“Like a Virgin” touched (by God?!) for the very first time

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, “The Ecstasy of St. Teresa” (1647–52), Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome

The tradition of mystical ecstasy has claimed yet another victory for an orgasmic imagining of the encounter with God. In her autobiography, Teresa of Avilia strikingly recounts her meeting with an angel:

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying (Teresa of Avila, The Life).

There is a story, perhaps apocraphal, about a French diplomat who, upon visiting Bernini’s marbleized image of this moment, quipped: “If this is divine love, I know all about it.”

And now, The Voice of Italy’s champion, Sister Cristina Scuccia (who, as I noted earlier in the year, isn’t afraid to assert God’s presence in all things), has released a cover of Madonna’s 1984 hit, “Like a Virgin.”

Note first Madonna’s video, “Like a Virgin.”

And here’s the remake.

Deliciously ambiguous lyrics, recast in a new context–it’s almost (wait for it…) like a prayer.


Andrew Staron is an assistant professor of Theology at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia.