of Avila, 1515-1582. Doctor of Prayer, Feast Oct 15th.
Saint Teresa's favorite prayer was the Our Father.
For a beautiful link to the Our Father prayer click on the bottom link of the homepage of Doctors of the Catholic Church.com. There are other links within the main link. Follow the easy directions after you complete the Our Father Prayer and you will be prompted.
Teresa's insights into prayer are unparalleled. It is not that she
will tell us anything startling new. Understand that it is Christ alone who makes all things new and profound. Jesus through his Spirit is so startling because he is thoroughly ineffable, thrilling, and unutterable.
When Teresa writes, we somehow begin to immediately
feel comfortable and identify with her. It is through her spirit that and her communication and tone, and her conversational quality of prayer, that she describes, that
draws us to her and God. God uses her to impart and inspire because she is a most holy and intriguing person and
identifies with us and draws us to God intimately through God's holy and sacred Spirit. Teresa is contagiously inspirational.
For a concise Carmelite history of Teresa click on the below link:
was extraordinarily humble, greatly detached, and showed tremendous
charity. That is the mark of a genuine mystic. Some mystics
experience visions, levitations and raptures as Teresa but these
aren't needed or necessary for transforming union with God. Teresa
assures us that sincere prayer has to be imparted from God. You
can't really describe or teach it. It teaches you when you live
godly. Teresa's writings and example laid the foundation for many
thousands of houses of prayer around the world.
The virgin of Carmel writings inform us today that it is within ourselves that we will discover
the meaning of Jesus' words. "My house will be called a house of
prayer". She is for the entire world to know, appreciate, and savor
that the kingdom and Christ the King dwells within each creature in their interior 'mansion'. The
entire world and all religions have an immeasurable gain when they
explore this indefatigable reformer, nun, and consecrated virgin, St
Teresa of Avila. She reaffirms that it is within the Kingdom of God
that the majestic King dwells awaiting your glance and attention. He jealously awaits us daily in
prayer. It is truly there that Christ craves our adoration, praise, honor and
thanksgiving when we give him our whole body and soul and when we truly thirst for our blessed Redeemer as he does for us. Unquestionably, he
has paid for each of us with his precious blood and demonstrated this in too many ways to count or determine.
Teresa assures us that the abundant
blessings, gifts, and favors that God gives, especially in prayer, the mass, sacraments and works of charity will astonish and astound
us. Give it time and God will capture you and make you his own exclusively in accordance to your generosity.
Don't expect signs and wonders. Aim only to be kind, compassionate, patient,
and gentle as Jesus showed. Enjoy God's presence, silence and his good pleasure.
Teresa's mind had a thousand and one thoughts that
pestered her. Aren't we the same? Aren't we always worrying about
something and preoccupied with many anxieties at times? Isn't it nearly
impossible for us to quiet our minds? Due to demands and deadlines,
all of us need to daily unwind and relax and be
Today, many people unwind, for the most part, by recreation,
meeting with loved ones, family, friends, food and drink, travel, vacation, exercising,
having sex (married couples), hobbies, TV, music and a host of things. These can all be holy and sacred.
However, for Teresa's recommendation, unwinding is
definitely to include prayer and actually be a prayer in themselves. One can unwind not only exteriorly but by going interiorly
into one's thoughts through reading or reflecting. Our
mystical friend always had a book at hand when she began prayer time
because she was easily distracted. Sound familiar?
Teresa does for us when we practice prayer in any form, vocal or
silent, group or individual, public or private, will encourage us to
pester God than allow us to be pestered by anything else that is not
related about God. In fact, the gospel tells us that it was the widow who
pestered the judge, in the parable taught by Jesus that finally gave her what she asked for despite
originally denying her, or putting her off. God is that same judge
toward us and 'pestering prayer' has precedent.
interesting aspect of this woman of prayer is how it wasn't until
she was around forty that she first began to be drawn to prayer in a
powerful manner. Although Teresa was always faithful and engaged in prayer, during her earlier years as a nun,
however, at times, she was often waiting for the prayer period to end, but this changed later.(The
Rule and Spirit of Carmel sets aside specific times for prayer, generally one hour periods two times a day.) As
she matured in prayer and live more generously she began to listen in prayer
and surrender to her vocation wholeheartedly. Prayer became her passion. Prayer for her was not
a compelling event at first neither is it for 99% of us.
This is probably true for many. The more we live God's will,
the more the will of God takes on a new aura and we are more energized despite the headaches, pains and challenges.
Only when she begin to live out her prayer life through generous sacrifices and obedience to her vows did
she understand and sense the grandeur and magnificence that prayer
God drew Teresa so marvelously to the Godhead
that she began to experience ecstasies and raptures even in public.
Her conversation with Jesus Christ became so alive to her that his
presence became almost real.
She experienced what the church
has always taught regarding Jesus' presence. He is actually present
Body, Soul, Blood and Divinity on our altars and holy tables through
the consecrated bread and wine. And he remains in all Catholic
Churches around the world where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in
the tabernacles. He is also present in a special manner in the soul
and body of every creature on the face of the earth. He is present
in God's word and many other manners. God is ubiquitous and his
sacred humanity stays with us in an ineffable manner.
saint's writings and your prayer will furthermore inspire you to
spend more time and reflection on this divine person who dwells with
us on earth as he is in heaven. St Teresa's mystical writings lived
out will steep you in unforgettable contemplation of God the Father,
Son and Holy Spirit. Sincere prayer is unitive and Trinitarian and
encourages and impels you to show and have love for God and all of
God's creatures. God jealously loves us and wants us to jealously
love others. Jesus said it first. Give to God what is God's and to
Caesar what is Caesar's.
Perhaps more books have been written
on prayer than any other subject in religion. This does not mean to
state that prayer needs to be associated with religion. Prayer is
the heart's cry for love. All creatures need and want love. Some
will not state it in religious terms. After all, Jesus didn't come
only to set up a religion although he designated Peter to be the
head of the church. We would be wise to heed Peter's voice and
authority. Jesus came to give us spiritual life through his Spirit
and God's beatitudes, gifts and divine favors.
further developed because Jesus called the twelve to proclaim the
kingdom. In the below link on the Twelve Apostles of the Catholic Church,
one will find details on their lives:
God promised and sent the Holy Spirit to his believers from the very beginning of recorded history
and he gave us the prophets and holy women. Later Christ sent the apostles, fathers, martyrs, saints, and doctors, like St Teresa, Catherine and Therese with the other 30 male doctors,, to help us in the transmission and transformation
of that holy faith through their examples, writings, and life so that we might imitate them.
Therefore, Atheists, beware! Agnostics, watch out! Do not read about
this holy woman if you want to maintain your traditional way of
thinking and believing. Why? Others like you have done so and have
discovered religion, began praying more, and actually became saints.
St Teresa's writings can be like a stick of dynamite. Her influences
are spiritually explosive. To all sincere non-believers this is a
warning. Teresa may be too hot for you to handle.
of God and especially those dedicated to God in religion, please be
advised. The material you are now reading may be challenging to your
spiritual health. Why? Once you get a taste of genuine prayer, as
Teresa discovered, you might become more intimately united with God
causing you to change your weak habits, if any exist.
Authentic prayer has the power to reveal to you that your
habits may not be as good as you assumed. Spirit-led-prayer pours
supernatural light and special graces into your body and soul. You
begin to see as never before experienced. For example, as Teresa
explained or perhaps it was John of the Cross, one of her dearest
friends who helped her in Carmelite reform efforts, an apparent clean and
empty room, when exposed to the rays of the sun will reveal dust,
dirt and stains that may surprise you. Similarly, the bestowal of
divine love, through earnest prayer, reveals hidden, secret, and
unknown flaws and sins. In spiritual terminology, sin is filth. It
is offensive and repugnant to God and it blocks any intimacy and
true knowledge of the Creator.
Your habits could
dramatically change you through prayer causing you to practice
prayer and devotion more wholeheartedly. As Teresa, herself, was
radically changed by the reading of St Jerome's letters at first, and later with St Augustine, so too, might you
be changed if you read about her life. The almighty One might
lovingly stalk you as he stalked her. Prayer time might become a
romance and a feast that never tires you. Once God touches you
profoundly, one hardly returns as the same person.
