Long before the people understood that there was something extraordinary in Thresia, the evil spirits had sensed the fragrance of her virtues and begun their efforts to destroy it completely. Ven. Fr. Joseph Vithayathil in his Diary’ has recorded that devils with permission from God tested St. Mariam Thresia in great numbers from 1902-1905. Like Job of the Old Testament, it was a time of test for her. The Hell’s army numbering in tens, thousands and ten thousands came against her; they were numbering over forty thousand at a time, tested her virtues rigorously. It is recorded in the Diary that at the end of three years the devils withdrew at the command of Bl. Virgin , they shouted furiously at her saying “now you won and we have lost ” .
St. Mariam Thresia underwent very severe trials, torments and temptations. In the descriptions of the diabolical phenomena in her autobiography and letters written to inform her sufferings, she states about few signs; ‘they would knock down anything I took, throw stones on the road, amputate my hand and hide it somewhere, throw me down from the roof top of the house, bind and tie me up the hands and feet with a robe, terrible blows were made upon my body, hot chilies were sprinkled in my eyes ,uttered blasphemies while I prayed, snatched out the beads of my Rosary, mixed the food with repulsive objects while I eat, showed naked forms to offend against chastity, and make me feel some sort of agitation’.
It so happened that the volume of devils torturing her, spread the news that she was evil possessed and was out of mind. The Bishop relating every mystical experiences of Thresia, also to be the actions of devils, he wrote an order of exorcism to be posted outside her room and forbade the daily reception of Holy Communion. She accepted the writ saying “an exceptional gift to me”. Mariam Thresia with great gentleness and submission followed his order until the Bishop recalled his decision a year later.
Great mystics like Padre Pio have been bodily rocked by the devils, sometimes all night, and he was found bruised all over the body on the following morning. After all day and night attack on St. Mariam Thresia the Mother of God came to her after midnight and comforted her. Bl. Virgin would fix her neck and hands cut off by devils, though she had to bear the pain for days. The Holy Family always helped her and encouraged her saying “Bear all these things with patience and remember the person who suffered it for your sake”. They comforted her saying “Dear daughter you will have relief one day.”
Though only rare phenomena’s were witnessed by her family members or outsiders, it brought great scare among them. Therefore she had to suffer these humiliations and scorns willingly and offered them for the salvation of souls instead. She placed her trust in God alone, she writes “My body has been given by God. Likewise I have given him my soul, body and will… I trust in God”.
Her spiritual father wrote that Mariam Thresia passed no day without pain and suffering. Her letters also allow us see into the whirlpool of her life of pain. She wrote “My Rev. Father, I don’t know how to explain to you where exactly my pain is and how much I feel it. To put in one way, my pain is like a tempestuous sea. God willed so for me.”
The trials by the Devils, served just as refiners for St. Mariam Thresia to turn her flawless, holy and pure like a mirror in front of God. She exhorted her sisters saying” preserve your heart like mirror before God and no one can take it away”
The spiritual power and energy that St. Mariam Thresia owned could be relatively understood by the increase of the tests she underwent with steadfastness and trust in God’s grace. The trials and temptation are rather good to test the intensity of love and learn the art of total trust in God leaving a space for god to accomplish the power of God in us. If so God allowed Thresia to undergo the trials, her courage and steadfastness was rewarded as well.
Sr. Udaya Kallukaran Chf