Anything Is Possible

These arms must appear on our banners and at all costs we must keep this rule as regards our house, our clothes, our speech, and (which is much more important) our thoughts. So long as this is done, there need be no fear, with the help of God, that religious observances in this house will decline, for, as Saint Claire said, the walls of poverty are very strong. It was with these walls she said, and with those of humility, that she wished to surround her convents, and assuredly, if the rule of poverty is truly kept, both chastity and all the other virtues are fortified much better than by the most sumptuous edifices. Have a care to this, for the love of God; and this I beg of you by His Blood.

From the book: The Way Of Perfection

Saint Teresa of Avila

Holy Poverty

My daughters must believe that it is for their own good that the Lord has enabled me to realize in some small degree what blessings are to be found in holy poverty. Those of them who practice it will also realize this, though perhaps not as clearly as I do; for, although I had professed poverty, I was not only without poverty of spirit, but my spirit was devoid of all restraint. Poverty is good and contains within itself all the good things in the world. It is a great domain – I mean that he who cares nothing for the good things of the world has dominion over them all. What do kings and Lord’s matter to me if I have no desire to possess their money, or to please them, if by doing so I should cause the least displeasure to God? And what do their honors mean to me if I have realized that the chief of a poor man consists in his being truly poor?

From the book: The Way Of Perfection Saint Teresa Of Avila

Keep Your Eyes Fixed Upon Your Spouse: It Is For Him To Sustain You

Do not think, my sister’s, that because you do not go about trying to please people in the world you will lack food. You will not, I assure you: never try to sustain yourselves by human artifices, or you will die of hunger, and rightly so. Keep your eyes fixed upon your Spouse: it is for Him to sustain you; and, if He is pleased with you, even those who like you least will give you food, if unwillingly, as you have found by experience. If you should do as I say and yet die of hunger, then happy are the Nuns of St. Joseph’s! For the love of the Lord, let us not forget this: you have forgone a regular income; forgo worry about food as well, or you will lose everything.

Let those whom the Lord wishes to live on an income due so: if that is their vocation they are perfectly justified; but for us to do so, sisters, would be inconsistent.

From the book: The Way Of Perfection Saint Teresa Of Avila

This Must Be Your Business

“Oh, my sisters in Christ! Help me to entreat this of the Lord, Who has brought you together here for that very purpose. This is your vocation; this must be your business; these must be your desires; these your tears; these your petitions.

Let us not pray for worldly things, my sisters. It makes me laugh, and yet it makes me sad, when I hear of the things which people come here to beg us to pray to God for; we are to ask His Majesty to give them money and to provide them with incomes – I wish that some of these people would entreat God to enable them to trample all such things beneath their feet.

Their intentions are quite good, and I do as they ask because I see that they are really devout people, though I do not myself believe that God ever hears me when I pay for such things. The world is on fire. Men try to condemn Christ once again, as it were, for they bring a thousand false witness against Him.

They would raise His Church to the ground – and are we to waste our time upon things which, if God were to grant them, would perhaps bring one soul less to Heaven? No, my sisters, this is no time to treat with God for things of little importance.

Were it not necessary to consider human frailty, which finds satisfaction in every kind of help – and it is always a good thing if we can be of any help to people – I should like it to be understood that it is not for things like these that God should be importuned with such anxiety.”

From the book: The Way of Perfection Saint Teresa Of Avila

What Then

It is certain, my Lord, that in these days withdrawl from the world means no sacrifice at all. Since worldly people have so little respect for Thee, what can we expect them to have for us? Can it be that we deserve that they should treat us any better than they have treated Thee? Have we done more for them than Thou hast done that they should be friendly to us? What then? What can we expect- we who, through the goodness of the Lord, are free from that pestilential infection, and do not, like those others, belong to the devil? They have won severe punishment at his hand and their pleasures have richly earned them eternal fire. So to eternal fire they will have to go, though none the less it breaks my heart to see so many souls traveling to perdition. I would the evil were not so great and I did not see more being lost every day.

From the book: The Way of Perfection Saint Teresa of Avila

God Never Fails To Help

“At about this time there came to my notice the harm and havoc that were being wrought in France by these Lutherans in the way in which their unhappysect was increasing. This troubled me very much, and, as though I could do anything, or be of any help in the matter, I worked before the Lord and entreated Him to remedy this great evil. I felt that I would have laid down 1000 lives to save a single one of all the souls who were being lost there. And, seeing that I was a woman, and a sinner, and incapable of doing all I should like in the Lord’s service, and as my whole yearning was, and still is, that, as He has so many enemies and so few friends, these last should be trusty ones, I determined to do the little that was in me namely, to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as I could, and to see that these few nuns who are here should do the same, confiding in the great goodness of God, Who never fails to help those who resolve to forsake everything for His sake.

As they are all that I have ever painted them as being in my desires, I hoped that their virtues would more than counteract my defects, and I should thus be able to give the Lord some pleasure, and all of us, by busying ourselves in prayer for those who are defenders of the Church, and for the preachers and learned men who defend Her, should do everything we could to aid this Lord of mine Who is so much oppressed by those to whom He has shown so much good that it seems as though these traitors would send Him to the Cross again and that He would have nowhere to lay His Head.”

From the book: The Way of Perfection Saint Teresa of Avila

Of The Reason Which Moved Me to Found this Convent In Such Strict Observance.

Of the reason which moved me to found this Convent in such strict observance.

“When this Convent was originally founded, for the reasons set down in the book which, as I say, I have already written, and also because of certain wonderful revelations by which the Lord showed me how well He would be served in this house, it was not my intention that there would be so much austerity in external matters, nor that it should have no regular income: on the contrary, I should have liked there to be no possibility of want. I acted, in short, like the weak and wretched woman that I am, although I did so with good intentions and not out of the consideration for my own comfort.”

From the book: The Way of Perfection Saint Teresa of Avila