In John F. Fink's books, Volume 1 and 2, on The Doctors of the Church listed in the sources, he writes that
Teresa originally felt drawn toward the religious life through an attraction stimulated by her reading the "Letters of Saint Jerome". When she told her father that she wanted to become a nun,
he refused to give his consent. Although hating to defy her father, she went secretly to the Carmelite Convent of
the Incarnation just outside Avila and asked for admittance. She was twenty years old.
first woman doctor of the church will definitely assist you in
prayer as no other when you turn to her through her illuminating
writings on prayer. When you invite her into your thoughts and heart
through intercessory prayer, you will gain her insights. She is your
spiritual sister. The church confirms her unanimously as a dear
friend who will guide you to know and love God. Read her Interior
Castle, Way of Perfection and her Autobiography to get a taste of
Teresa. Also read the books and resources within the
content of each doctor that may not be listed in the sources. For
example, to be imbued with Carmelite spirituality, subscribe to
Spiritual Life and Desert Call. Both are rich resources and have won
Catholic Press Awards (CPA) repeatedly in many
Recently discovered new this on the Net on: Way of Perfection translated and edited by E. Allison Peers
from the critical edition of P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, C.D. See link below.
Way of Perfection
Teresa's writings on prayers are classics and
incomparable. She richly inspires the church today about the subject
of prayer. She described it as a conversation with God. Our saint
sometimes depicts prayer as taking place in the interior of the
soul-"the castle" and the different parts of the castle or
"mansions" as stages of prayer. By reading and reflecting on From
Ash to Fire by Carolyn Humphreys, one can gain a rich, contemporary
insight and journey through the Interior Castle of St Teresa of
For this astonishing reformer, prayer was the
magic of the moment and the moment of magic. Both, time set aside
for prayer and spiritual dialogue, offered her unlimited access to
the kingdom. Within her mansion dwelt the majestic Master who called
her into conversation and friendship. It really did not matter to
her if the prayer was vocal, mental or contemplative. It was all the
same-sacred, unique and special.
St Teresa of Avila was
graced from childhood and wanted to be a nun ever since she could
remember. In John Fink's book already mentioned, Teresa was only fourteen when her mother died
and this event seemed to trigger a change in her. She wrote in her Autobiography that she became
enamored with tales of chivalry, and she even tried to write romantic stories. She wrote: "These tales did not
fail to cool my good desires, and were the cause of my falling insensibly into other defects. I was so enchanted
that I could not be happy without some new tale in my hands. I began to imitate the fashions, to enjoy being
well dressed, to take great care of my hands, to use perfumes, and wear all the vain ornaments which my position
in the world allowed." For those parents today, doesn't this sound all too familiar with your children or those of others? If it could only
stop there, it wouldn't be so troublesome, but we know otherwise.
However, when Teresa was sixteen, she went through some
changes that turned her off from being a nun but shortly thereafter
she entered the Carmelites in Avila, Spain very young. After many
years leading a "comfortable", holy life as she would describe it,
she felt called and challenged to a more spiritual surrender to the
ways of prayer. She achieved this through a more consecrated living
out of her vows to her Lord in obedience to God's commandments and
the rule of the Order.
Prayer deepened and enlightened her to
appreciate, cherish and treasure the vocation that she was called to
live. She began to encounter prayer more seriously and discovered
that the sacred humanity of Jesus took on newer dimensions and led
to firmer commitments to God's church.
The sacred humanity
of Jesus guarantees us a tangible, creative and intimate union each
and every time we dwell with him and he in us. It matters not how we
feel. He is alive, real and avidly seeking our generosity. And he
can never be outdone in generosity. He is our Creator, Redeemer and
Guide. Our Lover craves our hearts, thoughts and compassion now. He
eagerly seeks us daily not only for himself but that we may share him
with others infinitely with his own love. Many leave him cold, alone and forgotten.
Many do not know him as a gentle, loving Friend. He treats those who pray faithfully as his
friends. The gospels tell the whole story.
lifetime she considered there was too much laxity, needless talking
and ease among the nuns. She started a movement of renewal that
would revolutionize the convent where she lived and the founding of
new convents and monasteries throughout the world. Faithful
conversation with God continually would be the benchmark of Mary's
Order in the future.
Obviously Teresa had a devotion to Mary as did all the doctors.
See link below:
THE DOCTORS AND ST MARY
Teresa was engaged in prayer with the rosary and meditations on our
sacred Lord, especially the sorrowful mysteries, whenever time
permitted outside the regular time for prayer. She held that from
prayer all favors flowed abundantly.
Our nun took as her
patron, St Joseph, the husband of Mary, who had cured her when she
St Joseph is a special protector of those
dedicated to prayer because he is the Protector of God's church.
There can be no church without prayer.
Who but Joseph and
Mary were as close to Jesus for nearly thirty years before his
public ministry? Who could teach us more about intimacy with God
than he who would be addressed by Jesus, himself, as father? The
illustrative St Joseph, a son of David by birth, has been designated
as the "Protector of the Church", the "Husband and Guardian of Mary" and
the "Foster Father of the Son of God." He is the silent one. Not one
word of his has ever been recorded in scripture. Others have written
about him but he, himself, is unspoken.
Joseph is the model
and example of all husbands and all who consecrate themselves to
prayer, labor, and those wanting a holy death. All the doctors are in
awe of the unsurpassed dignity of St Joseph-"Spouse of Mary". He is
the Defender and Patron of the Universal Church, which is the
mystical spouse of God and picked by Teresa to watch Carmel. What a
remarkable choice by a very savvy woman!
St Joseph and the third Millennium, edited
by Michael D. Griffin, O.C.D., covers traditional themes and contemporary issues and can be obtained from the
Teresian Charism Press, 1525 Carmel Road, Holy Hill, Hubertus, Wisconsin 53033.
Read The Divine Favors
Granted To St. Joseph, by Pere Binet, S. J.,(Tan Books and
Publishers) and two other books in the Sources listed on this
website to help understand Mary's husband. Another insightful book
is The Life of St Joseph as manifested by Our Lord, Jesus Christ to Maria Cecilia Baij, O.S.B. Another book from The 101 Foundation, Inc.,
Box 151, Asbury, N.J. 08802-0151, and www.101foundation.com,l by Editor, Dr. Rosalie A. Turton,
is Saint Joseph and is a compilation of what has been written about him by leading mystics and historian.
Consider the glorious titles of SAINT JOSEPH by John Henry Cardinal Newman
found at the end of Maria Cecilia Baij's book listed
- HE WAS THE TRUE AND WORTHY SPOUSE OF MARY, SUPPLYING
IN A VISIBLE MANNER THE PLACE OF MARY'S INVISIBLE SPOUSE, THE HOLY
- HE WAS A VIRGIN, AND HIS VIRGINITY WAS THE FAITHFUL
MIRROR OF THE VIRGINITY OF MARY.
- HE WAS THE CHERUB, PLACED TO
GUARD THE NEW TERRESTRIAL PARADISE FROM THE INTRUSION OF EVERY
- HIS WAS THE TITLE OF FATHER OF THE SON OF GOD, BECAUSE
HE WAS THE SPOUSE OF MARY, EVER VIRGIN.
- HE WAS OUR LORD'S
FATHER, BECAUSE JESUS YIELD TO HIM THE OBEDIENCE OF A SON.
WAS OUR LORD'S FATHER, BECAUSE TO HIM WAS ENTRUSTED, AND BY HIM WERE
FAITHFULLY FULFILLED, THE DUTIES OF A FATHER, IN PROTECTING HIM,
GIVING HIM A HOME, SUSTAINING AND REARING HIM, AND PROVIDING HIM A
- HE IS HOLY JOSEPH, BECAUSE ACCORDING TO THE OPINION OF
A GREAT NUMBER OF DOCTORS, HE, AS WELL AS ST. JOHN BAPTIST, WAS
SANCTIFIED EVEN BEFORE HE WAS BORN.
- HE IS HOLY JOSEPH,
BECAUSE HIS OFFICE OF BEING SPOUSE AND PROTECTOR OF MARY, SPECIALLY
- HE IS HOLY JOSEPH, BECAUSE NO OTHER SAINT
BUT HE LIVED IN SUCH AND SO LONG INTIMACY AND FAMILIARITY WITH THE
SOURCE OF ALL HOLINESS, JESUS, GOD INCARNATE, AND MARY, THE HOLIEST
- BLESSED BE THE NAME OF JOSEPH HENCEFORTH AND FOR
Teresa would have us go to Joseph in every need
and the light of the Savior's radiant smile will rest on you. Let us
pray at the side of the Saint who inspires us all to give thanks to
our loving Redeemer, for the hidden miracles of grace in our lives
and for every blessing of his love.(from the above
Teresa was a most practical and kind woman. She
radiated smiles, humor and goodwill toward all despite poor health.
She frequently experienced migraine headaches, spiritual challenges
and numerous crosses including extensive vomitings and heart
ailments for many years. To maintain her own spiritual renewal,
Teresa always remained faithful to prayer especially to the two
hours that Carmel sets aside and prescribes daily for each member.
The Order encourages all members to remain in the presence of God
through loving conversation with God as they perform their duties,
responsibilities and routine living.
