Next in our brief attempts to give you a taste of the rich spirituality to be found in the writings of St. Teresa of Avila—in honor of her 500th birthday—we’re going to take a look at The Way of Perfection.
While St. Teresa wrote The Way of Perfection to lay out a way of life for the sisters under her care, there’s plenty in there for those of us who don’t live in convents. The three basics she cites as necessary for success are enough for a lifetime of prayer and meditation for most of us. Here they are:
Love each other: Easy. Right? Let’s not forget that “Someone” else told us to try this and we haven’t been doing a very good job of it.
Don’t be attached to created things: What are you overly attached to that keeps you from doing God’s will in your life?
Live true humility: St. Teresa says she put this one last but that it “embraces all the rest.”
Don’t get discouraged.
The Way of Perfection is also where you’ll find the various types of prayer we looked at in our last St. Teresa blog. For those of us who think there’s no way in a hundred years of trying that we can reach truly contemplative levels of prayer, St. Teresa has comforting news.
“God does not lead us all by the same road…it does not follow that, because all of us in this house practise prayer, we are all perforce to be contemplatives. That is impossible; and those of us who are not would be greatly discouraged if we did not grasp the truth that contemplation is something given by God, and, as it is not necessary for salvation and God does not ask it of us before He gives us our reward, we must not suppose that anyone else will require it of us.”
St. Teresa goes deep, but The Way of Perfection is also well known for being easy to understand. It’s more than worth a look.
Special thanks to ewtn.com for giving us a look at The Way of Perfection.