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Saint Teresa of Avila



Spiritual quotes of Saint Teresa of Avila

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T his secret union takes place in the deepest centre of the soul, which must be where God Himself dwells, and I do not think there is any need of a door by which to enter it. I say there is no need of a door because all that has so far been described seems to have come through the medium of the senses and faculties… But what passes in the union of the Spiritual Marriage is very different. The Lord appears in the centre of the soul, not through an imaginary, but through an intellectual vision (although this is a subtler one that that already mentioned), just as He appeared to the Apostles, without entering through the door, when He said to them: "Pax vobis" {cf. John 20:19,21}. This instantaneous communication of God to the soul is so great a secret and so sublime a favour, and such delight is felt by the soul, that I do not know with what to compare it, beyond saying that the Lord is pleased to manifest to the soul at that moment the glory that is in Heaven, in a sublimer manner than is possible through any vision or spiritual consolation. It is impossible to say more than that, as far as one can understand, the soul (I mean the spirit of this soul) is made one with God, Who, being likewise a Spirit, has been pleased to reveal the love that He has for us by showing to certain persons the extent of that love, so that we may praise His greatness. For He has been pleased to unite Himself with His creature in such a way that they have become like two who cannot be separated from one another: even so He will not separate Himself from her.




Christianity / Catholicism 3482 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 213-4, Seventh Mansions, Chapter 2, Paragraph 3 







I n the Seventh Mansion} everything is different. Our good God now desires to remove the scales form the eyes of the soul, so that it may see and understand something of the favour which He is granting it, although He is doing this in a strange manner. It is brought into this Mansion by means of an intellectual vision, in which, by a representation of the truth in a particular way, the Most Holy Trinity reveals Itself, in all three Persons. …The spirit becomes enkindled and is illumined, as it were, by a cloud of the greatest brightness.




Christianity / Catholicism 3481 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 209, Seventh Mansions, Chapter 1, Paragraph 6 







T here is a self-forgetfulness which is so complete that it really seems as though the soul no longer existed, because it is such that she has neither knowledge nor remembrance that there is either heaven or life or honor for her, so entirely is she employed in seeking the honor of God. It appears that the words which His Majesty addressed to her have produced their effect -- namely, that she must take care of His business and He will take care of hers. And thus, happen what may, she does not mind in the least, but lives in so strange a state of forgetfulness that, as I say, she seems no longer to exist, and has no desire to exist -- no, absolutely none -- save when she realizes that she can do something to advance the glory and honor of God, for which she would gladly lay down her life.




Christianity / Catholicism 3480 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 215, Seventh Mansions, Chapter 3, Paragraph 2 







B ut note very carefully, daughters, that the silkworm has of necessity to die; and it is this which will cost you most; for death comes more easily when one can see oneself living a new life, whereas our duty now is to continue living this present life, and yet to die of our own free will. I confess to you that we shall find this much harder, but it is of the greatest value and the reward will be greater too if you gain the victory. But you must not doubt the possibility of this true union with the will of God. This is the union which I have desired all my life; it is for this that I continually beseech Our Lord; it is this which is the most genuine and the safest.




Christianity / Catholicism 3478 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 113, Fifth Mansions, Chapter 3, Paragraph 6 







L et us renounce our self-love and self-will, and our attachment to earthly things. Let us practise penance, prayer, mortification, obedience, and all the other good works that you know of… Let the skilkworm die -- let it die, as in fact it does when it has completed the work which it was created to do. Then we shall see God and shall ourselves be as completely hidden in His greatness as is this little worm in its cocoon…




Christianity / Catholicism 3477 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 106, Fifth Mansions, Chapter 2, Paragraph 7 







I t is very important to consult people of experience; for otherwise you will imagine that you are doing yourselves great harm by pursuing your necessary occupations. But, provided we do not abandon our prayer, the Lord will turn everything we do to our profit, even though we may find no one to teach us.