Recollection is an art,
habit and practice that can be mastered in all lifestyles and is a
must for holiness, sanctity and sanity. No one could have been more busy or
called upon more than Jesus during his three active years of public
ministry. Yet, he always created time for prayer by getting up
early, sticking to his plan and fleeing at times from the
The favors from prayer that the Lord bestowed on her,
with the joy, peace and love that those fruits instilled in her,
made her convinced that there was no place in her convents for
"dour" face saints. Teresa was merry, cheerful, and animated with
enthusiasm. She ministered to the church assiduously by taking God
seriously-not herself- and followed his inspiration. The love of God
set her mind and body on fire. She was aflame with divine love
despite pain, difficulties, and many vicissitudes that she
encountered in her reform efforts. Despite poor health she traveled
extensively throughout Spain and usually by wagon and animal over
intolerable roads if they could be classified as roads. When she was
younger she had been paralyzed for nearly three years. She was no
stranger to hardships and with God's grace she welcomed all
She prayed in 'dry' times when there were no
spiritual consolations and when she was animated with God's Holy
Spirit. It did not matter how she felt when she prayed- only that
she always had the intention to pray! Teresa kept the conversation
alive in season and out of season. She found God's 'hot button' and
the Almighty consumed her in service for the church. Her work became
her prayer and her prayer became her work. All becomes one when one
peers through the lenses of graces and divine gifts. God enraptures
one's spirit with the Deity's Spirit. It is almost as if all sincere
love becomes tangible, intense and vividly alive. All love, human
and spiritual, when prayerfully lived and executed, is extraordinarily
pleasing to God.
In summary, all forms of pure love, and this
includes non-prayer time, ravishes our Supreme Being infinitely
because that is the 'stuff' that drives and establishes God's
existence and essence: pure Love. Prayer and pure love constitutes
the divine cycle of divine Being. It is giving and sharing eternally for
us, with us, and among us. Prayer allows us to be conscious of God's
powerful, yet gentle, communication. Grace enters each body and soul
uniquely and causes different reactions and effects. However, God's
telling trademark is charity. When we give (trade or exchange) with
God, the eternal hand marks and moves us. God can bind us, blind us,
trouble us, purify us, comfort us or let us experience total bliss.
When we begin to experience union with God, consciously or
unconsciously. God takes over and we become as it were a pawn on the
chessboard of life. Our free will doesn't stop but as long as we
surrender to God, God will do all the moving and directing of our
God increased Teresa's confidence to achieve things
that were most uncommon for a woman ever to imagine. Nuns were
supposed to stay in their places and out of sight. For Teresa she
felt called to do more and that required more visibility. This was a
radical departure. Many people did not like it or were upset. During
this time, male domination was rife in and outside the
Teresa was suspected by the Inquisitors. They were the
Roman Catholic tribunal for the discovery and punishment of heresy.
People were accusing her of heresy. These paralyzing thoughts could
have led her to be burned as a witch that was not uncommon. Fr
Christopher whose source is listed tells us that the
Inquisition finally exposed her as a fraud, and the shock was felt
At this time, Teresa was controversial. Her
writings were being investigated. According to Cathleen Medwick's
book on Teresa of Avila, her writings were investigated six separate
times by the Spanish Inquisition. It is also reported that the papal
nuncio considered her unstable, restless, disobedient and a
Teresa suffered mental anguish because
she felt called and asked to establish new convents and monasteries
and renew old ones. She accomplished this despite her preference for
the contemplative life rather than her traveling throughout Spain.
She did this despite bad health and the fact that for three years,
when she was younger, she was paralyzed. Although she was treated
hostile by church officials and harassed frequently, she helped
establish about sixteen foundations for women and four for men. She
recruited John of the Cross to help her with the friars of the same
Order. In addition, she took on enormous correspondences. One
estimate was that Teresa wrote between one and
three thousand letters. Another estimated in the Spiritual Life Quarterly indicated
that she wrote 15,000 letters of which fewer than 500 have been
preserved. She was constantly expanding the Carmelites through
traveling in addition to her other responsibilities.
people, even religious and church members with authority definitely
thought she had gone off the 'deep end'. Teresa, as Jesus, made many
enemies. This always happens when someone introduces needed change.
Keep in mind, that Teresa was herself dramatically changed. When she
entered the Order of Carmel, she loved to entertain others in a nice
manner. All of us to some degree have that nice entertaining spirit.
However, although prayer allows recreation, it puts a reign on many
of our activities. We will never be able to discern the will of God
and the activities we should be engaged in without the grace and
insight that God offers us in prayer and divine gifts.
thought, at times, that she was going 'mad' due to the infinite and
'unreal' graces received through prayer. This labeling of 'unreal'
is not because it did not conform to reality but it encompassed a
different heavenly reality that is so breathtaking that it seemed
incredible or unreal to experience or express.
God can touch
any creature's soul, spirit, body and mind in amazing manners that
are impossible to realize when they are faithful to prayer. They
receive all they desire or could imagine including degrees of God's
omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence and untold numbers of God's attributes.
This makes one wonder if one
is sane because the person becomes immersed and absorbed in God.
This results in being aware of an ocean of light, energies and
beauty deeper than the universe. One becomes intoxicated with the
infinite. It is impossible to describe, define or discuss. Silence
is golden when it comes to explaining authentic and genuine prayer.
Experience in prayer is everything and it can only be understood by
living it rather than talking about it. Genuine prayer is deep
intimacy. Carolyn Humphreys states in her book, already noted, that
transcendence is the fairest flower of intimacy.
Prayer is a
journey and a road, to, and with God. Sometimes you struggle along
and often you are carried. St Teresa says that no soul on this road
is such a giant that it does not often need to become a child at the
breast again. She meant that we need to be nourished by our spiritual mother,
the church, who offers us a wide variety of praying. No matter the
level that we reach in sublime contemplation, it is often necessary
to return to the source or the beginning of prayer. For many years
the simple Our Father Prayer nourished Teresa's soul abundantly. She wrote a
beautiful, small book on the Our Father and planned to do one on the
Hail Mary Prayer, although she actually never accomplished that desire that
we are aware.
Her total reliance on God in prayer, her
faithful execution of her vows and God's commandments, led her to
perfection and the highest states of prayer. Her heart was closely
enamored with the love of God and neighbor. She had a fierce
determination to carry out God's will. She focused on renewal and
reform within the church. This was a stupendous task for anyone,
least of all, a cloistered nun in a convent. Her unswerving
obedience, humility and openness to the movement of the Spirit in
her prayers led her to follow all the designs that God had for the
glorious Order of his Mother. Originally established on Mount Carmel
in Palestine, the Carmelites are, as all approved and sanctioned
religious orders of the church, a precious jewel in the church's
crown. She wears this crown and is proud to display it with honor
The Carmelite Order in all of its branches
and divisions both for men and women, and its Third Order members, have been abundantly blessed by
the Mother of God. She enriches and bestows tremendous graces with
the bestowal of the scapular for protection and assurance. This can
empower one to attain a closer union with God on earth and heaven.
Mary, the Mother of God, guides and enlightens all who faithfully
and devotedly wear the scapular-her garment. All sacramentals such
as the scapular, the miraculous medal and many others that the
church designates, have awesome spiritual powers. They are special
gifts and graces to humankind.
People are by nature,
sacramental. We are signs and symbols, formed from clay, and we
depend on signs and symbols for survival. This includes physically,
mentally and supernaturally survival. The tangible aspect of
sacramentals such as blessed (holy) water, the cross, cloth such as
the scapular, are most important and significant today because it
enables us to identify with a religous order, an event such as
baptism or gifts that God has bestowed. There are church
sacramentals and some will say there are natural sacramentals. God's
traces are omnipresent.
The immense treasury of the church
staggers the imagination. One such example is the scapular. The
church has approved at least eighteen different scapulars. They act
as shields, badges and pledges for salvation. They afford us peace
and protection against snares, dangers, difficulties and evil both
spiritual and physical. Sacramentals such as the scapular are
promises of spiritual support and assistance for perfection. The
brown, woolen scapular allegedly given by the Mother of God herself
to St. Simon Stock, a holy Carmelite, living in England in the
mid-thirteenth century, is perhaps the most popular scapular. Simon
was imploring St Mary for assisting the Carmelites when its ranks
were being depleted. God's Mother intervened by building up not only
the Carmelites but also the entire church itself through the growing
use of the scapular. Many popes have sanctioned, in a special
manner, the scapular and our past holy father, Pope John Paul II,
wore one religiously. It can be worn inconspicuously as a medal or
as an outer garment. Although the Vatican has insisted that the
"Sabbatine Privilege" is a forgery,(a document about it benefits)
the overall blessings of the scapular are indisputable.
beings benefit by using all the spiritual forces they can muster to
ward off, guard, and defeat hostile forces. It does not take a genius
to realize that invisible, but real, violent, spiritual and physical
enemies challenge us continually not only in our world at home and
work but also in our inner thoughts, feelings and affections
wherever we are.
