from The Way of the Cross with the Carmelite Saints
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
In the Passion and death of Christ our sins were consumed by fire. If we accept that in faith, and if we accept the whole Christ in faith-filled surrender, which means, however, that we choose and walk the path of the imitation of Christ, then He will lead us "through His Passion and cross to the glory of His Resurrection." This is exactly what is experienced in contemplation: passing through the expiatory flames to the bliss of the union of love. This explains its twofold character. It is death and resurrection.
What more is there to say. The culmination of a life of contemplation is a direct participation in the death and resurrection of the Lord. The passage through the Dark Night means death to the senses (which is not to say that one becomes an unanchored, floating, ethereal spirit) and ultimately leads to Union with God. Said Union is a union in both the Death of Christ, and so a Union on the way of the cross, which, by supporting our own burdens (always with the help of grace), we help to lift some of the burden to the cross itself, and in the Resurrection of the Lord, which is a resurrection into His eternal life while here on Earth. That is the meaning of Spiritual Union--actual participation in the Being of God while we live today--and I can't imagine a state more to be desired and yet which also summons up such great fear. And so the sum of my spiritual life is approach-avoidance. I look in on this wonderful spectacle and desire to participate, but innate fear (and of what I cannot say) keeps me back. Nevertheless, His grace is stronger than my fear, and so I trust myself to Him and know that eventually (I hope in this life) I will come to Him and be what He has made me to be.