St. Teresa of Avila is filled with an everlasting joy the moment she becomes a nun

October 28, 2021 • 4 min

From Life of St. Teresa of Avila written by Herself, page 16

CHAPTER IV.

OUR LORD HELPS HER TO BECOME A NUN. HER MANY INFIRMITIES.

She explains how, with the assistance of God, she compelled herself to take the habit, and how His Majesty began to send her many infirmities.

In those days, when I was thus resolved, I had persuaded one of my brothers, by speaking to him of the vanity of the world, to become a friar; and we agreed together to set out one day very early in the morning for the monastery where that friend of mine lived for whom I had so great an affection: though I would have gone to any other monastery, if I thought I should serve God better in it, or to any one my father liked, so strong was my resolution now to become a nun—for I thought more of the salvation of my soul now, and made no account whatever of mine own ease.

I remember perfectly well, and it is quite true, that the pain I felt when I left my father’s house was so great, that I do not believe the pain of dying will be greater—for it seemed to me as if every bone in my body were wrenched asunder; for, as I had no love of God to destroy my love of father and of kindred, this latter love came upon me with a violence so great that, if our Lord had not been my keeper, my own resolution to go on would have failed me. But He gave me courage to fight against myself, so that I executed my purpose.

When I took the habit our Lord at once made me understand how He helps those who do violence to themselves in order to serve Him. No one observed this violence in me; they saw nothing but the greatest good-will.

At that moment, because I was entering on that state, I was filled with a joy so great that it has never failed me to this day; and God converted the aridity of my soul into the greatest tenderness. Everything in religion was a delight unto me; and it is true that now and then I used to sweep the house during those hours of the day which I had formerly spent on my amusements and my dress; and, calling to mind that I was delivered from such follies, I was filled with a new joy that surprised me, nor could I understand whence it came.

Whenever I remember this, there is nothing in the world, however hard it may be, that, if it were proposed to me, I would not undertake without any hesitation whatever; for I know now, by experience in many things, that if from the first I resolutely persevere in my purpose, even in this life His Majesty rewards it in a way which he only understands who has tried it.

When the act is done for God only, it is His will before we begin it that the soul, in order to the increase of its merits, should be afraid; and the greater the fear, if we do but succeed, the greater the reward, and the sweetness thence afterwards resulting.

I know this by experience, as I have just said, in many serious affairs; and so, if I were a person who had to advise anybody, I would never counsel any one, to whom good inspirations from time to time may come, to resist them through fear of the difficulty of carrying them into effect; for if a person lives detached for the love of God only, that is no reason for being afraid of failure, for He is omnipotent. May He be blessed for ever! Amen.

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