All the masters of the spiritual life insist
that wicked and virulent enemies are really, sometimes, our own distorted,
seductive thoughts and our selfish habits which cause more harm than
we imagine or think possible. If we could see the invisible world of
spirits we would know that the earth is a battlefield and testing
grounds where the real powers of death and life are constantly
struggling for victory and defeat. It goes on naturally and
supernaturally. In the natural order it is the survival of the
fittest and in the supernatural domain, the fittest, or graced
creatures, that survive. God allows us to choose and empowers us to
The scapular and other sacramentals such as the
rosary beads will also protect us from visible and physical force
when we wear them or use them as designed. Our past Holy Father's
survival from an assassin's bullet he attributed to Mary's
protection. The scapular is essentially a habit which reminds us
that all creatures can be united in spiritual love and good because
humans, by nature, are sacramental and encouraged by signs and
symbols as the scapular.
Often we see rosaries hanging on the
mirrow in people's vehicles. Sports figures wear them around their
neck. One of my favorite saints, but not a doctor yet, is St Anthony
Mary Claret who survived at least fourteen attempts on his life.
This missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen's
chaplain, writer and publisher always got protection from God.
Mary's rosary was never out of his hand. His followers called the
Claretians number around 3000 today. The Franciscan friar, Foley,
whose book is listed in the sources, notes that a hired assassin
(whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his
face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin's
death sentence commuted to a prison term. The title "Doctor of
Reconciliation" would be a fitting title for this lover of the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, the poor and those heavily oppressed. The
Sister Claretians honor the Venerable Marishya Antonia Parishys
as their founder. Jesus and Mary down through the centuries have
assured everyone who prays that God will protect them as Anthony
Mary Claret and Teresa of Avila.
Listen to the beautiful
lines that Fr. Foley writes about Teresa. As a woman, Teresa stood
on her own two feet, even in the man's world of her time. She was
"her own woman," entering the Carmelites despite strong opposition
from her father. She is a person wrapped not so much in silence as
in mystery. Beautiful, talented, outgoing, adaptable, affectionate,
courageous, enthusiastic, she was totally human. Like Jesus, she was
a mystery of paradoxes: wise, yet practical; intelligent, yet much
in tune with her experiences; mystic, yet an energetic reformer. A
holy woman, a womanly woman.
The church wants everyone to
take advantage of her sacramentals and sacraments. They protect us
from physical and spiritual danger and harm. Many religions have
their own forms of sacramentals and sacraments and are distinctly
different from Catholics.
Teresa is a spiritual mother,
friend, sister, lover and model. Her writings on prayer are private,
personal and intimate. She has shared all. The church urges all to
prayer with her. Teresian prayer is clearly explained in a
twenty-page pamphlet by Father Sam Anthony Morello, OCD. Write to
ICS Publications in Washington, DC for information or purchase. The
author has captured the spirit and essence of St Teresa of Avila's
prayer style and substance in a marvelous manner. She is truly the
Doctor of Prayer because her approach, guidelines and support to you
are universal and most personal.
Teresa will guide your
prayer life through Morello's succinct and beautiful booklet. To
Lectio Divina and the Practice of Teresian Prayer
saint from Avila will personally assist you to do God's will with a
merry disposition and peace despite pain and challenges. However, be
prepared and aware that Teresa assures us that Jesus treats his
friends with the heaviest crosses. That is why he has few. However,
special graces are given to those who generously, pray daily and
come to him. Listen to her words: "There is no greater aid to
holiness than frequent communion. How marvelously the Lord shows his
power therein." St. Teresa said that in this world it is impossible
for all subjects to speak to the king, and they must do so by way of
a third party. "But to speak with Thee, O King of Heaven, there is
no need of a third person - for everyone that wishes can find Thee
in the most Blessed Sacrament."
The challenges of praying can
actually become welcomed. If pain occurs, there is more gain.
Suffering for God, when unavoidable, steeps us in serenity and in
deep peace. Explore reading Teresa if you haven't done so already.
It could begin to transform you through prayer's power. It will most
assuredly lead you to God who is both Mother, Father and Brother to
the human race. The most noblest of all prayers comes from the heart
and the lips. The prayer that Jesus gave us, The Our Father, is the
universal prayer for all people and religions. It provides to all
the perfect words and prescription for peace and happiness both on
"earth as it is in heaven".
One can in a special manner always be engaged in the perfect prayer of the church. The mass
prayed and offered up daily, worldwide, would never break or disturb
one's contemplation but rather enhance and elevate it. It is holy
and the church's perfect prayer because the real celebrant is the
High Priest, Christ, who is represented by the ordained person.
Jesus is the Pascal Victim who first fulfilled the new law. It is
the continuation of his perfect sacrifice and life of obedience to
do the holy will of God. The major part of the mass concludes with
the Our Father Prayer that Teresa wrote about and said most of her life.
The mass offers us unlimited blessings and graces and it can never
have any substitute. It is the sum and substance of the union
between God and humankind. Its redeeming value is as a constant
reminder for us to share in it according to the grace that is given
to each of us.
For a beautiful link to the Our Father prayer and over 30 extra on line links in beautiful color and interviews with God at 3 levels:
Prayer Flash Movie
After all has
been said and done about prayer life, one should be reminded of St
Teresa words when she says: It seems that the soul's good cannot be
merited or gained through all the trials one can suffer on earth.
This good is a gift from the Lord of heaven and earth who gives
according to who he is and who he wills.
In Fr. Christopher Rengers',
O.F.M. Cap., recent book on The 33 Doctors of the Church found in the
sources, has twenty-five pages on St Teresa. His keen anecdotes
and fascinating facts are most interesting. The
following are commentary and paraphrases from his book.
have their own special capacity for mystical prayer Paul VI stated
and that light becomes life in a sublime manner for the good and
service of humankind. St Teresa possessed a distinctive, charismatic
and feminine way of giving guidance and enlightenment to the whole
Quoting from Life of the Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus
by E. Allison Peers, Teresa says that anyone who has not begun to
pray, I beg, for the love of the Lord, not to miss so great a
blessing. There is no place here for fear, but only
Teresa tells us that prayer isn't always 'peaches and
cream'. For nearly 20 years, she experienced aridity in her praying
and she was often restless. She assures us that the Devil will try
his damndest to thwart us from praying for he has no power over those
who desire to give themselves to God. God sees our sincerity and
desire and overlooks our distractions, fear and feelings that plague
us especially during our attempt to be with God and his court.
Teresa enlightens and guides by saying that dryness and desolation
of spirit may often be better signs of progress than sweetness. The
Devil likes to turn people away from prayer on the grounds that they
are too weak and sick. St Teresa found out that the less she
bothered about her health, the more it improved.
Due to her
constant moving during her reform efforts, she had about 25
different confessors. Many caused her mental anguish. She prized
intelligent priests, but she "had a peculiar distrust of holy men
who where stupid" (St Teresa of Avila, Bruce, 1943; TAN, 1987, p
Teresa prided herself on being a daughter of the church.
Jesus and the church were the same and despite the harsh treatment
she often receive in her reform movement from the church, she
embraced her vows of obedience, charity and poverty in a superb
As she matured in wisdom, her trust in God's
providence became total and complete and each cross she turned into
a precious crown. She said that nothing is insignificant in our
lives. Every event represents a divine opportunity, a divine call, a
definite contribution to the intricate design of God's providence.
(Taken from Spiritual Life. Vol 16, no.4, p.254.)
Carmelites came to the US in 1790, settling at Port Tobacco,
Maryland, near Waldolf, MD about 30 minutes off the Capital
Beltway, and later moved the site of the convent to Baltimore.
They are now once again at Port Tobacco and relocated also to the Baltimore suburbs.
As of 1991, there
were approximately 11,400 Discalced Carmelite nuns in the world. Of
the 764 convents, some 67 were in the United States. There
were approximately 3,700 Carmelite Friars in 426 monasteries
worldwide as of 1991.
Fr Christopher concludes his section
on the Doctor of Prayer by saying that St Teresa's message for the
modern era is "Learn to pray." Prayer is the highest art. It
requires perseverance and that humble spirit whereby the creature
constantly looks up imploringly to the Creator. For by prayer does
God fill his creature's emptiness with a new fullness. Prayer,
carried to the highest degree, will unite us with God and will make
us the most fully developed human being. St Teresa is a marvelous
guide for us to know, cherish and enjoy. Converse with her as she
did with Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and
Most of us are not great conversationalist. That is
not needed. Love has its own language. What is important is not the
words we speak in the conversaton when we pray, but the love we
express. Genuine prayer is not talking much but loving much. God
looks at our desires and what comes from the heart much more than
what comes from the mind, lips, or the tongue.
