includes “An Apology for the Precedent Hymn,” yet the apology is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as it is possibly even more centered upon Holy Communion than the first. However, through this Christo-centric meter, Crashaw attempts to prove the validity of invoking canonized persons. For Crashaw, Holy Communion is the foundation for communion with God and communication between souls in the community of saints. He opines how, “Souls are not Spaniards, too – one friendly flood / Of baptism, blends them all into one blood. / Christ’s faith makes but one body of all souls, / And love’s that body’s soul; no law controls / Our free traffic for heaven, we may maintain, / Peace sure with piety, though it dwell in Spain” (ll. 15-20).[86] Dr. Nandra Perry from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill analyzes these lines through the lens of Crashaw’s vernacular of the tabernacle: “To ‘speak Heaven’ is thus to speak love, the lingua franca of the body of Christ… If Christ’s blood baptizes all believers into one, monolingual body, it also nourishes that body with the ‘strong wine of Love’ (31)… The analogy Crashaw establishes above… of this sacralized body and the efficacy of the Eucharist is striking.”[87] In Perry’s estimation, this unity transpires through Transubstantiation: “Crashaw grounds his poetics in the Passion. His goal is not so much to signify as to transfuse the reader with divine love, thereby incorporating him or her into the body of Christ, whose plenitude ultimately precludes all speech.”[88] Thus, the Mystical Body of Christ unites bodies and souls across state lines.

The union produced by Holy Communion also breaks liminal barriers of language, constructing the vernacular of the tabernacle: “What soul soe’er in any language can / Speak heaven like hers, is my soul’s countryman. / O ‘tis not Spanish, but ‘tis Heaven she speaks, / ‘Tis Heaven that lies in ambush there, and breaks / From thence into wond’ring reader’s breast, / Who finds his warm heart, hatched into a nest…” (ll. 21-6).[89] Like the Gospel, or the Bread of Angels itself, Teresa’s words bear fruit in the hearts of her hearers regardless of their mater lingua, as Saint Paul did with his gift of tongues. Nandra Perry explicates the Eucharistic rhetorical strategy involved in such a device: “His poetic imitation of Teresa’s vita, like the vita itself, does not merely represent an ineffable divine reality. By drawing the believer into oneness with the body of Christ, it quite literally brings heaven to earth… Like the elements of the Eucharist, the poet’s words channel… the ecstasy of divine union.”[90] In a spurt of meta-cogitation, Crashaw’s lyricism has fully displayed the ramifications of incarnational theology on human speech, such that a poem can be a tabernacle, as can its reader.

Crashaw maintains his Baroque propensity for excessively extenuating metaphysical conceits into the rest of the poem. Throughout his entire body of work, wine recurs as a symbol for the divine:

There are enow whose draughts as deep as Hell

Drink up all Spain in sack, let my soul swell

With thee strong wine of love, let others swim

In puddles, we will pledge this seraphim

Bowls full of richer blood than blush of grape

Was ever guilty of, change we our shape

My soul, some drink from men to beasts; O then,

Drink we till we prove more, not less than men:

And turn not beasts, but angels… (ll. 30-7).[91]

Here, Crashaw’s verses are dense with not so subtle Eucharistic mysticism. He emphatically asserts the capacity of the blood of God transubstantiated from the wine of grapes to transform the soul of man from the depths of Hell to the level of angels.

As Coburn Freer remarks about this section, “The dirty water of the puddles forms a contrast to the full bowls or bowels (the two were frequently spelled the same way) of Christ’s redemptive blood…”[92] As Parrish presents, “The poet seeks a special kind of wine, a blood-wine, that transcends the wine of grapes, just as his divine inebriation far excels the drunken, and debilitating, state of ordinary men.”[93] Confecting the elements of the Holy Sacrament constitutes the vinculum between Heaven and Earth, enabling creatures to combine with their Creator by an almost alchemical process. As Perry writes, the “Apology” “celebrates the sufficiency of Christ’s body to bridge the gulf between spiritual reality and fallen, human language. Acknowledging the inadequacy of his English (and Protestant) verse to convey the spiritual riches of Teresa’s Spanish (and Catholic) vita, Crashaw defends his project…”[94] After the Consecration, the Precious Blood of Jesus exerts a protean hold over the soul, allowing her to ascend the hierarchy of being and the ladder of paradise to unite with Christ.

Likewise, by means of an analogy employed by Teresa herself (as we shall see), Crashaw depicts Christ as the purveyor of this elixir of life:

…Let the King,

Me ever into these his cellars bring;

Where flows such wine as we can have of none

But him, who trod the winepress all alone:

Wine of youth’s life, and the sweet deaths of love,

Wine of immortal mixture, which can prove

Its tincture from the rosy nectar, wine

That can exalt weak earth, and so refine

Our dust, that in one draught, mortality

May drink itself up, and forget to die (ll. 37-46).[95]

Crashaw baptizes the classical conceit of ambrosia to concoct instead a Catholic libation, concluding his “Apology” for his beloved Teresa. Watkin expands upon the Eucharistic frenzy the poem exhibits: “The apology for the hymn on St. Teresa is chiefly a panegyric of this inebriating wine… extraordinary even in a Catholic accustomed to meditate on the mystery of the Eucharist… blood of religious martyrdom, wine of heavenly vintage, fire of ecstatic ardour in the singer of Saint Teresa.’”[96] Crashaw is drunk with the same wine of love that also inebriates Saint Teresa of Avila.

Indeed, George Walton Williams narrates, “Like his saintly predecessor Crashaw could not be content with one draught of superior wine; he must into the cellar… God is the vinedresser and that Christ is the vine… Their wine, as the saint and the poet agree, is the wine on which one is willing to become dead drunk in order to live most gloriously.”[97] Finn-Atkins emphasizes “the redemptive ‘soul of the Teresean liturgy” complete with “sermon and sacramental wine” in these lines.[98] Thus, Crashaw paints Christ as the vintner who trod upon this life in His death, that His Blood might be wine to save the world. For the Catholic faithful, this transpires at every Mass, for the sanctification of souls. The Holy Sacrament of the altar constitutes for Crashaw an invitation into the inebriation of eternity, the foretaste of which Teresa experienced abundantly in her ecstasies, wherein she died to the matter of this world so as to embrace the world of spirit beyond.

In both Crashaw’s and Teresa’s writing, the soul becomes a cellar for the wine of the Master of the vineyard, who treads His own Flesh to give His Blood as the only vintage that can slake the thirst for immortality. In fact, Crashaw’s familiarity with the Song of Songs 2:4 – “Introduxit me in cellam vinariam, ordinavit in me charitatem” (“He brought me into the wine cellar, he appointed in me love”), prompts Parrish to surmise that Crashaw was familiar with Teresa’s commentaries on this passage in her Conceptions of the Love of God.[99] Also, Parrish notices that treading the winepress is a scriptural allusion to Isaiah 63:3, “given additional force through the typological association of Christ with the ‘I’ and the winepress as winepress of the cross, from which flows the wine-blood of redemption.”[100] Molly Murray concurs: “According to Crashaw’s editor, the poet here uses the medieval concept of ‘divine inebriation’ to describe his own reading of Teresa’s autobiography.”[101] Perry corroborates Murray through recourse to the Eucharistic mysticism binding Crashaw and Teresa: “If the divine is the ultimate end of poetry, how is one to render… the ineffability of Teresa’s spiritual experience – into words? For Crashaw, the solution to this problem is to ground poetic language in Teresa’s sanctified body, and by extension, in the body and blood of Christ.”[102] For Crashaw and Teresa alike, the wine of love proceeds from Christ’s wounds. By allowing secular and sacred language to coalesce, Crashaw invents a vernacular of the tabernacle all his own.

The Flaming Heart

            In the third and final poem to Saint Teresa, Crashaw voices a desire to consume her words for the sake of his own growth in holiness, much like the beloved apostle, Saint John, whom an angel instructs to eat a scroll in the Book of Revelation. This third and final Teresian poem was published posthumously in the Carmen Deo Nostro 1652 edition of Crashaw’s work, under the elongated appellation, “The Flaming Heart: Upon the Book and Picture of the Seraphical Saint Teresa (As She Is Usually Expressed with a Seraphim beside Her).” In a lofty endeavor to taste the fruits of incarnational union with the divine, Crashaw takes for his inspiration the iconic scene when a seraph pierced Teresa’s heart with the love of Christ: “Teresa’s own ecstatic visions approximate that perfect union, and… the final lines of ‘The Flaming Heart’ confirm his attempt to experience… a poetic unity of spirit and flesh that mirrors the perfect one unreachable by earth-bound humanity.”[103] Young cites the title as an indication that Crashaw had read Sir Toby Mathew’s English translation of the Vida, which was published as The Flaming Heart in 1652, notwithstanding Crashaw’s knowledge of Spanish.[104] According to Perry, “His later attempt to celebrate the mystical ecstasies recounted in her vita transforms Teresa from an eloquent confessor of the faith into a verbal icon of the Passion… Teresa’s text is analogous here to Christ’s suffering body, which ‘speaks’ to us in wounds rather than words.”[105] Though it is a piece of verbal art, Crashaw’s vernacular of the tabernacle makes the poem emblematically incarnational by affiliating his syntactical artistry with the visual artistry that preceded it (and inspired it).

This is the most personal address of the three. The first two are written more about Teresa than to her. Perhaps after a life of homelessness and sickness in his exile, Crashaw sensed his impending demise, and needed to ask her to guide his soul to safe harbor. In any event, he implores her, “Among the leaves of thy large books of day, / Combined against this breast at once break in / And take away from me my self and sin…” (ll. 88-90).[106] This heartfelt plea does not fall upon deaf ears. As Parrish puts it, “With an emphasis that effectively joins the Hymn and this poem, he argues that Teresa’s ‘flaming heart,’ which was before the most obvious sign of her reception of Christ’s love, can now be turned into a strong and active force.”[107] Perry muses how “Teresa’s words are not merely interpretable signs, but physical manifestations of divine presence and power. They are, in other words, sacramental (or at least quasi-sacramental), and their effects are immediate and material rather than strictly rhetorical.”[108] Likewise, Deneen Senasi at Mercer University writes that “The Flaming Heart” is “a visual and verbal ‘ecstasy’ in which the act of reading is tantamount to an all-encompassing incorporation of the Word the lines embody…” as it “reflects the semiotic sophistication of that admixture of Word and flesh, as he incorporates the body into the Word as an integral part of the sacred ritual of reading.”[109] As Maureen Sabine of Hong Kong puts it, “Indeed, the triune God is the prototype for Teresa’s spiritual achievement, which is to embody all humanity in her ‘Flaming Heart.’”[110] Just as a spiritual communion can increase one’s individual merit, so, too, spiritual reading – whether it is Crashaw reading Teresa, or someone reading Crashaw – lets one enter into these sacred truths, as these truths enter into one’s heart.

Crashaw’s spiritual yearning for Teresa’s holy wisdom assumes a sensual mood. In a litany of anaphora, he asks that, “By all thy lives and deaths of love; / By thy large draughts of intellectual day, / And by thy thirsts of love more large than they; / By all thy brim-filled bowls of fierce desire; / By thy last morning’s draught of liquid fire; / By the full kingdom of that final kiss / That seized thy parting soul, and sealed thee his…” (ll. 96-102).[111] With every Communion performing the role of memento mori, Teresa’s last breath on earth is only the beginning of union with God in eternity, where her spirit parched for divine wine will finally be quenched. As Rambuss addresses, Crashaw predates the Anglican Ordinariate in the Roman Rite by some four centuries, as his repetition echoes the Book of Common Prayer.[112] Thus, Crashaw prays, “By all of him we have in thee; / Leave nothing of my self in me. / Let me so read thy life, that I / Unto all life of mine may die” (ll. 105-8).[113] Parrish sees this as Crashaw’s search for union with God, approached nowhere more closely in this life than in Communion: “At the close of his third poem on St. Teresa, ‘The Flaming Heart,’ in lines addressed to the saint, the poet seeks the death of self in an affirmation of a universal absolute – mystical union with the deity…”[114] Sabine says, “in conclusion, he effaced himself and his art before the woman saint, he did not wish to dwell on Teresa so much as on Christ, who dwelled in her heart.”[115] This sentiment has its roots in Saint John the Baptist’s prayer that he may decrease and Christ may increase.

