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St. Teresa of Avila begins to read the Confessions of St. Augustine and grows closer to him and to God through it

2 min • Digitized on December 4, 2021

From Life of St. Teresa of Avila written by Herself, page 68
By St. Teresa of Avila

At this time, the Confessions of St. Augustine were given me. Our Lord seems to have so ordained it, for I did not seek them myself, neither had I ever seen them before.

I had a very great devotion to St. Augustine, because the monastery in which I lived when I was yet in the world was of his Order; and also because he had been a sinner—for I used to find great comfort in those Saints whom, after they had sinned, our Lord converted to Himself. I thought they would help me, and that, as our Lord had forgiven them, so also He would forgive me.

One thing, however, there was that troubled me—I have spoken of it before—our Lord had called them but once, and they never relapsed; while my relapses were now so many. This it was that vexed me.

But calling to mind the love that He bore me, I took courage again. Of His mercy I never doubted once, but I did very often of myself.

O my God, I am amazed at the hardness of my heart amidst so many succours from Thee. I am filled with dread when I see how little I could do with myself, and how I was clogged, so that I could not resolve to give myself entirely to God.

When I began to read the Confessions, I thought I saw myself there described, and began to recommend myself greatly to this glorious Saint.

When I came to his conversion, and read how he heard that voice in the garden, it seemed to me nothing less than that our Lord had uttered it for me: I felt so in my heart.

I remained for some time lost in tears, in great inward affliction and distress. O my God, what a soul has to suffer because it has lost the liberty it had of being mistress over itself!

And what torments it has to endure! I wonder now how I could live in torments so great: God be praised Who gave me life, so that I might escape from so fatal a death!

I believe that my soul obtained great strength from His Divine Majesty, and that He must have heard my cry, and had compassion upon so many tears.

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