Only those steeped in
humility, charity and detachment will discover God in this world in
the fullest possible manner before they go immediately into the
eternal embrace. When they take that last heartbeat on earth, they
will know where they are going before they die. They will have
arrived at perfect transformation and union with God. Through the
gifts and graces that God gave to St Teresa of Avila for herself and
others, we too, by faithful prayer on his sacred humanity of Jesus,
will rediscover that same Jesus who came to earth so that we may
have life to the fullest.
This website below provides a comprehensive view of the Discalced Carmeite Order worldwide.
website for the nuns in Baltimore: (which will provide a Carmelite
Web Ring)and many more links within and around the world.
to St Teresa of Avila, there are probably over 70 Discalced
Carmelite Women Communities in the United States alone. She started
the renewal process many years ago and it keeps flourishing. This is
because the hunger and thirst for God in prayer is insatiable and
for those who get a taste of it, life is never the same. It becomes
infinite and consumming even on earth. Reflect on this profoundly,
moving prayer of St Teresa entitled:
A Prayer after Individual Confession
(This beautiful prayer by St Teresa was
found in a pamphlet in the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the
Apostle, Washington, District of Columbia for a Communal Prayer
Service. The service was lead by former Theodore Cardinal McCarrick,
Archbishop of Washington.)
Although I have often abandoned
you, O Lord, you have never abandoned me. Your hand of love is
always outstretched towards me, even when I stubbornly look the
other way. And your gentle voice constantly calls me, even when I
obstinately refuse to listen. When the sins in my soul are
increasing, I lose the taste for virtuous things. Yet, even at
such moments, Lord, I know I am failing you and failing myself. You
alone can restore my taste for virtue. There are so many false
friends willing to encourge sin. But your friendship alone can give
the strength of mind to resist and defeat sin.
What a good
friend you are, Lord! You are so patient, willing to wait as long as
necessary for me to turn to you. You rejoice at the times when I
love you, but you do not hold against me the times when I ignore
you. Your patience is beyond my understanding. Even when I pray, my
mind fills with worldly concerns and vain daydreams. Yet you are
happy if I give only a single second of honest prayer, turning that
second into a seed of love.
Oh Lord, I enjoy your friendship
so much, why is it not possible for me to think of you
Carmelite Family, History and Origin:
Teresa's writings, and other Carmelite publications such as the
subject of Carmel and Contemplation, click on the below link. You
can also call 1-800-832-8489 M-F (9:30am-4:30pm)ET. There are
many tapes on John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Thérèse of
Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Edith Stein, and other Carmelite
Saints and Themes, Albums and Videotapes:
links on St Teresa of Avila and Carmel in Scotland:
Teresa's Way of Perfection
The following link is entitled Leaves of Prayer and contains Scriptural Passages and Catholic Reflections For Those Who Enjoy Nature
Teresians and ministries:
This is a sample of a few Carmelites. Others are found below in a complete gallery.
remarks by Our Pope on the scapular.
below gallery of 40 Carmelite Saints with their pictures is listed
on 6 different pages:
The Carmelites of Indianapolis publish this site where you can read a
current news event and then pray about it:
famous Carmelite website: Blessed Nuno of St Mary
For additional "Doctor" Carmelites go to the respective links of Sts John and Therese on this site at the below links:
Teresian Carmelities and links to the Catholic world:
Carmelite Studies-Distance Education Certificate Program. Carmelite Institute, 1600 Webster Street, NE-Washington,DC 20017,
Phone: 202.635.3534 Fax:202.635.3538 Email:email@example.com
Carmelite Seculars (OCDS) from a sister country in Canada with interesting
Aspects of St Teresa of Avila in the below link.
Pioneers of the Spirit is a wonderful introduction to the lives of the mystics. This series will inspire anyone who watches it to pursue their own spiritual journey with the same passion
as Teresa of Avila and six others. See www.visionvideo.com. Box 540, Worcester, PA 19490
Teresa, Julian, Hildegard, Dante, Loyola, Blake, and Augustine
The below, comprehensive (see table of contents) web site contains superior and amazing resources and is faithful and obedient to the Holy Father and the Magisterium in every manner. The author was kind enough to point out some dangereous materials that I had on my site that were scandalous and should not have been there and I deleted them immediately.
Teresa informs us that all prayers can join us in union with God. The below link is focused on many types of prayers including traditional
and beautiful vocal prayers. It includes comments by other doctors on prayer and recalls to us the Mass as the best prayer.
Click on the below link and go the sidebar that says Prayer
Her link is below.
St. Teresa of Avila 10/15
Saint Terea of Avila: Biography and Online Writings: Virgin, foundress and Doctor of the Church by Dr. Marcellino D' Ambrosio
Saint Teresa of Avila
The following article is taken from Desert Call , Summer 2004, written by Thomas Crutcher and is about Carmel's great seer and forefather, Elijah the prophet, who defended the purity of Israel's faith in the living God. He dwelt on Mount Carmel in service to the word of God and battled the bad prophets. Elijah also appeared with Jesus and Moses on Mt Tabor during the feast of The Transfiguration of the Lord, to be celebrated on August 6th in the year 2004.
The titles of the article is Elijah, Prophet of Patient Persistence
The dove descending breaks the air, with flame of incandescent terror,
of which the tongues declare, the one discharge from sin and error, the only hope or else despair, lies in a choice of pyre or pyre to be redeemed
from fire by fire. Who then devise the torment? Love. Love is the unfamiliar name behind the hands that wove the intolerable shirt of flame which human power cannot remove. We only live, only suspire, consumed by either fire or fire.
T.S. Elliot, Four Quartets
Our personalities, like those of the saints, are forged in the conjunction of pain and love.
The fire of pain and the fire of love. This is especially true of Elijah and Elisha who are prophets of both pain and ecstasy. The Old Testament Book of Kings tells the story of Elijah and Elisha and their lives can teach us much about living.
In the story of Elijah we see a man fresh from the success of destroying the priests of Baal now fleeing for his life from Jezebel’s henchmen. And like most of us, he could go from the extremes of inflation to the depths of depression very easily. All of us have known times when we wished we were dead: “I’ve had enough; I can’t do it anymore. “ Our own dark nights can take many forms; we find ourselves asking: Is this relationship worth it? Is this marriage worth it? Did I make a mistake? How can I continue with this commitment, this vocation, this career? Should I persevere with ideals that seem to be costing me so much?
We question during the quest. That’s the essence of the quest. And, if we don’t ask questions, then we’re not human, because questioning is the price we pay for going deep. It may be that we’ve experienced a failure that makes us say, with Elijah, “Take my life, for I am no better than my Fathers.” We’ve simply had enough., like Elijah, who simply lost hope. Why did Elijah lose hope after he’d been so successful? The answer, I believe, is that he was clinging to too many hopes. Because if God had let this younger Elijah be totally successful, after he had killed the priests of Baal and become a popular and prophetic figure, he would have established the perfect theocratic state, with himself at the head of it. And all the naughty boys and girls would have been put in the juvenile detention center and there would have been a whole lot of rules about everyone’s behaviors. Elijah’s desires, on others words, were too narrow. God decided he was going to take Elijah deeper. And God will take all of us deeper, if we are willing to go the next step, beyond success and beyond failure. God will take us to a place of deeper freedom.
Elijah was in a dangerous place at this time in his life. Perhaps he had too much success too early. Good people, like Elijah, are not destroyed by bad things; they are destroyed by good things. Spiritual people are similarly not destroyed by material things, but by spiritual things. We cling to things instead of becoming Christ men and Christ women. We cling to some narrow good: the greatest thing we can conceive is still not God. When we cling to things, we turn them into idols. Elijah’s zeal, if it had been left unchecked, would have become rashness. We need the virtue of fortitude, which protects us from both rashness and fear. Elijah does not strike one as a fearful person, but then we see him under the broom tree, totally afraid. He’s gone from rashness to fear, and needs the virtue of fortitude.
When the Angel comes to Elijah, and even before, what is Elijah’s response? Sleep. He wants to go to sleep. That’s anesthesia. Anesthesia takes many forms. One of our favorite forms in America is workaholism. We don’t think of it as anesthesia, but it is. Our frenetic “doing” is because we’re not in a peaceful inner place; we’re still trying to prove our worth to ourselves and to God. Because we haven’t accepted ourselves, we get caught up in a lot of good deeds and “do goodism.” Other ways that we seek anesthesia include inappropriate use of drugs and drinking. It is interesting that the Angel does not berate Elijah for being fearful. He simply gives the advice: “Eat and drink or else the journey will be too long for you.” There is a hint of adventure. The Angel is trying to stir up Elijah’s desire to go a little bit further. He says: “It’s not the end of the road; eat and drink.” Sometimes it is the simple pleasures like eating and drinking that will draw us out of our depression and our fear. The Angel tries to get Elijah out of his head and out of his despair into a place of being human again. He also tries to arouse Elijah’s sense of duty, because sometimes when our desire fails, as it often does, our sense of duty and honor will keep us at our post.