Here, Crashaw venerates Teresa as a tabernacle of Christ by stating that we find Jesus within her; hence, he imitates her self-emptying and death to self, that he, too, may become Christ’s tabernacle and say with Saint Paul in Galatians, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” As Parrish aptly phrases it, “Christ acts on Teresa who, in turn, directs her response upward toward Him and downward toward others. The poet responds to her example by praising both her and Christ and thus confirms the value of her life and death and the efficacy of her action and Christ’s.”[116] Many a scholar has ascribed the phrase of “flaming heart” not only to Teresa, but also to Crashaw, by virtue of his devotion to her, and the poem acts as a sort of tabernacle for the one who brought him to the Eucharist in the first place: “But the unwedded Crashaw, whose sole Love was the God to whom he so readily surrendered all, put into his devotion and into the poetry which enshrines it, the entire ardour of a flaming heart.”[117] Gary Kuchar from the University of Victoria frames the matter as another dialect of the vernacular of the tabernacle: “What Crashaw’s poems aim toward is a sacramental space that is in excess of unredeemed language; they open a liminal site in which hyperbole and metaphoric transpositions work to extend language beyond the normal limits of representation. It is in and through this liminal space, this site of excess, that sacramental identity is forged.”[118] Crashaw makes the Catholic colloquial. By pining for divine immolation, the poem itself contains the wisdom that it invokes, and anyone who adopts the desires voiced in these verses is in turn converted into another Christ.

It might be best to conclude this brief foray into Crashaw’s Teresian poems with R.A. Eric Shepherd’s introduction of them: “I should place first of all Crashaw’s work, the peerless Hymn to S. Teresa, with its apology, and sister-piece, The Flaming Heart. Anyone who has not read Crashaw had better start off with them. They cannot fail to create an appetite for more. The man would be a stone that could read them unmoved.”[119] As Williams asserts with great reason, this trilogy reveals Crashaw’s deep familiarity with the complete canon of Saint Teresa, his chosen patroness; in Williams’ words, “she certainly filled Crashaw’s finest poetry and occupied his last poetic breath.”[120] In fact, E. Allison Peers, a renowned translator of Saint Teresa, opens his Cambridge edition of her canon of works by stating that Crashaw “wrote what is perhaps the finest panegyric in verse upon her in existence.”[121] Holy Communion allowed Christ to dwell in Richard Crashaw, as He does in Saint Teresa, and thus, Crashaw seeks to communicate the glory of this community to the rest of the world. Crashaw aspires to consume God, that the love of God may consume him, just as it did Teresa.

Claudio Coello, The Communion of Saint Teresa, 1670



While Eucharistic mysticism suffuses Crashaw’s letters to Saint Teresa, this incarnational spirituality pervades his whole corpus. The love Crashaw bears Teresa is but a shadow of his love for Christ Himself, which is just what she would have wanted, given her passionate adoration of the Savior. Thus, Crashaw composed two long poems addressed specifically to the Blessed Sacrament. Verse translations of two of Saint Thomas Aquinas’ hymns, these poems are the center around which all the rest of his writings gravitate; under Teresa’s guidance, the Eucharist became for him the source and summit of existence, as Pope Saint John Paul II would phrase it much later. Throughout the course of his oeuvre, Crashaw writes about Christ from His birth to His death, always in the vernacular of the tabernacle. After all, these poems were intended as music lyrics for Mass on the feast days of the liturgical calendar, evidencing their primarily Eucharistic focus.

Adoro Te

The first of these Eucharistic poems was published in the 1648 Steps to the Temple edition under the title, “A Hymn to Our Savior by the Faithful Receiver of the Sacrament,” but this title was changed to Adoro Te, or “The Hymn of Saint Thomas in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament” in the 1652 Carmen Deo Nostro edition. Why the change? The Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles proscribed adoration as a species of idolatry, so Crashaw could not have gotten away with publishing the latter version in Protestant England.[122] In the words of University of Calgary’s Elizabeth Hageman: “The ‘Adoro Te’ is Crashaw’s version of the hymn by Thomas Aquinas that Pius V inserted in 1570 as a hymn of Thanksgiving after the Mass.”[123] Rambuss distinguishes the poem as one of private devotion rather than the divine office, and “The woodcut accompanying the poem depicts a ciborium, a vessel for storing the consecrated host. Its Latin inscription means ‘Behold the bread of angels.’”[124] Adoro Te has even been deemed “Crashaw’s clearest articulation of the intimate possibilities of the Eucharist.”[125] In short, the poem springs from Crashaw’s adoration of the Eucharist in imitation of Saint Teresa, and it inspires the reader to adore the Lord after the fashion they jointly adopted.

However, Rambuss concludes, “The Latin original reads ‘Adoro te devote, latens Deitas, / Quae sub his figuris vere latitas’ (Hidden God, devoutly I adore thee, truly present underneath these forms). Crashaw’s rendering dampens the force of Thomas’s doctrinal assertion of Transubstantiation…”[126] Rather, Renaissance expert Kimberly Johnson sees this perceived dichotomy as an indication of “Crashaw’s particular concern with the perceptual persistence of sense data, an anxiety that strains beyond the formal and imagistic bounds of the Latin hymn.”[127] Either way, the poem’s speaker talks from the point of view of a communicant, but the second title provides more context for the ritualized worship. As Claydon says, “Instead of a state of adoration we find the dramatic setting of the physical act of adoring; instead of the relationship between Creator and creature, we are mindful predominantly of the creature possessing many powers.”[128] Given Teresa of Avila’s love for the Dominican Order[129] and her predilection for adoration, it is no wonder why Crashaw copies her in this, too, lionizing the great Dominican Doctor of the Church alongside the Savior about Whom he wrote so well. As a whole, it constitutes the very definition of what we mean by vernacular of the tabernacle.

Crashaw assumes the role of Thomas Aquinas before the Eucharist, engaging in a dialectical argument between faith and reason. He shouts, “Down, down proud sense! / Discourses die. / Keep close, my soul’s inquiring eye! / Nor touch nor taste must look for more / But each sit still in his own door. Your ports are all superfluous here, / Save that which lets in faith, the ear.” (ll. 5-10).[130] The doors of the senses mirror the doors of the tabernacle, reminding the reader that “Christ had said, ‘I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out, and shall find pasture’ (John 10.9).”[131] This stanza reveals that for “Crashaw, who believed in Transubstantiation, the miraculous feast seemed rather the denial of the senses than their symbolic employment. His expansive paraphrases of St. Thomas’ Eucharistic hymns are notably sparse in sensuous imagery… the redeeming blood on the cross… prompts him to spiritual inebriation.”[132] Rhyme reflects reason, as Claydon catalogues: “As far back as Sedulius in the fifth century, however, rhyme occurs in hymns, and is forecasted in prose… by the use of the rhetorical device of homoioteleuton to mark the end of a clause… In St. Thomas’ hymns the rhyme emphasizes the doctrinal truths, as it expresses pathos and pity…”[133] Only through a transcendence of sense and intellect can the soul perceive Who is hidden in the Host.

Thus, Thomas Aquinas doubles as Doubting Thomas, fingering the side of Christ: “Because then / Though hid as God, wounds write thee man, / Thomas might touch; none but might see / At least the suff’ring side of thee; And that too was thyself which thee did cover, / But here ev’n that’s hid too which hides the other” (ll. 21-6).[134] Just as Christ hid His divinity within His humanity, now He takes things a notch further down the hierarchy of being by hiding both His divinity and His humanity in the guise of a wafer. As Rambuss writes, “Thomas’s doubt is converted into faith when he handles Jesus’s resurrected body and probes the holes left by his wounds… Now both what was hid (Jesus’s divine nature) and what hides it (his human form) are hidden from us, and hence accessible only by faith.”[135] By receiving Him whole and entire, the communicant can contain Christ within, as the tabernacle does. Holy Communion becomes the source and summit of true communication for Crashaw.

Crashaw continues by echoing the words of Saint Thomas the Apostle with the traditional ejaculatory prayer said at the moment of the Elevation of the Host. He speaks to Christ directly, proving to Jesus the Bridegroom that he is blessed for not having seen, yet having believed: “Sweet, consider then, that I / Though allowed nor hand nor eye / To reach at thy loved face; nor can / Taste thee God, or touch thee man / Both yet believe; and witness thee / My Lord too and my God, as loud as he” (ll. 27-32).[136] Claydon states that “‘my lord and my God’ refers to Thomas… There is no ambiguity because the words are those that Thomas said when he touched the scars of the wounds on the risen Christ.”[137] Crashaw wants to kiss the face of the God he cannot see, hidden in the Host and hidden in those who receive Him.

Crashaw proceeds still more rapturously with all the passion of the Psalmist, or the amour of the Canticle of Canticles. He sings before Zion, “O dear memorial of that death / Which lives still, and allows us breath! / Rich, royal food! Bountiful bread! / Whose use denies us to the dead; / Whose vital gust alone can give / The same leave both to eat and live; / Live ever bread of loves, and be / My life, my soul, my surer self to me” (ll. 37-44).[138] Labriola shrewdly recognizes that “Through baptism and the Eucharistic banquet, the sacramental presence of Christ in the repentant human heart may be likened to a conjugal union, the prelude to the marriage feast of Christ and the sanctified and saved soul in Revelation.”[139] Archly, Crashaw detects the irony in the fact that the fruit of Christ’s death is the love that gives his soul and countless others life when Christ bestows Himself under the species of bread and wine. He could wish for no better bread than God Himself.

Crashaw embellishes this image with the iconographic type for Christ in the pelican that pecks its own breast to supplement the diet of its young: “O soft self-wounding pelican! / Whose breast weeps balm for wounded man. / Ah this way bend thy benign flood / To’a bleeding heart that gasps for blood. / That blood, whose least drops sovereign be / To wash my worlds of sin from me” (ll. 45-50).[140] Claydon explains this icon: “The ‘pelican-in-her-piety’ is one of the most widely used symbols of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, as well as that of the Holy Eucharist. This symbol is derived from the legend that the female pelican pierces its breast to feed its young with its own blood.”[141] Crashaw yearns to feed from the Sacred Heart enclosed in the Eucharist, like the baby bird at the pelican’s breast.

F.R. Webber expounds upon how the symbol reminds us that Christ frees “from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood, and with His innocent suffering and death.”[142] Crashaw particularizes the universal application of Christ’s Blood in Aquinas’ original hymn: “St. Thomas praises the blood because it will wash the world clean from sin; Crashaw, miserable sinner, praises it because it will wash the worlds of sin clean from Crashaw. And it is the least drop which will have this sovereign power; the smallest particle can perform this enormous good.”[143] Crashaw invokes Christ’s Precious Blood in the Eucharist to wash his scarlet sins as white as snow, as Isaiah says.

In the final lines of the hymn, Crashaw cries to Christ to come hither. He performs the part of the hart panting for running waters, as the psalm says: “Come love! Come Lord! and that long day / For which I languish, come away. / When this dry soul those eyes shall see, / And drink the unsealed source of thee. / When glory’s sun faith’s shades shall chase, / And for thy veil give me thy face. / Amen.” These lines are so searingly beautiful that it is difficult to write about them in anything less than poetic terms. Theologically, Crashaw craves the beatific vision, a hint of which Peter, James, and John experienced at Christ’s Transfiguration when His figure was bathed in the light of Mount Tabor. Given its seasonal occurrence between the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, the commemoration of this sacred event is typologically associated with the grapes of the harvest. Thus, Crashaw seeks to drink in the blessed sight of Christ’s Holy Face in all its glory, veiled from him in the Blessed Sacrament as it was usually veiled from the Apostles during the Lord’s earthly life.

Drunk with the idea of meeting God face to face like Moses atop Mount Sinai, Crashaw beckons the Lord who is Love itself to arrive, inviting a private eschaton, for when “love is left alone, and faith disappears… only love will be needed in ‘that day,’ when there will be no longer a veil needing faith, but ‘thy face.’”[144] Crashaw “prays that through… the sacraments he may perceive the hidden presence of Christ, an anticipation of the experience of the full revelation of God’s glory (‘Visu sim beatus tuae gloriae’).”[145] As adoration comes from the Latin for adoratio, or “to the mouth,” this poem for Holy Communion culminates in the Teresian allusion to Song of Songs: “I will kiss him with the kisses of the mouth.” Indeed, whether in Thomas Aquinas’ florid Latin, or Richard Crashaw’s ornate English, “the total effect is one of contemplation, beginning with simple statement of adoration and then a development of the doctrinal background of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by a direct prayer in the imperative mood.”[146] The hyperbole of Crashaw – like that of Thomas Traherne, Robert Southwell, and others – voices “the experience of unquenchable longing one feels before God.”[147] By speaking of this Communion and by receiving Holy Communion, Crashaw communicates the union of God in man.

