Showing posts with the label Saint Teresa of Ávila

Teresa of Avila: Saint and Doctor of the Church

Today is the feast of Saint Teresa of Avila, a 16 th  century Spanish nun, who with Saint John of the Cross, reformed the Carmelite Order. Together, they established eleven convents throughout Spain between 1567 and 1576. Then in 1580, Teresa of Avila received papal approval to establish the Discalced Carmelite Order, which adopted a more austere lifestyle than the Carmelites. With the establishment of this new Order, Teresa opened five additional convents, prior to her death in 1582. She received much scrutiny and disbelief for having claimed to receive visions from God. Not to be daunted, she put pen to paper, documenting her interpretation of her visions. As a result, today, we have one of the finest works on Catholic spirituality to draw from in her book,  Interior Castles . Her writings are inspirational. Because of the theological insights found within Saint Teresa of Avila’s writings, she has been named a Doctor of the Church. Read more...

5th mansions: the prayer of union

Souls generally remain in the fourth mansions of the Interior Castle for years. But for those who are raised beyond them, even greater intimacy with God lies ahead. Today we begin exploring  Teresa of Avila’s fifth mansions. The prayer of union begins in the fifth mansions. How does it differ from the prayer of quiet? As I said last time, the prayer of quiet primarily involves the will. In the prayer of union, the intellect, the memory, and the imagination also share in contemplation. The sign of true union St. Teresa says true union always produces a sign of its authenticity. That sign is the soul’s certitude. She knows just as surely as if she had been speaking to Christ in the flesh that she has been in union with God. Even when spiritual directors or companions try to persuade her otherwise, she doesn’t believe them. Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Saint Teresa of Ávila’s Legacy

This March is the 500 th   anniversary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Ávila, Carmelite nun and Doctor of the Church. One of her legacies to the Church is her teaching about prayer. In Teresa’s final book,  The Interior Castle , written near the end of her life, she summarized her life of prayer. In it she imagined that her growth in love of God had been a journey from the outskirts of a crystal castle to its center, inhabited by her King. The castle image with its many rooms symbolized her soul. The King was God who beckoned Teresa to come to him and to be spiritually united with him. Responding to her King’s call meant that Teresa first had to leave the dark, cold, noisy place outside the castle, where she spent so much time. Steadfast prayer was the key to unlock the castle door. Once inside she prayed faithfully. Quietly and persistently Teresa traveled through the castle’s rooms, each representing a stage of growth in her personal relationship with God. Read the rest a