Wednesday, October 14, 2009

St. Teresa of Avila: Favorite Quotes and Prayers

Tribulation Times


October 14, 2009  

(Luk 10:41-42) And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.

CATHOLIC ONLINE: Embrace every moment as sacred time

CATHOLIC FIRE: St. Teresa of Avila: Favorite Quotes and Prayers

"Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and there is only one Glory, which is eternal. If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing. "

"Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world."

"Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices."

OPINION: Teresa's interior castle

Tomorrow, October 15, is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, Spanish mystic, founder of the Discalced Carmelites, and writer of the Counter Reformation. Each year, as her feast comes around, I am moved to think about her life, her works, and the need to return to my roots as a Theresian.

Although St. Teresa had no training as a writer, her writings stand among the most remarkable in the mystical literature of the Catholic Church. Some of her major works include the Life, the Autobiography, The Way to Perfection (El Camino de Perfeccion), and The Interior Castle (El Castillo Interior).

Throughout all her writings, and especially in her Autobiography, Teresa's mystical thought focused on the ascent of the soul in four stages. The first, or "mental prayer" is that of devout contemplation or concentration, especially of the passion of Christ and penitence. The second is the "prayer of quiet," in which at least the human will is lost in that of God by virtue of a supernatural state of grace given by God, although all faculties such as memory, reason, and imagination are still not immune to worldly distractions — the prevailing state, however, is one of quietude. The third stage, "devotion of union," is one that is not only supernatural, but is essentially an ecstatic state. Reason is totally absorbed in God, but the memory and imagination continue to ramble. Finally, the fourth is the "devotion of ecstasy or rapture," which is described as a passive state, in which the consciousness of being in the body disappears. Sense activity ceases, memory and imagination are also absorbed in God. "Body and spirit are in the throes of a sweet, happy pain, and a spell of strangulation, intermittent sometime

Funerary monument for Teresa of Avila; Igreja ...

Image via Wikipedia

s by such an ecstatic flight that the body is literally lifted into space."

She wrote that during her illness (she was subject to so many illnesses even from childhood) she rose from the lowest stage ("recollection") to the "devotions of silence" and even to the "devotions of ecstasy," the stage at which she was in perfect union with God. She had visions of Jesus Christ which lasted for more than two years. In one vision, a seraph drove a fiery point of a golden lance repeatedly through her heart, causing an ineffable spiritual-bodily pain. This vision became the inspiration for one of the most famous works of the Italian baroque artist Bernini: the Ecstasy of St. Theresa, which is found in the basilica of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

21. We should constantly be examining and comparing ourselves with the holy Fathers and the lights who lived before us, and we should then find that we have not yet entered upon the path of the ascetic life, and have not kept our vow in holy fashion, and in disposition are still living in this world.   

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