Lauda Sion Salvatorem

Following the Adoro Te in Carmen Deo Nostro comes Crashaw’s “Lauda Sion Salvatorem, the Hymn of the Bl[essed] Sacrament,” a close paraphrase of the hymn that Pope Urban IV had deputed Saint Thomas Aquinas to write for the newly instituted Feast of Corpus Christi in the papal bull Transiturus on September 8, 1264.[148] Young cites the poem as an example that, “For Crashaw, the Catholicism represented by Santa Teresa seems to have meant a mystical deepening of this liturgical devotion.”[149] In the words of Parrish, “‘Lauda Sion Salvatorem,’ so intimately tied to the celebration of the mass, is a thorough response to the occasion and meaning of the sacramental feast.”[150] As Sister Claydon takes great pains to prove, this hymn was part of a series of texts to be sung at the jubilus of the Alleluia between the Epistle and the Gradual of the Mass.[151]

As a prime example of the true vernacular of the tabernacle, the hymn follows the same beat as the Roman legion’s marching chants, employed also by Saint Hilary and Venantius Fortunatus of the Vexilla Regis.[152] Sister Claydon distinguishes these poems from the Franciscan school, insofar as, “It is natural, therefore, to find in the sequence of St. Thomas that the emphasis is placed on the doctrine of the Blessed Sacrament, and that the total effect is cognitive rather than affective”; in fact, the poem has been deemed “the supreme dogmatic poem of the Middle Ages.”[153] Crashaw’s choice to translate it is a testament to his Laudian classical scholarship and rigorous theological training.

The poem itself is a sort of verbal tabernacle dedicated to the divine. In the first stanza, Crashaw exhorts Zion (the Church herself), “Rise, royal Sion! Rise and sing / Thy soul’s kind shepherd, thy heart’s King” (ll. 1-2).[154] This line implies that Christ is enthroned in the hearts of the sheep He feeds in His fold, as both the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd. Sister Claydon comments how the “poem begins with an address to Sion, the symbol for the whole Church, calling upon it to praise its leader and its shepherd.”[155] The following canto intensifies the Eucharistic nature of the poem: “Lo the Bread of Life, this day’s / Triumphant text, provokes thy praise. / The living and life-giving bread, / To the great twelve distributed / When Life, himself, at point to die / Of love, was his own legacy” (ll. 7-12).[156] Here, Crashaw contemplatively recollects the first Mass at the Last Supper the night before Christ’s crucifixion, when life itself underwent death to give life to those He loves. The Bread of His Flesh nourishes immortal existence, “his own legacy.”

Claydon writes, “The first three stanzas are centered mainly on… the institution of the sacred banquet.”[157] Or, as Parrish says, “Sion is urged to praise its savior and shepherd, although he is beyond praise, because he has appointed the living and life-giving bread (‘Panis vivus et vitalis’) to be taken as a memorial of the holy supper given to the twelve apostles.”[158] However, as Claydon also points out, “The verb ‘to die’ has certain erotic connotations for the period in which the English poet is writing, and… The antithesis of life itself to die concretizes, gives some measurement for, the extent of Love’s love. This, not found in the Latin poem, represents an addition by the English poet.”[159] The Eucharist can be described in terms of human love only analogously, as it ultimately transcends earthly charity altogether, through Christ’s divine oblation.

Crashaw returns to this theme of the immortal sacrifice of the eternal word in the fifth stanza. He extemporizes, “But lest that die too, we are bid / Ever to do what he once did. / And by a mindful, mystic breath / That we may live, revive his death; / With a well-blessed bread and wine / Transumed, and taught to turn divine” (ll. 25-30).[160] This passage versifies Christ’s exhortation to “Do this in remembrance of me.” Indeed, it anthropomorphizes the elements of bread and wine as being amenable to instruction, since Crashaw believes they will become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ once the words of Consecration are breathed over them. As Claydon observes, “Stanzas five through ten expound the dogma of the Holy Eucharist, following generally in outline the articles in the third part of the Summa Theologica which treat of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist…”[161] In turn, both celebrant and recipient are transformed by this intimate Communion with Christ: “The heav’n-instructed house of faith / Here a holy dictate hath / That they but lend their form and face, / Themselves with reverence leave their place, / Nature, and name, to be made good / By’a nobler bread, more needful blood” (ll. 31-6).[162] Thus, those who leave behind everything – even kith and kin – and dedicate themselves for the sake of the divine become a “house of faith” when they taste the Savior’s “more needful blood.” Through reception of the Eucharist, the human being becomes a tabernacle of God, for Crashaw.

Crashaw goes on to distinguish between receiving the same God under different species. He rhymes musically, “Where nature’s laws no leave will give, / Bold faith takes heart, and dares believe / In different species, names not things / Himself to me my Savior brings, / As meat in that, as drink in this; / But still in both one Christ he is” (ll. 37-42).[163] Here, Crashaw recognizes that a supernatural miracle has taken place – one that demands the assent of faith – but the result is a meal more refreshing than that which is for the body, as the Eucharist feeds the soul with the very God who made her. Claydon declares that such a belief cannot derive from anything outside of faith in revelation: “In the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas alleges that ‘the presence of Christ’s true body and blood in this sacrament cannot be detected by sense, nor understanding, but by faith alone….’ (Part II, Art. 1; Q. 75).”[164] Only a supernatural transformation can transcend the laws of nature to make the Consecration possible, an incarnation of spirit in matter, substance and accident.

Crashaw then delivers one of the finest verse descriptions of reception of Holy Communion in the English language: “The receiving mouth here makes / Nor wound nor breach in what he takes. / Let one, or one thousand be / Here dividers, single he / Bears home no less, all they no more, / Nor leave they both less than before” (ll. 43-48).[165] Crashaw still adds his own personal touch, as Claydon shows: “The relationship established by ‘quantum’ and ‘tantum’ is rendered by ‘no lesse,’ ‘no more.’ The whole stanza is focused on a particular, specified act or dramatic situation, whereas the Latin was composed of concise, philosophical, universal language.”[166] Likewise, Parrish states that “the sequence underscores the integrity and efficacy of the sacraments and the continuing nourishment received from Christ.”[167] Divided in species, the substance of God consents to unite Himself whole and entire with the soul who receives Him through the mouth, expanding the soul’s capacity thereby. The human person, like the tabernacle, literally becomes a home for God.

Such is not the case for the soul in mortal sin, as Crashaw goes on to describe. He declaims against communicating in a state of moral turpitude, just as Saint Paul warns that those who do not discern the Body receive it to their own damnation: “Though in itself this sovereign feast / Be all the same to every guest, / Yet on the same (life-meaning) bread / The child of death eats himself dead. / Nor is ‘t love’s fault, but sin’s dire skill / That thus from life can death distill” (ll. 49-54).[168] The irony of death proceeding from life is not lost upon Crashaw in this subtle personification of sin, notwithstanding the gravity of the subject matter. Claydon locates this maxim in the Angelic Doctor’s writ: “Both poets have used the doctrine found in the Summa: ‘If anyone in mortal sin receives this sacrament, he purchases damnation by sinning mortally…’ (Part III, Art. 4: Q. 80).”[169] The Host becomes the guest of the soul and vice versa, but this antidote is poison to anyone who rejects the love Christ has to offer by following one’s own wicked will instead.

At the risk of sounding comical, Crashaw contrasts between the breaking of the bread in the accidents and the wholeness of holiness in substance, remarking that, “When the blessed signs thou broke shall see, / Hold but thy faith entire as he / Who, howsoe’er clad, cannot come / Less than whole Christ in every crumb. / In broken forms a stable faith / Untouched her precious total hath” (ll. 55-60).[170] Although it looks on the surface as if the Godhead has been diminished, nothing can diminish His glory for Crashaw, hidden from earthly eyes in the Sacrament of the altar. Claydon points out how, “Both poets in this stanza are using a form of imperative to remind the addressee that the whole Christ is in every fragment of the Host.”[171] Indeed, Williams enunciates that this “is poetry made from the doctrine of wholeness affirmed in 1551 by the Council of Trent… The Holy Eucharist… is adumbrated by the Twenty-third Psalm and by Christ’s miracle of the feeding of the Five Thousand. By merely speaking the word of blessing, eucharistos, Christ accomplishes the miracle.”[172] Two couplets in iambic tetrameter follow in the eleventh stanza to rejoice in the lowliness of the Deity to enter into humanity as our food and drink: “Lo the life-food of angels then / Bowed to the lowly mouths of men! / The children’s bread; the bridegroom’s wine, / Not to be cast to dogs, or swine” (ll. 61-64).[173] Unlike angels or beasts, human beings espouse themselves to God in Holy Communion, as Crashaw presents it.

In the next quatrains, Crashaw examines the ramifications of the paradox of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He exclaims, “Lo, the full, final, sacrifice / On which all figures fixed their eyes. / The ransomed Isaac, and his ram; / The manna, and the Paschal Lamb” (ll. 65-8).[174] Manna is “pre-figuring Christ’s sacrificial gift of Himself.”[175] As Parrish eloquently explains, “Thus this bread of angels (‘panis angelorum’) feeds men and is the archetypal offering prefigured by three events out of the old law – the near offering of Isaac, the manna given to the Israelites, and the ritual offering of the paschal lamb.”[176] The divine and human person of Christ bridges the manna of the Old Law with the Lamb in the new, as both victim and priest for the holocaust in reparation for sin.

As such, He is the shepherd who feeds His sheep with Himself: “Jesu Master, just and true! / Our food, and faithful shepherd too! / O by thyself vouchsafe to keep, / As with thyself thou feed’st thy sheep” (ll. 69-72).[177] This is a prayer to Jesus “(‘Bone pastor, panis vere’) that this memorial feast anticipate a fuller celebration in heaven.”[178] Rambuss juxtaposes this reality with its alliterative portrayal by another Catholic Metaphysical – the Jesuit saint, Robert Southwell: “Jesus is both food for his sheep and their shepherd – that is, punningly, both their pastor and ‘pasture’ (l. 79). Compare Southwell: ‘Jhesu foode and feeder of us’ (‘Saint Thomas of Aquines Hymne,’ l. 67).”[179] Christ’s love for His followers transcends the liminal boundaries of human beings, as He is both friend and food to the fold.

Finally, Crashaw pleads for the Blood of Christ to transform the faithful in His chalice through theosis: “O let that love which thus makes thee / Mix with our low mortality, / Lift our lean souls, and set us up / Convictors of thine own full cup, / Coheirs of saints. / That so all may / Drink the same wine; and the same way. / Nor change the pasture, but the place / To feed of thee in thine own face. Amen” (ll. 73-81).[180] Parrish stresses “Crashaw’s greater emphasis on the role of love in the commemorative feast. St. Thomas’s original gives priority to faith; Crashaw notes the requisite faith but speaks to the powerful motivation of love as well.”[181] The poetic language bespeaks the Council of Trent’s recourse to “Saint Thomas’s use of Aristotelian distinctions between substance and accident for explaining the nature of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist…. By 1646 it was virtually impossible to write a Eucharistic poem in England that did not register these changes in sacramental theology…”[182] Grotesquely, however, communicants are denoted as cannibalistic vampires, who “feed of thee in thine own face,” yet the jarring aspect of the image forces the reader to reckon with the mind-boggling reality that Communion contains the God of the universe under the roof of the mouth, as human beings participate in Christ’s sacrifice and unite their humanity with His divinity.

