St. Teresa of Avila’s many sad experiences convinces her to humbly remain very close to God always, lest she fall into sin again

November 18, 2021 • 3 min

From Life of St. Teresa of Avila written by Herself, page 39
By St. Teresa of Avila

May it please our Lord that I have not done amiss in venturing to speak about St. Joseph; for, though I publicly profess my devotion to him, I have always failed in my service to him and imitation of him.

He was like himself when he made me able to rise and walk, no longer a paralytic; and I, too, am like myself when I make so bad a use of this grace.

Who could have said that I was so soon to fall, after such great consolations from God—after His Majesty had implanted virtues in me which of themselves made me serve Him—after I had been, as it were, dead, and in such extreme peril of eternal damnation—after He had raised me up, soul and body, so that all who saw me marvelled to see me alive?

What can it mean, O my Lord? The life we live is so full of danger! While I am writing this—and it seems to me, too, by Thy grace and mercy—I may say with St. Paul, though not so truly as he did: “It is not I who live now, but Thou, my Creator, livest in me.” [Calat. ii. 20]

For some years past, so it seems to me, Thou hast held me by the hand; and I see in myself desires and resolutions—in some measure tested by experience in many ways, during that time—never to do anything, however slight it may be, contrary to Thy will, though I must have frequently offended Thy Divine Majesty without being aware of it; and I also think that nothing can be proposed to me that I should not with great resolution undertake for Thy love. In some things Thou hast Thyself helped me to succeed therein. I love neither the world, nor the things of the world; nor do I believe that anything that does not come from Thee can give me pleasure; everything else seems to me a heavy cross.

Still, I may easily deceive myself, and it may be that I am not what I say I am; but Thou knowest, my Lord, that, to the best of my knowledge, I lie not. I am afraid, and with good reason, lest Thou shouldst abandon me; for I know now how far my strength and little virtue can reach, if Thou be not ever at hand to supply them, and to help me never to forsake Thee. May His Majesty grant that I be not forsaken of Thee even now, when I am thinking all this of myself!

I know not how we can wish to live, seeing that everything is so uncertain. Once, O Lord, I thought it impossible to forsake Thee so utterly; and now that I have forsaken Thee so often, I cannot help being afraid; for when Thou didst withdraw but a little from me, I fell down to the ground at once.

Blessed for ever be Thou! Though I have forsaken Thee, Thou hast not forsaken me so utterly but that Thou hast come again and raised me up, giving me Thy hand always. Very often, O Lord, I would not take it; very often I would not listen when Thou wert calling me again, as I am going to show.

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