Returning to what I was saying I would describe here -- namely, the difference between sweetness in prayer and spiritual consolations -- it seems to me that we may describe as sweetness what we get from our meditations and from petitions made to Our Lord. This proceeds from our own nature, though, of course, God plays a part in the process (and in everything I say you must understand this, for we can do nothing without Him). This spiritual sweetness arises from the actual virtuous work which we perform, and we think we have acquired it by our labours. We are quite right to feel satisfaction79 at having worked in such a way. But, when we come to think of it, the same satisfaction80 can be derived from numerous things that may happen to us here on earth. When, for example, a person suddenly acquires some valuable property; or equally suddenly meets a person whom he dearly loves; or brings some important piece of business or some other weighty matter to a successful conclusion, so that everyone speaks well of him; or when a woman has been told that her husband or brother or son is dead and he comes back to her alive. I have seen people shed tears over some great joy81; sometimes, in fact, I have done so myself.
79 [The word is the same as is used above for "sweetness" -- i.e., contentos, but in the singular. Such word-play, as we have seen, is common in St. Teresa: in the title of this very chapter we have an identical play on contentos ("sweetness") and contento ("happiness").]