Intriguingly, Claydon claims that “St. Thomas… in expressing the sublime dogma of the Holy Eucharist makes use of paradox and word-play to a far greater degree than the English poet, although this quality of the poem made it naturally congenial to the English poet of the seventeenth century.”[183] In Parrish’s account, “in ‘Lauda Sion Salvatorem,’ Crashaw views love as both ascending and descending, directed up towards Christ because of the love manifested downward in the Incarnation.”[184] According to Thomas F. Healy, in this poem about the feast of the Eucharist, “mankind participates in the truth of Christ’s sacrifice and salvation, the signs of bread and wine acting as the means the individual may join in the spiritual reality of that feast… Crashaw intends to receive Christ and become identified with him through the Eucharist.”[185] Thence, Crashaw translates the universal Latin into the personalized English to invite the reader into a deeper Communion with the Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.

Hymn to the Name Above Every Name

            Just as Crashaw wrote a hymn to the name of Teresa, he also penned a poem to the Name of Jesus. The Incarnation of form in matter that the Eucharist enacts implies that the Holy Name of Jesus is a sign that somehow contains what it signifies, as does every invocation of that name. Eugene Cunnar contends that the 1652 Carmen Deo Nostro includes the “Hymn to the Name above Every Name” to assert “the role of ritual action and the sacraments in worship while increasing the role of preaching or the Word,” against the Puritans who would refuse to bow at the Name of Jesus.[186] As Louise Schleiner remarks, “The result suggests a kind of baroque Gesamtkuntswerk: the Name has brought us as much of the goodness of heaven as our senses can perceive. The poem can return to Crashaw’s forceful speech mode for its somber conclusion, the praise of the ancient martyrs and the warning of judgment day.”[187] In toto, the poem captures the full range of human emotion, condensed into a single Name, just as the Christ greater than the cosmos confines Himself to a single Host.

Louis Martz directs the gaze towards the illusionistic trompe-l’oeil ceiling painting of the “Triumph of the Name of Jesus” by Baciccio in Il Gesu as a parallel for what Crashaw attempts to accomplish verbally: “But on the ceiling of the nave is a painting of the late seventeenth century which bursts out of, literally breaks through, the frame, the panel, of its Renaissance form and flows and radiates upward as though the very ceiling were opening into the heavens to reveal far off the radiant Name of Jesus.”[188] Crashaw wants the Name of Jesus to pop out at the viewer from the page, that all may sing His Name in praise. The gilt “IHS” on a Host of Light emblazoned on the dome overshadows the tabernacle, and this is the glory Crashaw’s hymn strives after as well.

Thus, Crashaw’s “Hymn to the Name of Jesus,” a newly popularized Counter-Reformation devotion, acts as a tabernacle for everyone who reads it to metaphorically adore. The tabernacle operates at the center of Crashaw’s vernacular, shaping his poetic lexicon. As Richard Rambuss declares, “In ‘To the Name above Every Name,’ he thus celebrates Christ’s Incarnation for authorizing ‘New similes to nature’ (l. 96), new imagistic analogies for conceptually bridging the divide between the heavenly and the human, the mysterious and the familiar, the supernal and the mundane.”[189] Young traces the origin to the Blood of Christ, as “the poet seeks to rewrite the hand of God in his own imitation or version of ‘scripture,’ thus inscribing the Word – Christ’s name and presences – in his own soul in the Blood of the Lamb.”[190] By calling upon Christ’s sacred name given to Him through Mary by the Angel Gabriel, Crashaw becomes a spiritual tabernacle through his vernacular, as does everyone who reads the poem.

Crashaw commences with an exhortation that the reader make his or her home in the Holy Name of God. With the gusto of Virgil in his Aeneid, or Homer in his Iliad, Crashaw says, “I sing the Name which none can say / But touched with an interior ray; / The Name of our new peace; our good: / Our bliss, and supernatural blood: / The Name of all our lives and loves. / Hearken, and help, ye holy doves!” (ll. 1-6)[191] The image of the Word descending as a Dove is common in Saint Teresa, as is the “interior ray.” Like the Eucharist, the Holy Name beckons the Blood of Christ to sustain the life of the speaker in love. Thus, he commands us in the imperative mood, “All ye wise souls, who in the wealthy breast / Of this unbounded Name build your warm nest.”[192] In so doing, one takes His Name to heart, becoming in effect a tabernacle for the Eternal Word.

He then expands the language of the tabernacle – technically, a chest with doors – to encompass the sky and stars under the banner of the Holy Name:

Go and request

Great Nature for the key of her huge chest

Of heav’ns, the self-involving set of spheres

(Which dull mortality more feels than hears)

Then rouse the nest

Of nimble art, and traverse round

The airy shop of soul-appeasing sound:

And beats a summon in the same

All-sovereign Name

To warn each several kind

And shape of sweetness, be they such

As sight with supple wind

Or answer artful touch,

That they convene and come away

To wait at the love-crowned doors of

This illustrious day. (ll. 28-43)[193]

Invoking the senses of touch and taste – so pertinent in reception of Holy Communion – Crashaw invokes the coming of the wind of the Holy Spirit throughout the universe, resounding the Name of Jesus. In Kuchar’s assessment, the Name of Jesus encompasses the whole of the salvific economy: “The emergence of the Name – which is typologically Creation, Annunciation, circumcision, baptism, Pentecost, and apocalyptic Second Coming at one and the same time – occurs following a mystical orgy of choric praise.”[194] Wallerstein describes the transaction that takes place here as a Consecration of sorts: “Most fully in the hymn To the Name Above Every Name, the Name of Iesus Crashaw describes the powers of the various instruments mingling to blend and become one with the harmony of the universe and to transmute themselves into Love.” [195] The critics are in agreement that Crashaw attempts to contain the Alpha and the Omega within the Hymn to the Name of Jesus.

Indeed, Young astutely hearkens back to the Incarnation as the source of the importance Crashaw places on the name: “The poet invokes the harmony of the universe in praise of the name of Jesus because the name is the principle underlying all harmony. As the Second Person of the Trinity, the creating Word, Christ… unites heaven and earth, calling forth a united hymn of praise from man and angel, earth and heavenly sphere.”[196] Sabine adds that, “In his finest contemplative verse, he would reach out from the evening stillness of the sanctuary to an embattled world that was deaf to the soothing sound of Jesus, the name which, to his mind, cradled the cosmos.”[197] Both the human person and the universe itself become a cabinet that encompasses Christ therein, for His is the Name to which every knee shall bend on earth, above the earth, and beneath the earth. Just as one opens the doors of the mouth to receive the Eucharist, Crashaw opens his mouth to welcome the Name of God opening up from all the doors of creation.

Crashaw proceeds with his grandiloquent soliloquy, rife with Eucharistic imagery as it is. He exclaims, “Look from Thine own illustrious home, / Fair King of Names, and come, / Leave all thy native glories in their gorgeous nest, / And give thyself awhile the gracious guest / Of humble souls, that seek to find / The hidden sweets / Which man’s heart meets / When thou art master of the mind.”[198] Here, Crashaw tells Jesus to leave the “nest” of His tabernacle in Heaven so as to go into the tabernacle of “humble souls,” Whose minds and hearts He is the Master of, whenever they invoke His Name. As souls taste Christ’s spiritual sweetness in Holy Communion, so His Name is sweet on their lips. He can enter the soul entirely.

As the Monstrance entices the worshipper to one day behold the face of God made Man, so, too, “The Name is master of the heart, the soul, the mind, but the way to the inner light is, in this Baroque poem, through the analogy to physical sight… The hopefulness of the celebrants is contrasted with the anguish derived from the absence of the object celebrated…”[199] This love is kind of alchemy in Kuchar’s view: “In this highly sensuous sacramental figure, one that evokes sexual as well as melodic intercourse, music performs a Eucharistic function; it allows the speaker to experience the scriptural abstraction that he lives, moves and has his being in the Logos.”[200] Whereas the previous two poems concern the physical reception of Holy Communion at Mass, recitation of the ejaculatory prayer to the Holy Name of Jesus at any time of day or night constitutes a spiritual communion.

Crashaw speaks even more explicitly the vernacular of the tabernacle in the following passage. He rejoices, “Lo we hold our hearts wide ope! / Unlock thy cabinet of day, / Dearest Sweet, and come away. / Lo how the thirsty lands / Gasp for thy golden showers, with long-stretched hands!”[201] While that final phrase has come to acquire a regrettable connotation, Crashaw’s lyricism is so sharp that he is able to christen the crudest pun and divinize it, for as Titus says, “All is pure to the pure.” Here, Crashaw implores the Son of God to enter the doors of hearts unhinged to receive Him, just as the dome of the sky is a tabernacle that opens every morning for the monstrance of the sun. Souls thirst to be quenched with the golden grace of His presence, like a shaft of light on incense in Benediction.

In the next canto, it seems as if Crashaw has already arrived at the realm of heavenly contemplation towards the Lamb of God, so potent is his invocation of the Name of El-Shaddai (which derives etymologically from Hebrew for “the breast of God,” incidentally). Wallerstein writes, “the hymn To the Name Above Every Name pleads to be released from aesthetic to contemplative vision won through meditation on Christ. The works of St. Teresa exerted a very profound influence in deepening the content of Crashaw’s experience.”[202] As Young points out, for “Crashaw, the name itself is significant.”[203] He can almost taste the fruit of the Eucharist just by repeating that sacred title:

O see, the weary lids of wakeful hope

(Love’s eastern windows) all wide ope

With curtains drawn,

To catch the daybreak of thy dawn.

Take thine own wings, and come away.

Lo, where aloft it comes! It comes, among

The conduct of adoring spirits, that throng

Like diligent bees, and swarm about it.

O they are wise

And know what sweets are sucked from out it.

It is the hive

By which they thrive,

Where all their hoard of honey lies.

Lo where it comes, upon the snow Dove’s

Soft back; and brings a bosom big with loves.

Welcome to our dark world, thou

Womb of day! (ll. 145-162)[204]

As the eyes open to behold the Monstrance showing the hidden God behind the veil, so the curtains of cloud reveal the sunrise at dawn. Mixing his Trinitarian metaphors, the Divine Name enshrined becomes a hive, or “hoard of honey” for “adoring spirits” to partake in, just like the Eucharist; “the name of Jesus… is reduced to an object of simple, gustatory desire.”[205] Warren writes, “customarily the pleasure of the palate, too, becomes symbolic, as it is when the Psalmist bids us ‘taste… how good the Lord is.’ This palatal imagery might be expected to culminate in apostrophes to the Blessed Sacrament…”[206] Crashaw calls upon Christ the Lord, Who is somehow metaphysically contained in the Name, Jesus; after all, Christ was born and died in poverty, so that humanity could be reunited with divinity.

As Mary (dubbed the Spouse of the Holy Spirit in Catholic theology) bore the Son of God into the world and nourished Him at her breasts so that He could in turn sustain the human race, Crashaw says that the Dove of the Holy Spirit “brings a bosom big with loves” and is the “Womb of day.” Kuchar shows how “it represents Christ’s literal feeding at Mary’s breast as a baptismal prefiguration of the saving power of his wounds…”[207] Mary’s womb was the initial tabernacle, after she consented in her own vernacular to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in her heart. Strict boundaries of person and place are violated in Crashaw’s syntax so as to imbue the reader with the expansive nature of this Name above all Names, which is singular in its capacity to render present the Person named.

Young characterizes “‘Hymn to the Name of Jesus’ as a poem whose purpose is to illuminate the spiritual significance of a liturgical feast.”[208] For Crashaw the linguist, the Holy Name of Jesus truly is a hapax legomenon in any language. Ironically, Crashaw coopts the Judaic prohibition against the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton by refraining from spelling out “Jesus” throughout the course of the Hymn in honor of His Name. Kuchar says the “‘Hymn to the Name Above Every Name’ aims to create the effect that it is, as in the Cabalistic view of the Torah, ‘nothing but the great Name of God.’”[209] Indeed, Young interprets the poem in terms of Eucharistic mysticism: “If the name of Jesus is identified with salud – with ‘health,’ ‘salvation,’ ‘state of grace’ – then the basis for Crashaw’s rapturous celebration gathers rational force. The very name itself, by including the letters of the tetragrammaton, brings God into the world by incorporating the divine mystery.”[210] If this is true, no wonder Saint John of Damascus could describe saints as receptacles of divine energy.

