St. Teresa of Avila’s purpose for writing her autobiography

October 20, 2021 • 2 min

From Life of St. Teresa of Avila written by Herself, page 1

As I have been commanded and left at liberty to describe at length my way of prayer, and the workings of the grace of our Lord within me, I could wish that I had been allowed at the same time to speak distinctly and in detail of my grievous sins and wicked life.

But it has not been so willed; on the contrary, I am laid herein under great restraint; and therefore, for the love of our Lord, I beg of every one who shall read this story of my life to keep in mind how wicked it has been; and how, among the Saints who were converted to God, I have never found one in whom I can have any comfort.

For I see that they, after our Lord had called them, never fell into sin again; I not only became worse, but, as it seems to me, deliberately withstood the graces of His Majesty, because I saw that I was thereby bound to serve Him more earnestly, knowing, at the same time, that of myself I could not pay the least portion of my debt.

May He be blessed for ever Who waited for me so long! I implore Him with my whole heart to send me His grace, so that in all clearness and truth I may give this account of myself which my confessors command me to give; and even our Lord Himself, I know it, has also willed it should be given for some time past, but I had not the courage to attempt it.

And I pray it may be to His praise and glory, and a help to my confessors; who, knowing me better, may succour my weakness, so that I may render to our Lord some portion of the service I owe Him.

May all creatures praise Him for ever! Amen.

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