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Excerpts from Teresa of Avila's Writings

Explaining the meaning of mental prayer:
"You must know, daughters, that whether or not you are practicing mental prayer has nothing to do with keeping the lips closed. If, while I am speaking with God, I have a clear realization and full consciousness that I am doing so, and if this is more real to me than the words I am uttering, then I am combining mental and vocal prayer. When people tell you that you are speaking with God by reciting the Paternoster and thinking of worldly things -- well, words fail me. When you speak, as it is right for you to do, with so great a Lord, it is well that you should think of Who it is that you are addressing, and what you yourself are, if only that you may speak to Him with proper respect." (The Way of Perfection, Ch. 22)
 
Discussing heaven:
"Wherever God is there is heaven...Where His Majesty is present, all glory is present...However softly we speak, He is near enough to hear us. Neither is there any need for wings to go to find Him.  All one need do is go into solitude and look at Him within oneself, and not turn away from so good a Guest but with great humility speak to Him as to a father. (The Way of Perfection, Ch. 28)
 
On the honors of this world:
"Do we think that with vain honors we can imitate Him in the contempt He suffered so that we might reign forever? Such a road leads nowhere; it's the wrong, wrong road; we will never arrive by it." (The Book of Her Life,  Ch. 27)
 
Speaking of obedience:
"There is no path that leads more quickly to the highest perfection than obedience...The highest perfection obviously does not consist in interior delights or in great raptures or in visions or in the spirit of prophecy but in having our will so much in conformity with God's will that there is nothing we know He wills that we do not want with all our desire..." (Foundations, Ch. 5)
 
On ELCA Candidacy Committess ;-) and most especially fellow classmates :
"If any begin to give themselves to God, there are so many to criticize them that they need to seek companionship to defend themselves until they are so strong that it is no longer a burden for them to suffer criticism. And if they don't seek this companionship they will find themselves in much difficulty...For in falling I had many friends to help me; but in rising I found myself so alone that I am now amazed I did not remain forever fallen." (The Book of Her Life, Ch. 7)
 
On spiritual marriage:
"In this state there is no more thought of the body than if the soul were not in it, but one's thought is only of the spirit. In the spiritual marriage, there is still much less remembrance of the body because this secret union takes place in the very interior center of the soul, which must be where God himself is." (The Interior Castle, Ch. 7)
 
On delight in prayer:
"Enjoyment in prayer is not so habitual that there is not time for everything. I would be suspicious of anyone who says this delight is continual...Strive to free yourselves from this error and avoid such absorption with all your strength...For if this absorption continues, it is extremely dangerous at least for the brain and the head." (The Interior Castle, Ch. 6)
 
On 'lecturing' God in prayer:
"His Majesty knows best what is suitable for us. There's no need for us to be advising Him about what He should give us, for He can rightly tell us that we don't know what we're asking for.  The whole aim of any person who is beginning prayer - and don't forget this, because it's very important - should be that he work and prepare himself with determination and every possible effort to bring his will to conformity with God's will. (The Interior Castle, Ch. 2)



Experience the mystery...

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