The next stanza maintains all the trappings of Tridentine Adoration. Crashaw raves, “Sweet Name, in thy each syllable / A thousand blessed Arabias dwell; / A thousand hills of frankincense; / Mountains of myrrh, and beds of spices, / And ten thousand paradises / The soul that tastes thee takes from thence” (ll. 183-188). [211] The incense that wafts before the wafer in Adoration is said to carry prayers to Heaven, while reminding one of the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh laid at the feet of the Christ Child in the manger by the Magi from Arabia and far off lands. Mario Bertonasco reports, “Image after image arises to express the richness and the treasure embodied in the name Jesus. The psalmist was content with ‘Taste and see how sweet the Lord is,’ but Crashaw develops and enriches as if he were attempting to convey the infinite extent of the sweetness and goodness.”[212] Young employs these lyrics to support his contention that the hymn was written for the Feast of the Circumcision: “[T]he hymn to the Holy Name considers the Circumcision and the naming of Jesus sub specie aeternitatis as the act which elevated human nature in Christ into the divine real and won the salvation of the world… Crashaw is… illuminating the meaning of a rite of public worship and… investing it with… an ardent sense of mystery.”[213] The Name of Jesus is redolent of heavenly aromas for Crashaw, inviting the reader to circumscribe one’s life in accord with the Name as a love offering to honor Him.

Others attribute the inspiration for the hymn to the Feast of the Holy Name itself, which was celebrated after the Circumcision and before the Feast of Epiphany. The hymn echoes medieval verses: “Sweet is the memory of Jesus (‘Jesu dulcis memoria’), the medieval poet proclaims, but sweet above honey and all else is His presence (‘Sed super mel et omnia/Ejus dulcis praesentia’). Jesus is sweet music to the ears (‘aure dulce canticum’), an object for men to taste, and a light (‘lumine’) shining in a world of darkness.”[214] Here, Crashaw metaphysically asserts that Paradise lies in Christ’s Real Presence, and His spiritual presence is contained with in His Name, a necessary ramification of His Incarnation.

Kuchar claims that this “is the Eucharistic ‘sealing’ of words with Word, of names and Name, of particular with universal. Everything depends upon this mysterious moment of illumination.”[215] For Healy as well, the Hymn to the Name “recalls the bread and wine of the Holy Sacrament, the physical tasting of which brings to the devout soul the spiritual fruits of the Resurrection.”[216] Later, Crashaw reflects how, “Happy he who has the art / To awake them, / And to take them / Home, and lodge them in his heart” (ll. 193-6).[217] Kuchar observes that “By ‘lodging’ the image of divine mercies and comforts in to the heart, one reintegrates the soul as a peculiarly maternal version of the imago Dei.”[218] For Crashaw, true art of head and hand consists in one’s ability to awaken the insight to hold the Name of Love Himself in one’s heart, becoming a spiritual tabernacle through vernacular enactment.

Crashaw develops this theme of becoming a human monstrance through confession of the Name in Whom one believes. Young explains that, “Just as Christ’s wounds are ‘written’ in the heart of his mother and of all the faithful, so his name is inscribed in the blood of the martyrs. They are thus a ‘book’ of Scripture: in revealing Christ through their wounds, the martyrs anticipate the final Revelation – another term for ‘Apocalypse.’”[219] Substantiating young’s interpretation, Crashaw cites the heroism of the martyrs who carried forth Christ into the world through their speech in life and their faith in death and acted as human tabernacles of God by doing so: “On their bold breasts about the world they bore thee / And to the teeth of hell stood up to teach thee, / In center of their inmost souls they wore thee, / Where racks and torments strived, in vain, to reach thee” (ll. 203-206).[220] Kuchar expresses that “What is of great interest about Crashaw’s sacramental rhetoric is the way that it participates in… making… [himself] an image of the Logos.”[221] The tongue that confesses Christ carries Him in the breast, no matter what any torturer can devise to deprive one of His presence “in center of their inmost souls.”

Thus, martyrs are tabernacles, and their murderers commit sacrilege. Moreover, within His “flaming-breasted lovers” there burns a sacred fire like the vigil candle in front of the tabernacle – “That impatient fire / The heart that hides thee hardly covers” (ll. 212, 215-5).[222] Crashaw could not make the parallel to the Eucharist clearer if he wanted to; God takes up His dwelling and abides in the heart that adores Him, as Isaiah says. Albert Cirillo of Northwestern directly connects the poem to the Eucharist:

In Catholic ritual, the act of transubstantiation is a daily reiteration of both of             these advents simultaneously; that is, a daily coming of the Name on an actual     yet mystical level wherein the Name takes flesh in the host and enters the soul of      the communicant. Man can avail himself of these advents in the sacrifice and           reception of the Eucharist.[223]

Crashaw writes from the perspective of one who believes with the entirety of mind, heart, and soul that whatever one asks in Christ’s Name, He will grant it. For Crashaw, Christ is most willing to grant Himself entry into the heart that loves Him.

Furthermore, martyrs not only contain God within, they also join their sacrifice with His. Eleanor McNees goes so far as to advocate the belief that the poet, “Like the priest… aspires to make words perform a miracle; like Adam, he tries to make names reveal the essence of the object named.”[224] Crashaw concludes the “Hymn to the Name” by musing, “Each wound of theirs was thy new morning; / And re-enthroned thee in thy rosy nest, / With blush of thine own blood thy day adorning, / It was the wit of love o’erflowed the bounds / Of wrath, and made thee way through all those wounds. / Welcome dear, all-adored Name!” (ll. 220-5)[225] In Crashaw’s account, Christ’s redeeming death lives on through the surrendering of His martyrs to the benevolent protection of Divine Providence. Christ accepts their blood, shed for His sake, as consanguineous with His, making it meritorious as a propitiatory offering before the throne of God and court of Heaven. The martyrs quite literally are branded with the Name of the One for Whom they perished.

Like the carnation flower presented before the tabernacle at the altar, the blood of the martyrs adorns the Name that they adore in time and eternity. Hauntingly, Crashaw propounds in the final lines, “They that by Love’s mild dictate now / Will not adore thee, / Shall then, with just confusion, bow / And break before Thee” (ll. 236-9)[226] At the Consecration and Adoration of the Eucharist, one must bow, so Crashaw would have one bow at the very Name of Jesus. He claims that those who refuse to bow now will be broken in their very being. The Eucharist was broken in the species of bread, and Christ was broken on the Cross. As Young surmises, “The liturgical bent of Crashaw’s poetry is never more apparent; the celebration of the feast of the Holy Name furnishes an opportunity to establish the general grounds of corporate worship in the union of Church Triumphant with Church Militant, in prayer and praise.”[227] The food of Heaven feeds Heaven’s fighters on Earth – those who “fight the good fight,” as Saint Paul puts it, in the Name of Jesus.

Parrish ventures that the hymn re-enacts the Incarnation through incantation of the Name.[228] Parrish adduces how, “The poet wishes for a fullness of the experience, to be totally consumed by the sweetness of the Name to the obliteration of all profane concerns… the physical senses are evoked finally to be overwhelmed by the higher perception of divinity; the only lasting sweetness is not physical…”[229] Crashaw’s crashing conclusion to the “Hymn of the Name” echoes Origen’s maxim that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. The “Hymn to the Name Above Every Name” is the natural companion-piece to “Hymn to the Name of the Honorable Saint Teresa,” since Teresa always signed her name in her writings alongside His, as “Teresa of Jesus.” While the purportedly Catholic Shakespeare could inquire in Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name?” Crashaw could answer in a word: “Everything.”

Baciccio Triumph of the Name Il Gesu



Crashaw’s adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus both stem from his veneration of Saint Teresa of Avila. In 1970, Venerable Pope Paul VI declared her the first female Doctor of the Church. She provided Crashaw (and every reader) a model to follow in the way of love of the Savior of the world. Her Eucharistic mysticism is implied in the Moradas, or “Mansions” of the Interior Castle, as the body is regarded as a temple for the soul, and the soul in turn is a temple for God. However, some of Teresa’s other, lesser-known works (with which Crashaw also exhibits familiarity) constitute the basis for a Eucharistic analysis, as they establish the foundation from which the Interior Castle arises. As Teresa herself admits, she often wrote after visiting Christ in the tabernacle, or communicating. Michael Griffin articulates gratitude for this, saying, “We are fortunate that Saint Teresa left us an account of… meditations she experienced after Communion. In this way we gain a rare glimpse into the way she was led to think and experience and offer herself fully to her Eucharistic Lord and Savior.”[230] By delving into the Eucharistic elements in her Life, Spiritual Relations, Way of Perfection, and Conceptions of the Love of God, the pattern of Saint Teresa’s vernacular of the tabernacle will become clear.

The Life of the Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus

While the Carmelite scholar Kieran Kavanaugh has given the most comprehensive English translation of Saint Teresa of Avila to date, this thesis has opted for Cambridge professor E. Allison Peers’ 1913 edition of her works for the sake of consistency, as his is the version that Crashaw’s critics have most often had recourse to throughout the past century. In addition, the older translation employs archaic language that chronologically would have been more proximate to the translation of Teresa’s autobiography that Crashaw would have known. However, the fact that Crashaw took Teresa as his muse centuries before her complete works had ever been translated into his native tongue at all is so conspicuous a detail as to raise any curious researcher’s interest in him in the first place.

In the introduction to his marvelous compendium, Peers makes the rather arcane remark that “Mysticism… is in part an experimental science.”[231] What the translator presumably intends is that growth in holiness is only accomplished through much trial and error in temporal circumstances. Thus, we must investigate the way in which “she leads the soul from the most rudimentary stages of the Purgative Way to the very heights of Union, bringing it into the innermost mansion of the Interior Castle, where… it can have fruition of union with the Lord of that Castle and experience a foretaste of the Beatific Vision of the life to come.”[232] The Eucharist acts as the primary catalyst of the soul’s transformation through theosis (death to self and life in God, lauded by Crashaw), so it will be the focal point of our brief foray here.

A recurring aspect of Teresa’s Autobiography, or Life (originally published in English by Cambridge as “The Life of the Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus”) is the sense that her spirit could not communicate anything of what was occurring, were she not communicating (that is, receiving the Eucharist) with great frequency. Indeed, as early as Chapter VI, she declares, “I communicated and confessed very much more frequently – and this by my own wish.”[233] Thus, she prays with a Crashavian sense of annihilation and restoration, “may it please His Majesty that I be utterly consumed rather than cease to love Him.”[234] Theologically speaking, she seeks to be consumed by the One she consumes in the Eucharist.

In Chapter VIII, she rejoices in terms that certainly influenced Crashaw. Teresa exults, “O Joy of the angels, how I long, when I think of this, to be wholly consumed in love for Thee!”[235] Further, as we have witnessed, Crashaw echoes her paeans to a life that dies to self for the love of God in the Eucharist: “Yea, Life of all lives, Thou slayest none of those that put their trust in Thee and desire Thee for their Friend; rather dost Thou sustain their bodily life with greater health and give life to their souls.”[236] Thus, as Saint Paul pens, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”[237] For Teresa and Crashaw alike, the soul that lives in God has God live in her, truly a vernacular of the tabernacle.

Crashaw also ties martyrdom to the Eucharist under the influence of Saint Teresa. In Chapter XI, Teresa explains how, “I believe myself that often in the early stages, and again later, it is the Lord’s will to give us these tortures, and many other temptations which present themselves, in order to test His lovers and discover if they can drink of the chalice and help Him to bear the Cross before He trusts them with His great treasures.”[238]

Those who would love, fight, and die for Christ on the spiritual battlefield must derive their strength from the Precious Blood of Jesus in the chalice, as Teresa alludes to here. This spirituality anticipates how Crashaw lauds the martyrs in the “Hymn to the Name Above Every Name.”

Saint Teresa also employs a concatenation of culinary comparisons, which certainly appealed to Crashaw’s taste for Baroque sensuality. In Chapter XIII, Teresa explains how Jesus grants graces to the soul apportioned to her stage of development: “There is a time for one thing and a time for another; were there not, the soul would grow tired of always eating the same food… if the palate is accustomed to their taste, they provide great sustenance for the life of the soul, and bring it many other benefits.”[239] While critics have scoffed at Crashaw’s propensity for mammary metaphors, there is a deep meaning behind these allusions, and Teresa gives a clue to their source: “No soul on this road is such a giant that it does not often need to become a child at the breast again. (This must never be forgotten: I may repeat it again and again, for it is of great importance.)”[240] Just as Jesus suckled at Mary’s breast, so too Teresa tells souls to derive their nourishment from Him in the Eucharist, lest they fall ill through sin and human weakness.