After Elijah finishes eating and drinking, he goes on a journey for forty days. Forty is a symbolic number; it simple means “a long time.” This is consoling, because we’re not going to make it to the heights of holiness in forty days. For us, that “forty days: is the long, long time we’re going to be on the road. To stay true we need what Elijah needed to remain faithful to the long journey: the virtue of patient endurance. This virtue gives us the patience and perseverance not to be discouraged when the path seems long and the results scant. We try to put love into a relationship, and yet we don’t find love. But we don’t get discouraged, we keep trying. We hope that what John of the Cross says, that “where there is no love, put love and you will find love,” will prove true.
During his journey, Elijah learned to accept the darkest part of himself. Great people often cast long shadows. The first step in Elijah’s transformation, and in ours, was to accept the darkest parts of himself. We have to accept even our sins. We’re not going to resist our sins to death; we’re going to love them to death. We’re going to love our fears to death by accepting them and integrating them. This is the first step in transformation. We’re not called to love just a part of ourselves; we called to love all of ourselves. Even the dark parts. That is the first step in opening ourselves to grace so that we can be transformed. We have to love our worst traits. As on of my Buddhist friends says: “What we resist, persists.” That’s very profound. Acceptance precedes transformation.
Union and Perfection
Elijah also learned the hard lesson that his narrow experience and understanding was not the full measure of reality. We too set up what we know, or what we think we know, as an absolute, it isn’t. God knows so much more and tries to give us his eye view of reality. That’s wisdom: to see the world as God sees it.
Elijah was a demanding individual and during those “forty days” he perhaps learned that the journey is not about perfection but union. There is a big difference between union with God and perfection. We can take consolation in that, because none of us will ever be perfect. This is the key to stopping self-hatred: life is not about perfection, it’s about union.
Elijah learned to be a prophet of hard love early on, when he dealt so forcefully with the prophets of Baal. On his forty day sojourn, he learned another side of love. In addition to giving us a few hard knocks, God also consoles, delights, and nurtures. It works both ways. Surprisingly, sometimes God consoles us even when we’ve sinned. Counter to what we’d expect, or deserve, God comes with compassion, understanding, and love. Elijah had always been a good military man; now he learned the matrimonial aspects of spirituality. He learned to hear the voice of God, to really listen. He learned to be still and not to fall for the experience of the spectacular.
It must have been a heady experience for Elijah when he called down fire from heaven and it consumed his sacrifice and left the priests’ of Baal’s untouched! But God quickly weaned Elijah away from the spectacular and away from drama and reliance on good feelings. Therefore, when Elijah finally reached Sinai, he was ready to recognize God in that still, whispering voice. God speaks to us all a thousand times a day, in many ways. It could be in a sunrise, in the rushing stream, in a dream, or in the aspen leaves quaking in the wind. God is trying to tell us something, but we can be so caught up on wanting something dramatic or spectacular. We want an angel to come down and hit us with a wand. However, God comes in a tiny whispering voice. If we are listening, we will be able to hear him. But we need to be wide-awake with wonder for that to happen.
So, through self-acceptance, patient endurance, persistence, compassion and believing in union rather than in perfection, the angry fire in Elijah diminished and the living flame of love grew. All of us must struggle to transform that dark fire with us into heavenly fire.
Elijah said “yes” to God each step of the way, and went through a painful purging which is described by John of the Cross in this way: “When the soul is plunged in the fire of divine love, like iron, it first loses its blackness. And then growing to white heat, it becomes likened to the fire itself. And lastly it grows liquid and, losing its nature, is transmuted unto an utterly different quality of being.” This process comes at a high price. Ultimately we do become what we desire, but sometimes we underestimate the cost of getting there. Whether it’s a perfect marriage, or the realization of a religious vocation, or even the realization of some great service for humanity, the process is usually long and arduous. In our youthful enthusiasm we think, “Well, it’s all going to work out, it’s going to happen real fast.” It doesn’t. We must persist through the purging by fire. Initially, the flame will hurt us. Don’t underestimate the cost, but don’t give up either, because ultimately we will become what we desire.
God became all things to Elijah and all things became God to him. There is freedom in this integration, when things no longer draw us away from God. In the end, there was only one more journey that Elijah had to take, and that was the one with Elisha. In this scene, Elijah is taken to heaven in a fiery chariot. In it, we see both Elijah and Elisha having to let go of what is familiar to them. Elijah leaves the guild of prophets behind and tells Elisha that he doesn’t need to come with him. Elijah is letting go of his role as a spiritual teacher, his role as a guru, his role as a prophet. Elisha, on the other hand, must let go of his role as a disciple so that they can both go on to the next stage of the journey. Personal growth often means letting go of roles. We should be able to perform our roles in life responsibly, but remember that we are more than our roles.
Then Elisha says to Elijah: “I want a double portion of your spirit.” That’s a difficult request for Elijah to fulfill and he puts an interesting condition on it: “If you see me taken from you, then you’ll get what you want, a double portion of my spirit.” What a strange condition! Why would he put that condition on it? The answer is he’s telling Elisha that he’s going to have to stand firm and feel the loss of Elijah without swooning, without seeking anesthesia, without going to sleep or denying Elijah’s worth. We all occasionally use the defense mechanisms of denial or of minimizing loss. (Well, I didn’t want it anyway.”) But Elijah is saying, if you can stand in the truth and feel the depth of this loss without employing any defenses, then “you will get a double portion of my spirit.” Elisha is able to do that, as can be seen in the mysterious line, “My father, my father, Israel’s’ chariots and drivers.” Scripture scholars say Elisha here is affirming Elijah’s worth above al the horses and chariots of Israel. His departure will be a terrible loss indeed!
Elijah and Elisha both let go of roles. Ultimately, Elisha lets go of Elijah and merits a double portion of his spirit. Let’s relate this to real life. There is no real fecundity in life unless parents first give their children roots, and then give them wings and let them go. The same is true of “spiritual parents,” like Elijah, and “spiritual children, “ like Elisha. I don’t know that parents will be taken to heaven in a fiery chariot, but still, the point is, they have to let the kids go. And all of us are going to have to let go of everything in the end.
The image of going to heaven in a fiery chariot challenges me. It asks me: “For what do I still hope?” Teilhard de Chardin challenges us in this way also when he writes: “We persist in saying that we keep vigil in expectation of the Master, but in reality we should have to admit, if we are sincere, that we no longer expect anything. We have allowed the flame to die down in our sleeping hearts. What have we made of our expectancy? How many of us are genuinely moved in the depths our hearts by the wild hope that our earth will be recast?” That’s a real challenge: Do we still hope? How can we get that flame rekindled in us?
Ultimately, nothing excludes us from being purified, like Elijah, providing we’re willing to feel our ache for God in the dark nights, and if we’re willing to step anesthetizing in all its various forms. But if we are willing to persist, and willing to ask God to rekindle that flame of hope and love in us, then the flame that burns in pain will one day become the flame that burns in love.
Bro. Thomas Crutcher is a member of the Spiritual Life Institute living at Nada Hermitage in Crestone, CO.
St Teresa of Avila Quotes
from St. Teresa of Avila from the Dr. Marcellino D' Ambrosio website listed below
Saint Teresa of Avila
The below book is offered because:
Prayer enriches us with new unknowns
One becomes wise by drawing from history, tradition, the bible, one's religion, the practice of daily holy prayer, repentance and forgiveness to be a genuine Christian.
God's will can not be known and achieved without prayer, grace and God's favor.
Prayer is the basis for all spiritual growth.
CHAPTER ONE: MAN'S CAPACITY FOR GOD: I. The Desire for God
27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.
183 Faith is necessary for salvation. the Lord himself affirms: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned"( Mk 16:16).
184 "Faith is a foretaste of the knowledge that will make us blessed in the life to come" (St. Thomas Aquinas. Comp. theol. 1, 2).
The above is taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
"There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers." Teresa of Avila
Teresa of Avila: "We shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God; for, beholding His greatness, we realize our own littleness; His purity shows us our foulness; and by meditating upon His humility we find how very far we are from being humble."
We need no wings to go in search of Him, but have only to look upon Him present within us. - Saint Teresa of Avila
Prayer can be the heart's cry for love. All creatures need and want love.
