St. Teresa of Avila strives earnestly to correct the path of her soul, but has no good confessors to help her avoid sin

November 16, 2021 • 2 min

From Life of St. Teresa of Avila written by Herself, page 35

The longing for solitude remained, and I loved to discourse and speak of God; for if I found any one with whom I could do so, it was a greater joy and satisfaction to me than all the refinements—or rather, to speak more correctly, the real rudeness—of the world’s conversation.

I communicated and confessed more frequently still, and desired to do so; I was extremely fond of reading good books; I was most deeply penitent for having offended God; and I remember that very often I did not dare to pray, because I was afraid of that most bitter anguish which I felt for having offended God, dreading it as a great chastisement.

This grew upon me afterwards to so great a degree, that I know of no torment wherewith to compare it; and yet it was neither more nor less because of any fear I had at any time, for it came upon me only when I remembered the consolations of our Lord which He gave me in prayer, the great debt I owed Him, the evil return I made: I could not bear it.

I was also extremely angry with myself on account of the many tears I shed for my faults, when I saw how little I improved, seeing that neither my good resolutions nor the pains I took were sufficient to keep me from falling whenever I had the opportunity.

I looked on my tears as a delusion; and my faults, therefore, I regarded as the more grievous, because I saw the great goodness of our Lord to me in the shedding of those tears, and together with them such deep compunction.

I took care to go to confession as soon as I could; and, as I think, did all that was possible on my part to return to a state of grace.

But the whole evil lay in my not thoroughly avoiding the occasions of sin, and in my confessors, who helped me so little.

If they had told me that I was travelling on a dangerous road, and that I was bound to abstain from those conversations, I believe, without any doubt, that the matter would have been remedied, because I could not bear to remain even for one day in mortal sin, if I knew it.

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