Saint Teresa depicts the Eucharist truly as food for the journey. She says, “And self-knowledge with regard to sin is the bread which must be eaten with food of every kind, however dainty it may be, on this road of prayer: without this bread we could not eat our food at all. But bread must be taken in moderate proportions.”[241] Here, Teresa recalls Saint John Climacus, the Desert Father who instructed his mentees to beg for the bread of tears of repentance. The Eucharist acts as a fortification against the temptation to despair over one’s past faults or future failings. Thus, it requires great trust to receive in the right disposition. The Carmelite mystic intimates that “His Majesty knows better than we what kind of food is good for us.”[242] By letting Christ become her nourishment, Saint Teresa progresses from room to room of the castle within her soul, until she can become one with Him in a tabernacle of love. Her vernacular, like Crashaw’s, indicates that the tabernacle is the destination of her peregrination.

The great reformer of Carmel goes on to compare the soul to a garden, and the Eucharist is the sun. Teresa exalts, ““O my Lord and my Good! I cannot say this without tears and great delight of soul that Thou, Lord, shouldst wish to be with us, and art with us, in the Sacrament.”[243] Crashaw relished this sentence no doubt, attributing the source of every benefit to Holy Communion and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It could be said without much exaggeration that both Crashaw and Teresa dipped their quills in the well of Christ’s Precious Blood, for as Teresa observes, “When the Lord gives inspiration, one can write better and more easily.”[244] By remaining near to the Heart of God in the tabernacle, both Crashaw and his muse, Saint Teresa, make their verbal works spiritual tabernacles that transform anyone who reads them into a tabernacle like them.

The saint of Avila – like her chief admirer in poetry – has a fondness for bibulous allusions. Teresa relates that “after I had communicated… I used often to commit follies because of this love, and to be inebriated with it, yet I had never been able to understand its nature.”[245] Indeed, Teresa explicates that “once the two faculties have begun to grow inebriated with the taste of this Divine wine, they are very ready to lose themselves in order to gain the more, and so they keep company with the will and all three rejoice together.”[246] Likewise, Teresa pines for the divine: “Oh, how often, when in this state, do I remember that verse of David: Quemodum desiderat cervus ad fonts aquarum, which I seem to see fulfilled literally in myself… ‘As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after thee, O God.’”[247] Her writing, like Crashaw’s, is by one drunk with the divine wine, such that she herself admits, “Many words are spoken, during this state, in praise of God, but, unless the Lord Himself puts order into them, they have no orderly form.”[248] Furthermore, Saint Teresa places the prophet David in this camp. Since Saint David of the Old Testament is the patron of poets,[249] Crashaw was no doubt gratified by Teresa’s citation of him as a soul so intoxicated with God that he had to celebrate Him with harp, song, and dance before the tabernacle of the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem.

Speaking in the third person, Teresa also relates how it felt when she experienced this state of soul: “It would fain be all tongue, so that it might praise the Lord… I know a person who, though no poet, composed some verses in a very short time, which were full of feeling and admirably descriptive of her pain.”[250] The poem she likely had in mind is “Vivo Sin Vivir En Mi,” in which Teresa expresses how it is not she who lives within herself; now, it is Christ who is the Divine Prisoner in the tabernacle of her body and soul: “Esta divina prisión, / Del amor con que yo vivo, / Ha hecho a Dios me cautivo. / Y libre mi corazón / Y causa en mi tal pasion, / Ver a Dios mi prisionero, / Que muero porque no muero.”[251] Father Adrian Cooney, O.C.D., translates this canto as follows: “Within this divine prison, / Of love in which I live, / My God my captive is. / My heart is free / To behold my prisoner-God, / Passion welling in my heart, / I die because I do not die.”[252] Teresa closes every strophe with this final line, “I die because I do not die,” which gives rise to the personal motto prefacing Crashaw’s Steps to the Temple: “VIVE JESU. Live, Jesus, live, and let it be / My life to die for love of Thee.”[253] Teresa’s ballad stanzas convey the nuances of the passion that Saint Teresa feels to see Christ her Liberator keeping her alive as a Captive in the prison of her heart, when she would rather die to be with Him. Both Crashaw’s and Teresa’s verses are inflected with all the yearning of the Pauline epistles. The irony of dying mystically to self in order to live eternally in Christ is a theme that Crashaw picks up over and over again in his own vernacular of the tabernacle, as is the idea of God locked in the cabinet of the human person.

As Crashaw does mere decades later, Teresa expressly unites the Name of Jesus with the Divine Company hidden in the tabernacle. She writes, “In the Most Holy Sacrament He is our Companion and it would seem impossible for Him to leave us for a moment.”[254] Saint Teresa urges the reader to constantly remind oneself of Christ’s Eucharistic company through devotion to His Most Holy Name: “Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul, from whose lips the name of Jesus seems never to have been absent, because He was firmly enshrined in his heart.”[255] The heart that loves God becomes a shrine for Him, and from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, as Saint Luke the Evangelist writes. For Teresa, this is the hinging point for all the mystics – Franciscan, Cistercian, or Dominican: “Saint Francis, with his stigmata, illustrates this, as does Saint Anthony of Padua with the Divine Infant. Saint Bernard, too, delighted in Christ’s Humanity, and so did Saint Catherine of Siena and many others of whom Your Reverence will know better than I.”[256] These saints – especially the stigmatists – became human tabernacles by bearing Christ’s wounds on their bodies, and His words on their lips.

Teresa’s time before Christ in the tabernacle raised her to new heights, of which Crashaw writes. The Transverberation (which she speaks of in Chapter XXIX) only occurred after the Lord’s locution to Teresa, wherein He told her, “I will have thee converse now, not with men, but with angels.”[257] Likewise, Thomas Aquinas said, “The Bread of Angels became the Bread of Men.” Those who would speak with angels must be like an inn to welcome God in, and then, they will taste the fruit of His Real Presence, according to Saint Teresa in Chapter XXVIII: “Sometimes He comes with such majesty that no one can doubt it is the Lord Himself; this is especially so after Communion, for we know that He is there, since the Faith tells us so. He reveals Himself so completely as the Lord of that inn, the soul, that it feels as though it were wholly dissolved and consumed in Christ.”[258] Teresa speaks of her communications at Mass in the unmistakable language of the tabernacle: “Sometimes – almost habitually, indeed, or at least very frequently – I would find relief after communicating… the very act of approaching the Sacrament would at once make me feel so well, both in soul and in body … My soul seemed to emerge from the crucible like gold, both brighter and purer, to find the Lord within it.”[259] Transverberation, or not, one can never be closer to Christ than when receiving Holy Communion; for both Crashaw and Teresa, the God Whom they consume consumes them with His Love, and their vernacular of the tabernacle evolves from this principle.

Spiritual Relations   

Allison Peers introduces his translation of the “Spiritual Relations Addressed By Saint Teresa of Jesus to her Confessors” by stating that many of them were composed after she received the Holy Eucharist.[260] Communion caused her communication with the community, quite literally. In the sixth Relation from Palencia in the year 1581, Teresa communicates how “My interior peace and the little which joys or troubles can do to deprive me permanently of this presence make it so impossible for me to doubt the presence of the three Persons that I seem clearly to be experiencing the truth of those words of Saint John, that He will make His abode with the soul.”[261] Thus, the human that makes his or her heart a tabernacle for Jesus to rest in can truly say with Saint Teresa, “I for Thee and Thou for me. Life.”[262] Or, in the words of Crashaw’s life motto, “Live, Jesus, live and let it be / My life to die, for love of thee.”[263] Crashaw simply versifies Teresa’s spirituality, which extolls the favors of God towards the soul who loves Him.

So important is Holy Communion to achieve union with Christ that Teresa relates the following mystical experience. Once, after Communion, Christ appeared to her and said, “[S]ince ascending into the heavens, He had never come down to earth again to communicate Himself to anyone, except in the Most Holy Sacrament.”[264] In Relation XVIII, Jesus tells Teresa, “Labour not to hold Me enclosed within thyself but to enclose thyself within Me.”[265] The person that receives the Second Person of the Trinity is thus assimilated into Him. Teresa views how the Trinity “communicated Themselves to all created things, and never either failed to do this or ceased to be with me.”[266] At the risk of Gnosticism (for which Saint Teresa was briefly investigated in the Spanish Inquisition and for which she drafted this correspondence), the saint asserts that “there are profound interior secrets to be learned when we communicate.”[267] By going inward with God, the soul can go outward to the ends of the earth with Him, too. For Teresa, Holy Communion enables the human to partake of the Divine behind all things, as Crashaw also expresses in all of his poems.

These mystical exhortations possess sectarian ramifications not readily reconcilable with modern ecumenical concerns. However, they certainly spurred Crashaw’s consideration, given his consequent conversion to Catholicism. According to Saint Teresa, Jesus told her after Communion, “My Christians, daughter… must now, more than ever do the reverse of what the Lutherans do.”[268] Crashaw attempted to do just that, and he was exiled from his native land for it. Stridently, Teresa complains how “these Lutherans seem to want to drive Him out of the world again: they destroy churches, cause the loss of many priests and abolish the sacraments.”[269] Here, Teresa asserts the literalism of her belief in Christ’s words, “This is My Body.” For her, any attack on the Holy Sacrament or distortion of Eucharistic theology threatens to compromise the unity and integrity of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Crashaw’s rejection of Protestant iconoclasm may have made him a pariah in England, but he became a signal figure in the Counter-Reformation Baroque movement. He went to the Continent in search of Transubstantiation, rather than consubstantiation. This, in a nutshell, explains the sensuality of his incarnational spirituality, with its roots in Saint Teresa’s mysticism. Communion offers the soul the opportunity to become one with God, as Saint Teresa states: “One day, when I had just communicated, I thought that my soul was really becoming one with that most sacred Body of the Lord, Whose presence was revealed to me: this had a marked effect on me and brought me great profit.”[270] Crashaw writes under the basic premise that it is possible to unite one’s flesh with God’s through the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the elements of bread and wine.

Way of Perfection

For Saint Teresa, Holy Communion is nothing less than the Way of Perfection itself. In Chapter XXXIV, she writes that whenever she hears “people say they wished they had lived when Christ walked on this earth, she would smile to herself, for she knew that we have Him as truly with us in the Most Holy Sacrament as people had Him then, and wonder what more they could possibly want.”[271] She expounds that whenever she communicates, “it was exactly as if she saw the Lord entering her house, with her own bodily eyes, for she believed in very truth that this Lord was entering her poor abode, and she ceased, as far as she could, to think of outward things, and went into her abode with Him….”[272] Teresa, like Crashaw, refers to herself as the house for God: “If, while He went about in the world, the sick were healed merely by touching His clothes, how can we doubt that He will work miracles when He is within us, if we have faith, or that He will give us what we ask of Him since He is in our house?”[273] For Teresa and Crashaw alike, Christ grants whatever is asked in His Name, for He dwells in the hearts of those who ask.

Sadly, often communicants resist ceding rights to the house of their body and soul over to their Lord and Savior: “Hardly is the hour over which such a person has spent in fulfilling the Church’s commandment than he goes home and tries to drive Christ out of the house… he seems to be making all possible haste to prevent the Lord from taking possession of the house which is His own.”[274] Saint Teresa communicates the fact that Christ “suffers everything, and will continue to do so, if He finds but one single soul which will receive Him and love to have Him as its Guest.”[275] Thus, Crashaw’s hymns serve as a corrective lens to reorient the heart towards the God received within the Eucharist.

Conceptions of the Love of God

Allison Peers’ commentary on Exclamations of the Soul to God is also applicable to his translation of the Conceptions of the Love of God. He eloquently presents Teresa’s Eucharistic mysticism as follows:

Little need be said of these white-hot embers from the fire of the Saint’s love,        which, despite the centuries that have passed since they were first written in the       sacred moments after her Communions, can still enkindle the hearts of those          who read them… The theme of them all is the same – a glowing love for Jesus          and a vehement desire for the closest possible union with Him that the soul can     achieve. Fervent as it is, St. Teresa’s language is wholly devoid both of    monotony and of pointless hyperbole. Its spontaneity and naturalness, indeed,      are its most precious qualities: there is little more    attractive post-Communion    literature in existence.[276]

The same could be said of Richard Crashaw’s interpretations of Saint Teresa’s Eucharistic mysticism, which so often simply distills and condenses her insights into a palatable form for the English speaker. The Conceptions of the Love of God, moreover, contain some of Teresa’s most amorous passages towards the Sacred Host, presenting a clear precursor to the poetry of Crashaw.