Authentic prayer has the power to reveal to you that your habits may not be as good as you assumed. Spirit-led-prayer pours supernatural light and special graces into your body and soul. You begin to see as never before experienced. For example, as Teresa explained, or perhaps it was John of the Cross, one of her dearest friends who helped her in Carmelite reform efforts, that an apparent clean and empty room, when exposed to the rays of the sun will reveal dust, dirt and stains that may surprise you. Similarly, the bestowal of divine love, through earnest prayer, reveals hidden, secret, and unknown flaws and sins. In spiritual terminology, sin is filth. It is offensive and repugnant to God and it blocks any intimacy and true knowledge of the Creator.
New powerful book on Prayer and Talking with God
199 Treasures of Wisdom on
TALKING WITH GOD
The spirit of prayer is stretching with all our desire after the life of God-Andrew Murray
What better way to draw near to God than to follow His blueprint for prayer? And who better to guide your thoughts on spiritual communion than one of history’s greatest prayer experts?
Andrew Murray was known for his insight and writing on the Christian life – and his commitment to “pray without ceasing.” To know Andrew Murray, type his name into Google.
199 Treasures of
Wisdom on Talking with God contains dozens of excerpts from Murray’s beloved writings, lightly edited and updated for easy reading. Fresh, renewing blessings will be yours as Murray’s challenging words
Penetrate your heart – and as you embrace, perhaps for the first time, God’s gift of prayer. Listed in the doctoral sources on this website.
1 I must take time to come into God’s presence, to free my weakness and my need, and to renew my fellowship with Him.
2 Time alone with the Lord Jesus each day is the indispensable condition of growth and power.
3 Even as a father and his child enjoy being together, so I must have this intimate fellowship with God each day.
4 Let this be my chief object in prayer, to realize the presence of my heavenly Father. Let my goal be “Alone with God”.
5 If I seek fellowship with the Father, I will find Him in His word.
6 May every sight of those in need help urge me to cry to God who alone can help.
7 My source of power in prayer is the Vine. If I am the branches abiding in Christ, He will supply the power.
8 Am I spending time in His presence? Everything depends on this.
9 The greatest happiness of my life is that I am loved by the Lord Jesus and His fellowship with Him everyday.
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you. Psalm 63:1
10 O that I would take time daily in His presence to drink in His love.
11 It is only when I am wholly surrendered to the Spirit that I will be able to live according to God’s will.
12 Unless I am on my knees [or possess a reverent attitude and posture] I cannot live in His love.
13 A life of prayer will make a life of love to Christ, to other Christians, and to those without Christ.
14 I must ask myself if my prayer is really in accordance with the will of God and the Word of God.
15 My hidden prayer life is inseparably bound up with united prayer.
16 Time I spend in prayer is an offering pleasing to God.
17 The real practice of prayer is when I take hold of God and have communion and fellowship with Him.
18 To experience real prayer I must sacrifice my selfish desires.
“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1
19 Isn’t it worth the trouble to deny myself daily in order to meet God?
20 As I pray, my attitude should be one of silent expectation.
21When I feel how imperfect my prayer is, I may bow before God in the confidence that His Holy Spirit will teach me to pray.
22 I pray for grace to live completely for God, whether in sharing with unbelievers or serving His people.
23 I put on Christ by spending time alone in His presence.
24 When I take the time and the trouble to spend time with God, my reward will be great.
25 Much time is needed with the Father if I want to experience the power of God within.
26 In seeking God in crying for His help – each time it must be with my whole heart.
27 Spending time with God until I know I desire to serve Him with my whole heart, gives me the assurance that God hears my prayer.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. Psalm 19:14
28 Prayer is the one power on earth that commands the power of heaven.
29 Even in the midst of my daily schedule I can call out to God.
30 Each day as I spend time in His presence, let this thought be with me: Christ is all.
31 My faith in the great power of love should prepare me for a life in communion with God in prayer.
32 As a Christian, I should pray that I would obey the Word of God and live in the power of Christ’s love.
33 There is only one way that I can love my enemies: by the love of Christ, sought and found in prayer.
34 If I pray only for myself, I will not find it easy to be in the right attitude toward God.
35 Love leads me to pray.
36 As I wait silently before God, I become strong in the assurance of faith.
“Therefore I tell you, what ever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11: 24
37 I will take time each day to love God and believe in Him with a firmer faith.
38 Without love, true holiness is impossible, so I pray that my love for others will grow.
39 As I walk in fellowship with Him, I am given strength to be like Him.
40 Loving others may mean tears and heartache, and much persevering in prayer.
41 I am a channel through which the highest love can reach its aim. I will begin to intercede for those around me.
42 If God is waiting to meet me, it is shortsighted to put other work in His place.
43 If I am to experience God’s presence, I must engage in more divine and persevering prayer.
44 The scriptural teaching to cry out day and night in prayer must become my experience if I am to be an intercessor.
45 Sometimes prayer changes me more than the circumstances.
“Yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
46 Through prayer God can give me strength for all I do and bring down His power to work through me in the lives of others.
47 God can bring me the power to pray that I long for.
48 My relationship with the Father can become one of continual prayer.
49 As simple as breathing is in the physical life so will praying be in my life led by the Spirit.
50 To pray is to enter into God’s presence, commit my need to Him, and leave it there.
51 God wanted people to state what they wanted – so I should carry my strong desires to Him.
52 When I allow the light of God to illuminate my life, unbelief will become impossible.
53 The spiritual blessing of God’s answer to my prayer must be accepted in my spirit before I can see it physically.
54 Prevailing prayer is born out of my human weakness.
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” John 15:7
55 If I not only seek an answer but seek after the God who gives the answer, then I receive the power to know I have obtained what I have asked.
56 What a privilege it is for me to meet in prayer with the One who has redeemed me.
57 As I pray, it is the Crucified Christ who comes to walk with me in whose power I live.
58 When I meet God in prayer, His presence is my strength for service.
59 It is only as Jesus Christ dwells in my heart and life that there can be power in my prayers.
60 As I pray I must be fully convinced of Christ’s words: “I am with you always.”
61 If our spiritual life is healthy, under the power of the Holy Spirit, praying at all times will be natural.
62 Intercession will become my glory and my joy when I give myself as a sacrifice to God for others.
63 The more pointed and definite my prayer can be, the better.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6: 6
64 I expect and look for God’s answers so that I may praise Him.
65 I should pray as a child asks his father, as simply and trustfully as a child asks for food.
66 It is only as I acknowledge and yield to the power of the Spirit already in me that I can pray for His full manifestation.
67 I ought to pray for all believers and then for those around me.
68 If I am to pray, I must love.
69 My prayers are not only wishing and asking, but they must be believing and accepting.
70 My purpose is to pray for believers and those who do not know God.
71 My prayer and my faith will make a difference.
72 When I am definite in my requests, it helps me know what answer I am looking for. I need time with God – to know His presence and to wait for Him to make Himself known.
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James
73 If I seek God with my whole heart, my whole heart will be in every prayer with which I come to God.
74 God listens to my every request with His whole heart. I will expect the unexpected, greater than all I ask or think.
75 As I pray, I learn to pray, to believe, and to expect with increasing boldness.
76 Christ will give me grace to pray as I should.
77 Prayer is incense that I burn before God.
78 I need to pray in the Spirit if I am to take hold of God in faith and power.
79 When I seek His nearness, He will give it. Then it will be easy to pray in faith
80 I pray, expecting an answer.
81 As I spend time in intercession, I will see more conversions.
“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:
82 As I consciously abide in Him, I have the liberty to ask what I will in the power of
the new nature, [one in Spirit] and it will be done.
83 As long as I live and love, and hear and work, I must pray at all times.
84 Through consistent daily prayer, my whole life becomes devoted to my King and
to the service of His kingdom.
85 I need to experience fellowship with Christ on His cross if the Spirit is really to
take possession of me.
86 When I pray for the power of the Spirit, I must yield with my whole heart to His
leading. Lead me to know the indispensable secret of spiritual health – the prayer
life in daily fellowship with the Father and the Son.
87 What joy it will be to seek God’s face until the earth is full of His glory!
88 I resolve to carry the mark of the children of God, the great distinction of the Christian – a life of prayer.
89 Everything in my life is to bear the signature of Jesus’ name. As I learn to live in that name, I will pray with confidence.
90 I find it a great privilege as I bow in worship to know that the Father comes near to me where I am on the earth.
We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every act prompted by your faith.
