When Saint Teresa of Avila died, the room was filled with a sweet scent of something akin to lilies—an odd, spiritual manifestation of smell that at least three friends of mine have experienced. But that wasn’t all that was reported to have happened with her passing. Apparently a nearby tree burst into bloom and a nun on the cusp of death was healed. These are the powerful supernatural signs and wonders that added validation to Teresa’s sainthood in the Catholic Church and reminds us that her deep spiritual experiences are worth paying attention to.
Jesus, too, had signs and wonders accompany his death. The moment he breathed his last breath, the thick temple curtain that God was thought to be enthroned behind, was ripped in half from top to bottom. This was followed by a rock-splitting earthquake, as well as a plot point we like to imagine in sci-fi movies and shows: some dead people came back to life, left their tombs and walked around town—a tear-jerking relief and a horror all at once.
A non-Jewish solider and the group with him that saw Jesus die were stunned by what they had just seen. The solider was the first person to give voice to what the signs and wonders meant: “Truly this was the Son of God!”
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Matthew 27:45-54 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net. Everything in this post is taken directly from the prologue of Cathleen Medwick’s book, Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul. Check it out for greater detail. Below are the various AI-created pictures I typed into existence via Mid Journey to mock up artwork for today’s post.