From the beginning, Teresa calls upon the Song of Songs to express her love for the Lord hidden within the Host. She beseeches Heaven with a paraphrase of the first line of Canticles: “Let the Lord kiss me with the kiss of his mouth, for thy breasts are better than wine.”[277] Romancing the divine with wine and resting upon the breast are leitmotifs that run throughout the entire course of Crashaw’s oeuvre. Much has been made of Crashaw’s erotic lyricism, but Teresa is his obvious predecessor in this regard:

But when this most wealthy Spouse desires to enrich and comfort the Bride still    more, He draws her so closely to Him that she is like one who swoons from   excess of pleasure and joy and seems to be suspended in those Divine arms and     drawn near to that sacred side and to those Divine breasts. Sustained by that        Divine milk with which her Spouse continually nourishes her and growing in grace so that she may be enabled to receive His comforts, she can do nothing but rejoice. Awakening from that sleep and heavenly inebriation, she felt it             impossible to rise higher; but now that she finds herself in a loftier state, and       wholly absorbed in God’s indescribable greatness, she realizes how she has been    nourished and makes this subtle comparison, saying: ‘Thy breasts are better than wine.’[278]

Here, Teresa describes with evocative imagery how the union of the soul with God in Holy Communion suspends the senses in a rapturous ecstasy that transcends the intellect and the imagination. Crashaw attempts to induce this state in the reader by his vaulting language.

The power of the Eucharist goes beyond all creation, for Teresa. Thus, Crashaw could pen the lines, “Farewell then all the world, adieu, / Teresa is no more for you” (ll. 57-58).[279] In fact, Teresa reports, “Great is this favour, my Spouse, and this delectable feast, and this precious wine that Thou givest me, one drop of which makes me forget all created things, and withdraw from the creatures and from myself and no longer desire the satisfactions and joys which until now my senses have longed for.”[280] The saint clarifies that one who has reached this frame of mind is out of the pale of rational thought: “Our Lord has given such great favours in prayer that, by means of suspension, He brings them to a state of holy inebriation and even by outward signs it can be seen that they are not in possession of their faculties.”[281] Therefore, Crashaw’s style has an enthusiasm beyond all bounds, as the Greek derivation of the word enthusiasm means “living in God.”

The tabernacle has the same root word as tavern, and Saint Teresa picks up on this connotation. She reflects the warmth of the Bridegroom Who invites her in to enjoy the fruits of His bounty:

These words of the Bride, therefore, ‘He brought me into the cellar’, can bear a      great many meanings at once, and she may come out from that cellar with       immeasurable riches. It would seem that the King desires that there shall be            nothing left for Him to give: His will is that she shall drink, and become       inebriated with all the wines that are in the storehouse of God… Blessed is the      death that brings with it such a life![282]

The connection between the tabernacle and the tavern (the sacred and the profane) seeps deeply into Crashaw’s poetry. He composes his hymns as one drunk in the cellar of God, but it was Saint Teresa who showed him the way to the wine.


Across the centuries, Teresa the saint and Crashaw the poet convened at the bosom of Rome, where each of them found repose in the Blood of the Lamb. The two of them together embody one of the most spectacular spiritual friendships in the history of religious art. For the sake of the Divine Spouse, Saint Teresa was alienated by her Order, and Crashaw was alienated from his nation. Perhaps that is why the poet in exile gravitated towards the Spanish mystic in the first place. As Lorraine Roberts writes, his “is the voice of a poet who chooses to adopt a persona that bridges the gap between past and present, heaven and earth, God and man.”[283] She continues: “This larger community that Crashaw establishes – in solidarity with God and his saints and the Church Militant, while in exile from his country and friends – does not suggest his abnormality or foreignness, but rather his strength of character and depth of vision when confronted with radical rejection.” The community that Teresa of Avila and Richard Crashaw could not find on Earth, they found in Heaven through Holy Communion, and they sought to communicate the glory of that union with the world. In the tabernacle, these two souls found a home, and they wanted to tell everyone about their discovery. Hence, perhaps it is best to conclude this thesis on the vernacular of the tabernacle not with words but with an image, a sketch said to have been drawn by Crashaw himself for Adoro Te (Figure 4). In the words of Crashaw and Teresa together, “Vive Jesu!

Drawing of TabernacleFigure 4. Richard Crashaw, Behold the Bread of Angels, 1648 (woodcut in Steps to the Temple).[284]


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            [1] Lorraine M. Roberts and John R. Roberts, “Crashavian Criticism: A Brief Interpretive History,” in New Perspectives on the Life and Art of Richard Crashaw, ed. John R. Roberts (Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri, 1990), 9.

[2] Francis Thompson, “Crashaw,” Merry England 13 (1889): 45

[3] T.S. Eliot, review of The Poems, English, Latin, and Greek, of Richard Crashaw, ed. by L.C. Martin, The Dial 84 (1928): 250.

[4] Alec Guinness, “To St. Teresa,” in The Alec Guinness Poetry Collection, last modified November 14, 2014, accessed August 8, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK0KHYiqndk.

[5] Benedict, The Spirit of the Liturgy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2014).

            [6] Maureen Sabine, “Richard Crashaw,” Poetry Foundation, accessed August 8, 2017, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/richard-crashaw.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.


[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ruth Wallerstein, Richard Crashaw: A Study in Style and Poetic Development (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1959), 32.

            [14] E.I. Watkin, “Richard Crashaw,” in The English Way: Studies in English Sanctity, from St. Bede to Newman, ed. Maisie Ward and Martin Cyril D’Arcy (Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1968), 268.

[15] Austin Warren, Richard Crashaw: A Study in Baroque Sensibility (University: Louisiana State University Press, 1939), 19-20.

            [16] Richard Rambuss, introduction to The English Poems of Richard Crashaw, by Richard Crashaw (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013), xxxi.

[17] Richard Geha, Jr., ‘Richard Crashaw (1613) “The Ego’s Soft Fall,’ American Imago 23 (1966): 165.

[18] Mario Praz, Secentismo e Marinismo in Inghilterra: John Donne-Richard Crashaw (Florence: Societa An. Editrice La Voce, 1925), 152 and 188.

            [19] Watkin, “Richard Crashaw,” 269.

[20] George Walton Williams, Image and Symbol in the Sacred Poetry of Richard Crashaw (Columbia (S.C.): University of South Carolina Press, 1967), 123.

[21] Itrat Husain, “Richard Crashaw,” in The Mystical Element in the Metaphysical Poets of the Seventeenth Century (New York: Biblo & Tannen Publishers, 1948), 163. 159-192

[22] Michael Cayley, introduction to Richard Crashaw, by Richard Crashaw (Salisbury: Fyfield Books, 1972), 3.

            [23] Ibid.

[24] Cayley, introduction, 9.

[25] Warren, Richard Crashaw, 44.

[26] R.A. Eric Shepherd, introduction to The Religious Poems of Richard Crashaw, by Richard Crashaw (London: Manresa Press, 1914), 7.

[27] Robert T. Petersson, The Art of Ecstasy: Teresa, Bernini, and Crashaw (New York: Atheneum, 1974), 13.

[28] Paul Parrish, Richard Crashaw, ed. by Arthur Kinney (Boston: Twayne, 1980), 31.

            [29] Warren, Richard Crashaw, 26.

[30] Edwin Mims, “Richard Crashaw: Sensuous Priest,” in The Christ of the Poets (Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1948), 85.

[31] Warren, Richard Crashaw, 274.

[32] Rambuss, introduction, li.

            [33] Wallerstein, Richard Crashaw: A Study in Style and Poetic Development, 17.

[34] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 13.

[35] Watkin, “Richard Crashaw,” 277.

            [36] Rambuss, introduction, liv.

[37] Watkin, “Richard Crashaw,” 278.

[38] Sister Margaret Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases of the Vexilla Regis, Stabat Mater, Adoro Te, Lauda Sion, Dies Irae, O Gloriosa Domina: A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the Catholic University of America in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1960), 106.

[39] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 32.

            [40] See H. Torsellinus’ The History of our B. Lady of Loreto and Rev. G.E. Phillips, Loreto and the Holy House.

[41] Thomas F. Healy, Richard Crashaw (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1986), 4.

[42] Kenneth J. Larsen, “Some Light on Richard Crashaw’s Final Years in Rome,” in The Modern Language Review, Vol. 66, No. 3 (Jul., 1971), 496.

[43] Rambuss, introduction, xvi.


            [44] Watkin, “Richard Crashaw,” 279.

[45] Ibid.

            [46] Ibid., 281.

[47] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 147.

[48] Petersson, The Art of Ecstasy, 13.

[49] Louis L. Martz, “III. Richard Crashaw: Love’s Architecture,” in The Wit of Love (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1969), 122.

            [50] Petersson, The Art of Ecstasy, 11.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Petersson, The Art of Ecstasy, 89.

[53] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 149.

[54] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 149.

[55] Wylie Sipher, “A Crashaw Chronology,” in The Verse in English of Richard Crashaw (New York City: Grove Press, 1949), 21.

[56] Rambuss, introduction, lxvii.

            [57] Rambuss, notes to The English Poems of Richard Crashaw, by Richard Crashaw (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013), 347.

[58] Norman K. Farmer, Jr., “4. Richard Crashaw: The ‘Holy Strife’ of Pencil and Pen,” in Poets and the Visual Arts in Renaissance England (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984), 128.

[59] Rambuss, notes to The English Poems of Richard Crashaw, 233.

[60] Richard Crashaw, “A Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Saint Teresa,” in The English Poems of Richard Crashaw, ed. by Richard Rambuss (Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2013), 63.

            [61] Crashaw, “A Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Saint Teresa,” 64.

[62] Wallerstein, Richard Crashaw, 126.

[63] Ibid., 147.

[64] Crashaw, “A Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Saint Teresa,” 64.

            [65] Ibid., 65.

[66] Farmer, “4. Richard Crashaw,” 129.

[67] Crashaw, “A Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Saint Teresa,” 65.

[68] Albert C. Labriola, “Richard Crashaw’s Schola Cordis Poetry,” in Essays on Richard Crashaw, ed. Robert M. Cooper (Salzburg: Institut fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 1979), 9.

            [69] Alexandra Finn-Atkins, “The Redemptive Act of Reading: Richard Crashaw & the Teresean Liturgy” (Senior Thesis, Providence College, 2012), 8.

[70] Crashaw, ““A Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Saint Teresa,” 66.

[71] Ibid.

[72] R.V. Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), 89.

            [73] Crashaw, “A Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Saint Teresa,” 66.

[74] Ibid., 67.

[75] Charles L. Souvay, “Tabernacle,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia: Volume 14, ed. Charles G. Herbermann et al. (New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1912), 424.

[76] Ibid.

            [77] “Litany of Loreto,” EWTN, accessed September 11, 2017, https://www.ewtn.com/faith/Teachings/maryd6f.htm.

[78] “Tabernacle,” in Online Etymology Dictionary, accessed September 10, 2017, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=tabernacle.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Souvay, “Feast of Tabernacles,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia: Volume 14, 426.

            [81] Crashaw, “A Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Saint Teresa,” 67.

[82] Ibid.

[83] Ibid., 68.

[84] Ibid.

            [85] Ibid.

[86] Richard Crashaw, “An Apology for the Precedent Hymn,” in The English Poems of Richard Crashaw, ed. by Richard Rambuss (Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2013), 69.

            [87] Nandra Perry, “‘Tis Heav’n She Speakes’: Lady Religion, Saint Teresa, and the Politics of Ceremony in the Poetry of Richard Crashaw,” 
Religion & Literature, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Summer, 2006), 11.

[88] Perry, “‘Tis Heav’n She Speakes,’” 14.

[89] Crashaw, “An Apology for the Precedent Hymn,” 69.

[90] Perry, “‘Tis Heav’n She Speakes,’” 14.

            [91] Crashaw, “An Apology for the Precedent Hymn,” 70.

