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St. Teresa of Avila describes being drawn by God away from spiritual dangers

3 min • Digitized on December 5, 2021

From Life of St. Teresa of Avila written by Herself, page 69
By St. Teresa of Avila

A desire to spend more time with Him began to grow within me, and also to withdraw from the occasions of sin: for as soon as I had done so, I turned lovingly to His Majesty at once.

I understood clearly, as I thought, that I loved Him; but I did not understand, as I ought to have understood it, wherein the true love of God consists.

I do not think I had yet perfectly disposed myself to seek His service when His Majesty turned towards me with His consolations.

What others strive after with great labour, our Lord seems to have looked out for a way to make me willing to accept—that is, in these later years to give me joy and comfort.

But as for asking our Lord to give me either these things or sweetness in devotion, I never dared to do it; the only thing I prayed Him to give me was the grace never to offend Him; together with the forgiveness of my great sins.

When I saw that my sins were so great, I never ventured deliberately to ask for consolation or for sweetness. He had compassion enough upon me, I think—and, in truth, He dealt with me according to His great mercy—when He allowed me to stand before Him, and when He drew me into His presence; for I saw that, if He had not drawn me, I should not have come at all.

Once only in my life do I remember asking for consolation, being at the time in great aridities. When I considered what I had done, I was so confounded, that the very distress I suffered from seeing how little humility I had, brought me that which I had been so bold as to ask for.

I knew well that it was lawful to pray for it; but it seemed to me that it is lawful only for those who are in good dispositions, who have sought with all their might to attain to true devotion—that is, not to offend God, and to be disposed and resolved for all goodness.

I looked upon those tears of mine as womanish and weak, seeing that I did not obtain my desires by them; nevertheless, I believe that they did me some service; for, specially after those two occasions of great compunction and sorrow of heart, accompanied by tears, of which I am speaking, I began in an especial way to give myself more to prayer, and to occupy myself less with those things which did me harm—though I did not give them up altogether. But God Himself, as I have just said, came to my aid, and helped me to turn away from them.

As His Majesty was only waiting for some preparation on my part, the spiritual graces grew in me as I shall now explain.

It is not the custom of our Lord to give these graces to any but to those who keep their consciences in greater pureness.

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