Saint Teresa of Ávila, aka Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada

Saint Teresa of Ávila, aka Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada
1515
1582

Spanish Mystic, Roman Catholic Saint, Carmelite Nun, Theologian, Writer of the Counter Reformation, Co-Founder of the Discalced Carmelites and Reformer of the Carmelite Order

Author Quotes

However many years life might last, no one could ever wish for a better friend than God.

I used unexpectedly to experience a consciousness of the presence of God, or such a kind that I could not possibly doubt that He was within me or that I was wholly engulfed in Him. This was in no sense a vision: I believe it is called mystical theology. The soul is suspended in such a way that it seems to be completely outside itself. The will loves; the memory, I think, is almost lost; while the understanding, I believe, thought it is not lost, does not reason—I mean that it does not work, but is amazed at the extent of all it can understand; for God wills it to realize that it understands nothing of what His Majesty represents to it.

It seems to me that, in the state I was in then, many hours would have been necessary to calm me, and that no one could have done it. Yet I found myself, through these words alone, tranquil and strong, courageous and confident, at rest and enlightened; in a moment, my soul seemed changed, and I felt I could maintain against all the world that my prayer was the work of God. Oh, how good is God! how good is our Lord, and how powerful! He gives not counsel only, but relief as well. His words are deeds. O my God! as He strengthens our faith, love grows.

Never compare one person with another: comparisons are odious.

Prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.

All things fail; but Thou, Lord of all, never failest! They who love Thee, oh, how little they have to suffer! oh, how gently, how tenderly, how sweetly Thou, O my Lord, dealest with them! Oh, that no one had ever been occupied with any other love than Thine! It seems as if Thou didst subject those who love Thee to a severe trial: but it is in order that they may learn, in the depths of that trial, the depths of Thy love. O my God, oh, that I had understanding and learning, and a new language, in order to magnify Thy works, according to the knowledge of them which my soul possesses! Everything fails me, O my Lord; but if Thou wilt not abandon me, I will never fail Thee. Let all the learned rise up against me, — let the whole creation persecute me, — let the evil spirits torment me, — but do Thou, O Lord, fail me not; for I know by experience now the blessedness of that deliverance which Thou dost effect for those who trust only in Thee. In this distress, — for then I had never had a single vision, — these Thy words alone were enough to remove it, and give me perfect peace: Be not afraid, my daughter: it is I; and I will not abandon thee. Fear not.

From silly devotions and from sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us.

I am afraid that if we begin to put our trust in human help, some of our Divine help will fail us.

I would never want any prayer that would not make the virtues grow within me.

It will be as well, I think, to explain these locutions of God, and to describe what the soul feels when it receives them, in order that you, my father, may understand the matter; for ever since that time of which I am speaking, when our Lord granted me that grace, it has been an ordinary occurrence until now, as will appear by what I have yet to say. The words are very distinctly formed; but by the bodily ear they are not heard. They are, however, much more clearly understood than they would be if they were heard by the ear. It is impossible not to understand them, whatever resistance we may offer. When we wish not to hear anything in this world, we can stop our ears, or give attention to something else: so that, even if we do hear, at least we can refuse to understand. In this locution of God addressed to the soul there is no escape, for in spite of ourselves we must listen; and the understanding must apply itself so thoroughly to the comprehension of that which God wills we should hear, that it is nothing to the purpose whether we will it or not; for it is His will, Who can do all things.

Never exaggerate, but express your feelings with moderation.

Recollection is nothing else, in my opinion, but being on terms of friendship with God, frequently conversing in secret with Him, who we know loves us.

All things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted.

Give me wealth or poverty, give me comfort or discomfort, give me joy or sorrow... What do you want to make of me?

I am really much more afraid of those people who have so great a fear of the devil, than I am of the devil himself.

If parents were to ask me for advice, I would tell them to take great care what people their children consort with at impressionable ages.

Just as we cannot stop the movement of the heavens, revolving as they do with such speed, so we cannot restrain our thought.

O infinite goodness of my God! It is thus that I seem to see both myself and Thee. O Joy of the angels, how I long, when I think of this, to be wholly consumed in love for Thee! How true it is that Thou dost bear with those who cannot bear Thee to be with them! Oh, how good a Friend art Thou, my Lord! How Thou dost comfort us and suffer us and wait until our nature becomes more like Thine and meanwhile dost bear with it as it is! Thou dost remember the times when we love Thee, my Lord, and, when for a moment we repent, Thou dost forget how we offended Thee. I have seen this clearly in my own life, and I cannot conceive, my Creator, why the whole world does not strive to draw near to Thee in this intimate friendship. Those of us who are wicked, and whose nature is not like Thine, ought to draw near to Thee so that Thou mayest make them good. They should allow Thee to be with them for at least two hours each day, even though they may not be with Thee, but are perplexed, as I was, with a thousand worldly cares and thoughts. In exchange for the effort which it costs them to desire to be in such good company (for Thou knowest, Lord, that at first this is as much as they can do and sometimes they can do no more at all) Thou dost prevent the devils from assaulting them so that each day they are able to do them less harm, and Thou givest them strength to conquer. Yea, Life of all lives, Thou slayest none of those that put their trust in Thee and desire Thee for their Friend; rather dost Thou sustain their bodily life with greater health and give strength to their souls.

Reflect upon the providence and wisdom of God in all created things and praise Him in them all.

Anyone who truly loves God travels securely.

God aids the valiant...both to you and to me He will give the help needed.

I cannot think why we should be astonished at all the evils which exist in the Church, when those who ought to be models on which all may pattern their virtues are annulling the work wrought in the religious Orders by the spirit of the saints of old.

If this is the way you treat your friends, it's no wonder you have so few! [said to God]

Just as we cannot stop the movement of the heavens, revolving as they do with such speed, so we cannot restrain our thought. And then we send all the faculties of the soul after it, thinking we are lost, and have misused the time that we are spending in the presence of God. Yet the soul may perhaps be wholly united with Him in the Mansions very near His presence, while thought remains in the outskirts of the castle, suffering the assaults of a thousand wild and venomous creatures and from this suffering winning merit. So this must not upset us, and we must not abandon the struggle, as the devil tries to make us do. Most of these trials and times of unrest come from the fact that we do not understand ourselves.

O my God, what must a soul be like when it is in this state! It longs to be all one tongue with which to praise the Lord. It utters a thousand pious follies, in a continuous endeavor to please Him who thus possesses it.

Author Picture
First Name
Saint Teresa of Ávila, aka Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada
Birth Date
1515
Death Date
1582
Bio

Spanish Mystic, Roman Catholic Saint, Carmelite Nun, Theologian, Writer of the Counter Reformation, Co-Founder of the Discalced Carmelites and Reformer of the Carmelite Order