Christianity / Catholicism 3476 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, pp. 52-53, Second Mansions, Chapter 1, Paragraph 11) 







T he soul must forget about {understanding}, and abandon itself into the arms of love, and His Majesty will teach it what to do next..




Christianity / Catholicism 3475 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 90, Fourth Mansions, Chapter 3, Paragraph 8 







Y et this {awareness of God's continual presence} brings a special knowledge of God, and from this constant companionship is born a most tender love toward His Majesty, and yearnings, even deeper than those already described, to give oneself wholly up to His service, and a great purity of conscience; for the Presence Which the soul has at its side makes it sensitive to everything. For though we know quite well that God is present in all that we do, our nature is such that it makes us lose sight of the fact; but when this favour is granted it can no longer do so, for the Lord, Who is near at hand, awakens it. And even the favours aforementioned occur much more commonly, as the soul experiences a vivid and almost constant love for Him Whom it sees or knows to be at its side.




Christianity / Catholicism 3474 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 181, Sixth Mansions, Chapter 8, Paragraph 4 







L et {the soul} try, without forcing itself or causing any turmoil, to put a stop to all discursive reasoning, yet not to suspend the understanding, nor to cease from all thought, though it is well for it to remember that is is in God's presence and Who this God is. If feeling this should lead it into a state of absorption, well and good; but it should not try to understand what this state is, because that is a gift bestowed upon the will. The will, then, should be left to enjoy it, and should not labour except for uttering a few loving words, for although in such a case one may not be striving to cease from thought, such cessation often comes, though for a very short time.




Christianity / Catholicism 3473 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, pp. 89-90, Fourth Mansions, Chapter 3, Paragraph 7 







T he Lord's instructions to go in peace} are like acts wrought in us, and so they must have produced some effect in those who were already prepared to put away from them everything corporeal and to leave the soul in a state of pure spirituality, so that it might be joined with Uncreated Spirit in this celestial union. For it is quite certain that, when we empty ourselves of all that is creature and rid ourselves of it for the love of God, that same Lord will fill our souls with Himself.




Christianity / Catholicism 3472 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 216, Seventh Mansions, Chapter 2, Paragraph 7 







T he door by which we can enter this castle is prayer. It is absurd to think that we can enter Heaven without first entering our own souls -- without getting to know ourselves, and reflecting upon the wretchedness of our nature and what we owe to God, and continually imploring His mercy.




Christianity / Catholicism 3471 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 53, Second Mansions, Chapter 1, paragraph 12 







A lthough I say that the soul "sees" Him, it really sees nothing, for this is not an imaginary, but a notably intellectual vision, in which is revealed to the soul how all things are seen in God, and how within Himself He contains them all. Such a vision is highly profitable because, although it passes in a moment, it remains engraven upon the soul. It causes us the greatest confusion, by showing us clearly how wrongly we are acting when we offend God, since it is within God Himself -- because we dwell within Him, I mean -- that we are committing these great sins.




Christianity / Catholicism 3470 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, pp. 193-194, Sixth Mansions, Chapter 10, Paragraph 2) 







C hrist has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which is to look out Christ's compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.





Christianity / Catholicism 2845 | 
Saint Teresa of Avila, from Eknath Easwaran's anthology God Makes the Rivers to Flow, copyright 1991, Nilgiri Press, Tornales, CA 94971. 







I repeat, it is necessary that your foundation consist of more than prayer and contemplation. If you do not strive for the virtues and practice them, you will always be dwarfs. So be occupied in prayer not for the sake of enjoyment but so as to have the strength to serve. Mary and Martha must combine.




Christianity / Catholicism 2844 | 
Saint Teresa of Avila, from The Interior Castle, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1979). 







H is Majesty couldn't grant us a greater favor than to give us a life that would be an imitation of the life his beloved Son lived. Thus I hold for certain that these favors are meant to fortify our weakness, that we may be able to imitate him in his great sufferings.




Christianity / Catholicism 2843 | 
Saint Teresa of Avila, from The Interior Castle, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1979). 





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