Book Snippets

St. Teresa of Avila struggles internally because refuses to let go of either love of the world or love of God

2 min • Digitized on November 24, 2021

From Life of St. Teresa of Avila written by Herself, page 52
By St. Teresa of Avila

This Dominican father, who was a very good man, fearing God, did me a very great service; for I confessed to him.

He took upon himself the task of helping my soul in earnest, and of making me see the perilous state I was in.

He sent me to Communion once a fortnight; and I, by degrees beginning to speak to him, told him about my prayer.

He charged me never to omit it: that, anyhow, it could not do me anything but good. I began to return to it—though I did not cut off the occasions of sin—and never afterwards gave it up.

My life became most wretched, because I learned in prayer more and more of my faults. On one side God was calling me, on the other, I was following the world. All the things of God gave me great pleasure; and I was a prisoner to the things of the world.

It seemed as if I wished to reconcile two contradictions, so much at variance one with another as are the life of the spirit and the joys and pleasures and amusements of sense.

I suffered much in prayer; for the spirit was slave, and not master; and so I was not able to shut myself up within myself—that was my whole method of prayer—without shutting up with me a thousand vanities at the same time.

I spent many years in this way; and I am now astonished that any one could have borne it without abandoning either the one or the other. I know well that it was not in my power then to give up prayer, because He held me in His hand Who sought me that He might show me greater mercies.

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