2 Thessalonians 1: 11
91 When I righteously commit my whole being to take hold of God, my prayer is powerful and effective.
92 My prayer receives worth for being rooted in the sacrificed of Jesus Christ.
93 The most important and profitable time of my whole day is the time with God.
94 Never let me say: “I have no time for God.”
95 Communion with God through His Word and prayer is as indispensable to me as the food I eat and the air I breathe.
96 I need to spend time with God even when I do not know what to pray.
97 Jesus calls me to separate myself from the world and to yield myself wholeheartedly to praying.
98 Even though I may have to cry day and night to God, I can count on the Father to answer.
99 I ask for the gift of unceasing prayer for the power of God’s spirit in all His saints.
I remember you in my prayers at all times. Romans 1:9-10
100 Once I begin, I will find abundant reason for persevering in prayer.
101 As a Christian, I should not be afraid to promise to pray every day.
102 I want to devote my life to the prayer that can bring down God’s blessing.
103 When I draw near to God in humble prayer, I take the first step in the path that leads to fellowship with God.
104 I have nothing unless I receive it from Jesus. Absolute dependence on God is the secret for power in my work.
105 The spirit of prayer comes when I turn away from the vanity of time into the riches of eternity.
106 Self keeps me from prayer, but my heart can be prepared for prayer by denying the world.
107 To be inspired by God to inward holiness – I must experience the Spirit of God, the spirit of love, and the spirit of prayer.
108 The spirit of prayer is stretching with all my might after the life of God.
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’ “ Matthew 6:9
109 Only in humility do I depend on prayer.
110 Self-denial is indispensable if God’s redeeming love is to display power and blessing in my life.
111 Nothing can hinder God’s holy union with my heart except the decision of my heart to turn away from Him.
112 When earnest prayer has melted away all earthly passions and desires so that I delight in God alone, then my prayer changes until I do not so much pray as I live in God.
113 Prayer is the work of my whole being in absolute willingness to be [and do] what pleases Him.
114 Prayer is an emptying of myself and my own lusts and desires.
115 Pray is opening myself for the light of God to enter me.
116 Turning to God, with or without words, is the best form of pray in the word.
117 Prayers not formed according to the real condition of my heart are like prayers pulled out of a deep well when I am not [connected or involved] in it.
Do not be anxious about anything, but, in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
118 Prayer must come from the heart and my relationship with God.
119 My times in prayer are meant to lead me closer to God’s heart.
120 Christ will strengthen me for a life of unceasing prayer as I walk in the light of His countenance.
121 Let me believe God that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I ask or think.
122 My heart will focus on its own state of prayer as God is it objective.
123 My heart will continually live and rejoice in God’s presence.
124 Every time a truly good desire stirs in my heart, my heart sends a prayer that reaches God.
125 Through prayer I can have the Father’s presence every moment of the day for my happiness and strength.
126 I need daily, prayerful fellowship with God if I am to have His thoughts make their home in me.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from
heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7: 14
127 When I bow in deep stillness before God and believe what He says, then His law will take possession of my inner life with all its power.
128 Faith for the fulfillment of God’s promises can be found in the discipline of fervent prayer.
129 When I prayerfully turn to God with my whole heart to plead for what He has promised, He will fulfill those promises.
130 I need to pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will be deeply felt and that my faith will be strengthened.
131 As I pray, let me be willing to accept my place with Him, crucified to the world, to sin, and to self.
132 In the quietness of prayer let me believe that a simple and determined surrender of my will to Him will bring the heart-cleansing I need.
133 Real prayer is life changing.
134 The closer I draw to God’s heartbeat, the more I realize I need Him.
135 In prayer, I am to be led by the Spirit every day and every hour.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
136 Through prayer, God lovingly reveals areas in our lives that need to change.
137 God will hear my prayer when I hold unflinching confidence in the power of His promise.
138 My close, abiding fellowship with Christ begins with deep dependence and unceasing prayer.
139 Faith, led and taught by God’s Holy Spirit, gains the confidence to prayerfully claim: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
140 God asks that I carefully stay in close fellowship with Him every day in order that my prayers will be answered.
141 Unbelief dishonors God and robs me of my heritage.
142 In silent prayer and adoring faith, I am assured that God Himself is working in me all that is well-pleasing in His sight.
143 I have learned how indispensable it is to meet with God every morning in prayer and allow Him to take charge of my life for the day.
144 If my conscience is clear, I can come to God with bold confidence.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
145 Christ will always accept faith that trusts in Him, even a seed of little faith I plant in my heart.
146 My weak faith in an almighty God can become the great faith that moves mountains.
147 God wills my holiness. I must not rest until my will is surrendered unconditionally to the will of God.
148 In prayer we begin to realize God’s thoughts and will.
149 Every prayer has a value corresponding to the intention with which I offer it to God.
150 Prayer is a dialogue where I listen to what the Father says in reply and then ask for what I need.
151 Prayerful study of the Bible is indispensable for me to gain power in prayer.
152 Five minutes spent in worship each day will strengthen my faith for the work of prayer. God, in His unspeakable love, invites me to come to Him and communicate freely with Him.
153 The Holy Spirit is purposely given to intercede for me in prayer.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him Psalm. 37: 7
154 Whenever I come in prayer, the Lord instructs me to pause long enough to remember who He is.
155 Let my prayer be something definite, arising out of the Word I have read and out of the real soul needs I long to have satisfied.
156 Take time to help a child pray. It will lay a foundation like none other in their life.
157 Prayer time can become for me a wonder of God’s goodness and a fountain of great joy.
158 I was created in Christ to pray. It is my nature as a child of God.
159 God’s Spirit has been sent into my heart to draw it up to God in childlike faith.
160 There can be no communication with a Holy God, no fellowship between heaven and earth, unless I set apart time for it.
161 God’s Word supplies me with material for pray and encourages me in expecting His will.
162 It is only in prayer that I can live such a life so that every word of God be fulfilled in me.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8
163 Though everything may appear cold, dark, and strained – may I be faithful in talking with my heavenly Father.
164 To reach the place where the Word and prayer each have its undivided right over me, I must be wholly transformed.
165 My day will respond to the morning watch time spent with God.
166 Prayer opens the way for God to do His work in and through me.
167 Close and continued fellowship with God will, in due time, leave its mark on me.
168 When I bow down to pray, the awareness of my unworthiness will not hinder me but will help me trust God.
169 God is always waiting to hear my voice.
170 Only prayer gives my work its worth and success.
171 What a change it would make if secret prayer were not only asking for knowledge or strength, but the giving of my life into the safekeeping of a faithful God.
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61: 1-2
172 I want my spirit to be a listening spirit waiting to hear what God says.
173 In prayer, I give myself to God; in the Word, God gives Himself to me.
174 Prayer prepares my heart for receiving the Word of God from God Himself.
175 The courage to pray for someone is a sign that you have faith that God is able.
176 My secret communion with God is the place where I learn the great lessons concerning God’s will.
177 Boldness in prayer comes when I am assured that the spirit of asking and the thing I’ve asked for are both according to the will of God.
178 All the powers of heaven are at my disposal when I labor in the service of His kingdom.
179 God waits for me for His grace and power.
180 The Holy Spirit knows what the will of God is. I should learn in faith to pray through the Spirit.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10: 36
181 I count it the highest privilege to be a channel through whose prayers God’s blessing can be brought down to earth.
182 Intercession must not be a passing interest; it must become an ever-increasing object of intense desire.
183 In prayer I must expect difficulties which can be conquered only by determined perseverance.
184 When I know what it is to abide in Christ and to yield to the Holy Spirit, I begin to learn that God will give power in answer to prayer.
185 He who sits upon the throne, and who lives in my heart, has promised that what I ask in His name I will receive.
186 The Holy Spirit breathes God’s own desire into me and enables me to intercede for those without Christ.
187 Jesus asks me to yield myself as completely to God as He did and to pray like He did, that God’s will be done on earth at any cost.
188 Prayer for workers for God’s harvest must be part of my whole life and effort.
189 May I not forget the importance of praying for our leaders.
When we asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord. James 1: 67-7
190 When I learn to pray not only for my immediate interests but enlarge my heart to take in the whole Church and the whole world, my supplication will have power with God.
191 God will hear me. What a wonderful certainty! We have God’s word for it.
192 Let me know in stillness before God and wait on Him to reveal Himself as the prayer-hearing God.
193 As little as I comprehend of God, I can comprehend one of the most wonderful of His attributes – He hears prayer. This is a spiritual mystery.
194 If God has blessed my weak prayers what will He do if I yield myself wholly to a life of intercession?
195 I can become God’s co-laborer. My prayer becomes part of God’s divine work reaching and saving the lost.
196 In the matter of prayer, God does not demand impossibilities. He does not ask me to pray without giving me the grace to do so.
197 There is nothing more worth living for than this – to satisfy God and His longing for human fellowship and love.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29: 2
198 May I not rest until I have found a place for the Mighty One in my heart and have yielded myself to the work of intercession.
199 May my heart really feel that there is no honor or joy on earth at all equal to the unspeakable privilege of waiting upon God and interceding for the blessing He delights to give!