[92] Coburn Freer, “Mirth in Funeral: Crashaw and the Pleasures of Grief,” in Essays on Richard Crashaw, ed. Robert M. Cooper (Salzburg: Institut fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 1979), 92.

[93] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 158.

            [94] Perry, “‘Tis Heav’n She Speakes,’” 10.

[95] Crashaw, “An Apology for the Precedent Hymn,” 70.

[96] Watkin, Richard Crashaw, 286-287.

            [97] Williams, Image and Symbol in the Sacred Poetry of Richard Crashaw, 93-94.

[98] Finn-Atkins, “The Redemptive Act of Reading,” 4.

            [99] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 159.

            [100] Ibid.

            [101] Molly Murray, The Poetics of Conversion in Early Modern English Literature: Verse and Change from Donne to Dryden (Cambridge: University Press, 2009), 131.

[102] Perry, ” ‘Tis Heav’n She Speakes,’” 11.

            [103] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 149.

[104] Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, 130.

[105] Perry, “‘Tis Heav’n She Speakes,’” 11.

[106] Richard Crashaw, “The Flaming Heart,” in The English Poems of Richard Crashaw, ed. by Richard Rambuss. (Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2013), 240.

            [107] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 162-163.

[108] Perry, “‘Tis Heav’n She Speakes,’”14.

[109] Deneen Senasi, “A Matter of Words: Aesthetics of Reading and Embodiment in the Poetry of Richard Crashaw,” Religion & Literature, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Autumn, 2004), 3, 7.

            [110] Sabine, “Richard Crashaw.”

            [111] Crashaw, “The Flaming Heart,” 240-241.

[112] Rambuss, introduction, lxxiv.

[113] Crashaw, “The Flaming Heart,” 241.

[114] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 45.

[115] Sabine, “Richard Crashaw.”

            [116] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 164.

[117] Watkin, “Richard Crashaw,” 281.

[118] Gary Kuchar, “The Gendering of God and the Advent of the Subject in the Poetry of Richard Crashaw,” in Divine Subjection: The Rhetoric of Sacramental Devotion in Early Modern England (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2005), 101.

            [119] Shepherd, introduction, 23.

[120] Williams, Image and Symbol in the Sacred Poetry of Richard Crashaw, 6.

[121] E. Allison Peers, introduction to The Complete Works of Saint Teresa of Jesus: Volumes I and II, by Teresa of Avila (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), xlvii.

            [122] Rambuss, introduction, lvii.

            [123] Elizabeth Hageman, “Calendrical Symbolism and the Unity of Crashaw’s ‘Carmen Deo Nostro,’” Studies in Philology, Vol. 77, No. 2 (Spring, 1980), 169.

            [124] Rambuss, notes, 397.

[125] James Bromley, “Intimacy and the Body in Seventeenth-Century Religious Devotion,” Early Modern Literary Studies 11.1 (May 2005), 15.

            [126] Rambuss, notes, 397-398.

[127] Kimberly Johnson, “Richard Crashaw’s Indigestible Poetics,”
Modern Philology, Vol. 107, No. 1 (August 2009), 43.

            [128] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 35.

[129] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 146.

[130] Crashaw, “Adoro Te,” 208.

[131] Williams, Image and Symbol in the Sacred Poetry of Richard Crashaw, 121.

            [132] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 187.

[133] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 6.

            [134] Crashaw, “Adoro Te,” 209.

[135] Rambuss, notes, 398.

            [136] Crashaw, “Adoro Te,” 209.

[137] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 41.

[138] Crashaw, “Adoro Te,” 209.

[139] Labriola, “Richard Crashaw’s Schola Cordis Poetry,” 6.

            [140] Crashaw, “Adoro Te,” 210.

[141] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 45.

[142] F.R. Webber, Church Symbolism (Cleveland: 1938), 62.

[143] Williams, Image and Symbol in the Sacred Poetry of Richard Crashaw, 25.

            [144] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 49.

[145] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 121.

            [146] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 49.

[147] Kuchar, “Introduction. Devotion and Desacralization: Writing the Sacramental Subject in Early Modern England,” 20.

[148] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 4.

[149] Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, 114.

[150] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 123.

[151] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 7.

            [152] Ibid.

[153] Ibid., 9.

[154] Richard Crashaw, “Lauda Sion Salvatorem,” in The English Poems of Richard Crashaw, ed. by Richard Rambuss. (Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2013), 213.

[155] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 53.

[155] Crashaw, “Lauda Sion Salvatorem,” 213.

[156] Ibid.

[157] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 53.

[158] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 123.

[159] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 57.

[160] Crashaw, “Lauda Sion Salvatorem,” 213.

            [161] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 53.

[162] Crashaw, “Lauda Sion Salvatorem,” 213.

[163] Ibid., 213.

            [164] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 65.

[165] Crashaw, “Lauda Sion Salvatorem,” 213

[166] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 68.

[167] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 123.

            [168] Crashaw, “Lauda Sion Salvatorem,” 213

[169] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 70.

[170] Crashaw, “Lauda Sion Salvatorem,” 213.

[171] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 70.

            [172] Williams, Image and Symbol in the Sacred Poetry of Richard Crashaw, 24-25.

[173] Crashaw “Lauda Sion Salvatorem,” 213.

[174] Ibid.

[175] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 72.

[176] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 123.

            [177] Crashaw, “Lauda Sion Salvatorem,” 213.

[178] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 123.

[179] Rambuss, notes, 401.

[180] Crashaw, “Lauda Sion Salvatorem,” 213.

[181] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 124.

            [182] Kuchar, “The Gendering of God,” 111.

[183] Claydon, Richard Crashaw’s Paraphrases, 77.

[184] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 126.

[185] Thomas F. Healy, Richard Crashaw, 129.

            [186] Eugene Cunnar, “Crashaw’s Hymn ‘To the Name Above Every Name,’” in Essays on Richard Crashaw, ed. Robert M. Cooper (Salzburg: Institut fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 1979), 105.

[187] Louise Schleiner, “Song Mode in Crashaw,’” in Essays on Richard Crashaw, ed. Robert M. Cooper (Salzburg: Institut fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 1979), 164.

            [188] Martz, “III. Richard Crashaw: Love’s Architecture,” 116.

[189] Rambuss, introduction, xxxix.

[190] R.V. Young, “Crashaw and Biblical Poetics,” in New Perspectives on the Life and Art of Richard Crashaw, ed. Lorraine and John Roberts (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1990), 30.

            [191] Richard Crashaw, “Hymn to the Name Above Every Name,” in The English Poems of Richard Crashaw, ed. by Richard Rambuss. (Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2013), 157.

[192] Crashaw, “Hymn to the Name Above Every Name,” 157.

[193] Ibid., 158.

            [194] Kuchar, “The Gendering of God,” 131.

[195] Wallerstein, Richard Crashaw, 38.

[196] Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, 133.

[197] Sabine, “Richard Crashaw.”

            [198] Crashaw, “Hymn to the Name Above Every Name,” 160.

[199] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 131.

[200] Kuchar, “The Gendering of God,” 222.

            [201] Crashaw, “Hymn to the Name Above Every Name,” 160-161.

[202] Wallerstein, Richard Crashaw, 52.

[203] Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, 129.

            [204] Crashaw, “A Hymn to the Name Above Every Name,” 161.

[205] Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, 153.

[206] Warren, Richard Crashaw, 187.

            [207] Kuchar, “The Gendering of God,” 111.

[208] Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, 131.

[209] Kuchar, “The Gendering of God,” 124.

[210] Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, 131.

            [211] Crashaw, “A Hymn to the Name Above Every Name,” 162.

[212] Marc F. Bertonasco, Crashaw and the Baroque (University: University of Alabama Press, 1971), 23.

[213] Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, 131.

            [214] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 133.

[215] Kuchar, “The Gendering of God,” 101.

[216] Healy, Richard Crashaw, 113.

[217] Crashaw, “Hymn to the Name Above Every Name,” 162.

[218] Kuchar, “The Gendering of God,” 145.

            [219] Young, “Crashaw and Biblical Poetics,” 47.

[220] Crashaw, “Hymn to the Name Above Every Name,” 163.

[221] Kuchar, “The Gendering of God,” 128.

[222] Crashaw, “Hymn to the Name Above Every Name,” 163.

            [223] A.R. Cirillo, “Crashaw’s ‘Epiphany Hymn’: The Dawn of Christian Time, Studies in Philology 67 (1970), 72.

[224] Eleanor J. McNees, Eucharistic Poetry (London: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1992), 19.

[225] Crashaw, “Hymn to the Name Above Every Name,” 163.

            [226] Ibid.

[227] Young, Richard Crashaw and the Spanish Golden Age, 134.

[228] Parrish, Richard Crashaw, 131.

[229] Ibid., 136.

            [230] Michael D. Griffin, introduction to Lingering with my Lord: Post-Communion Experiences of St. Teresa of Avila, by Teresa of Avila (New York: Alba House, 1984), 3.

            [231] E. Allison Peers, introduction to The Life of the Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus, in The Complete Works of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. I, trans. and ed. E. Allison Peers (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), xl.

[232] Ibid., xxxvii.

            [233] Teresa of Jesus, The Life of the Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus, in The Complete Works of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. I, trans. and ed. E. Allison Peers (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), 33.

[234] Ibid., 31.

[235] Ibid., 50.

[236] Ibid., 51.

[237] Galatians 2:20 (NLT)

            [238] Teresa of Jesus, Life, 67.

[239] Ibid., 79.

[240] Ibid., 80.

            [241] Ibid.

[242] Ibid.

[243] Ibid., 87.

[244] Ibid., 86.

            [245] Ibid., 97.

[246] Ibid., 110.

[247] Ibid., 192.

[248] Ibid., 97.

[249] Michael O’Neill McGrath, Patrons and Protectors: More Occupations (Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2002), 29.

            [250] Ibid., 97-98.

[251] Teresa of Jesus, “Vivo Sin Vivir En Mi,” in The Collected Works of Teresa of Avila, trans. Adrian Cooney, O.C.D., ed. Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. (Washington D.C.: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1987), 375.

[252] Ibid.

[253] Bertonasco, Crashaw and the Baroque, 56.

            [254] Teresa of Jesus, Life, 139.

[255] Ibid.

[256] Ibid.

[257] Ibid., 155.

            [258] Ibid., 181-182.

[259] Ibid., 200.

[260] E. Allison Peers, introduction to Spiritual Relations Addressed By Saint Teresa of Jesus to her Confessors, in The Complete Works of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. I, trans. and ed. E. Allison Peers (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), 303.

            [261] Teresa of Jesus, Spiritual Relations Addressed By Saint Teresa of Jesus to her Confessors in The Complete Works of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. I, trans. and ed. E. Allison Peers (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), 336.

[262] Ibid., 337.

[263] Richard Crashaw, The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, Canon of Loretto, ed. by William Turnbull, Esq. (London: John Russell Smith, Soho Square, 1858), xxii.

[264] Teresa of Jesus, Spiritual Relations, 341-342.

[265] Ibid., 343.

[266] Ibid., 343.

            [267] Ibid., 363.

[268] Ibid., 349.

[269] Teresa of Jesus, The Way of Perfection, in The Complete Works of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. II, trans. and ed. E. Allison Peers (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), 453.

            [270] Ibid., 360.

[271] Ibid., 147.

[272] Ibid.

[273] Ibid., 148.

            [274] Ibid., 150.

[275] Ibid., 152.

[276] E. Allison Peers, introduction to Exclamations of the Soul to God in The Complete Works of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. II, trans. and ed. E. Allison Peers (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), 400.

            [277] Teresa of Jesus, Conceptions of the Love of God in The Complete Works of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. II, trans. and ed. E. Allison Peers (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), 359.

[278] Ibid., 385.

            [279] Crashaw, “Hymn to the Name and Honor of Saint Teresa,” 66.

[280] Teresa of Jesus, Conceptions of the Love of God, 385.

[281] Ibid., 392.

[282] Ibid., 391.

            [283] Lorraine Roberts, “Crashaw’s Sacred Voice: ‘A Commerce of Contrary Powers’” in New Perspectives on the Life and Art of Richard Crashaw, ed. Lorraine and John Roberts (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1990), 78.

            [284] Richard Crashaw, The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, vol. 1, ed. Alexander B. Grosart (London: Robson and Sons, 1872), 55.