O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another. In , forty years after her death, she was canonized by Pope Gregory XV. The Cortes exalted her to patroness of Spain in , and the University of Salamanca previously conferred the title Doctor ecclesiae with a diploma. The title is Latin for "Doctor of the Church" but is distinct from the papal honor of Doctor of the Church , which is always conferred posthumously and was finally bestowed upon her by Pope Paul VI on 27 September ,  along with Saint Catherine of Siena ,  making them the first women to be awarded the distinction.
Teresa is revered as the Doctor of Prayer. The kernel of Teresa's mystical thought throughout all her writings is the ascent of the soul in four stages The Autobiography Chs.
The first, Devotion of Heart, is mental prayer of devout concentration or contemplation. It is the withdrawal of the soul from without and especially the devout observance of the passion of Christ and penitence Autobiography The second, Devotion of Peace, is where human will is surrendered to God. This is by virtue of a charismatic, supernatural state given by God, while the other faculties, such as memory, reason, and imagination, are not yet secure from worldly distraction. While a partial distraction is due to outer performances such as repetition of prayers and writing down spiritual things, yet the prevailing state is one of quietude Autobiography The third, Devotion of Union, is absorption in God.
It is not only a supernatural but an essentially ecstatic state.
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Here there is also an absorption of the reason in God, and only the memory and imagination are left to ramble. This state is characterized by a blissful peace, a sweet slumber of at least the higher soul faculties, or a conscious rapture in the love of God. The fourth, Devotion of Ecstasy, is where the consciousness of being in the body disappears.
Sense activity ceases; memory and imagination are also absorbed in God or intoxicated. Body and spirit are in the throes of a sweet, happy pain, alternating between a fearful fiery glow, a complete impotence and unconsciousness, and a spell of strangulation, sometimes by such an ecstatic flight that the body is literally lifted into space.
The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself by Teresa of Ávila
The subject awakens from this in tears; it is the climax of mystical experience, producing a trance. Indeed, she was said to have been observed levitating during Mass on more than one occasion. Teresa is one of the foremost writers on mental prayer, and her position among writers on mystical theology is unique. In all her writings on this subject, she deals with her personal experiences.
Her deep insight and analytical gifts helped her to explain them clearly. Her definition was used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Teresa's writings, produced for didactic purposes, stand among the most remarkable in the mystical literature of the Catholic Church. Mercer lays out her case in the journal Philosophical Studies ,  describing a number of striking similarities between Descartes's seminal work Meditations on First Philosophy and Teresa's Interior Castle.
Saint Teresa, who reported visions of Jesus and Mary , was a strong believer in the power of holy water , claiming to have used it with success to repel evil and temptations. Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing make you afraid. All things are passing. God alone never changes. Patience gains all things. If you have God you will want for nothing. The modern poem Christ has no body , though widely attributed to Teresa,   is not found in her writings.
Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours. It was thought that Teresa carried a portable statue of the Child Jesus wherever she went.
Contemporary history cannot confirm that the Prague image was what she was thought to have owned. Catholic pious beliefs follow the local legend, certainly already circulated by the early s. In some scenes, the other religious sisters take turn in changing its vestments. The devotion to the Child Jesus spread quickly in Spain , possibly due to her mystical visions. Teresa's promoters said Spain faced newer challenges, especially the threat of Protestantism and societal decline at home, thus needing a more contemporary patron who understood those issues and could guide the Spanish nation.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other saints with similar names, see Saint Teresa. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. People by era or century. Aspects of meditation Orationis Formas , Retrieved 13 October From Spain to Texas: A Cepeda y Ahumada Family Journey. The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus 3 ed.
Retrieved 28 April Escritos de Santa Teresa. Teresa of Jesus , London, Retrieved 17 September Let Nothing Disturb You: Ave Maria Press, Westminster John Knox Press. Retrieved 6 December Archived from the original on Saint Teresa of Avila. Composer on the Aisle. The End of Beauty.
The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself
Retrieved 30 January Du Boulay, Shirley Continuum International Publishing Group. The Book of My Life. This article was originally based on the text in the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Teresa of Jesus Teresa of Avila ". Teresa of Jesus ". Index Outline Lists of Catholics. Science Evolution Separation of church and state Relations Politics. Latin Church Eastern Catholic Churches: She acknowledges that she is accused of averring raptures, locutions, ecstasies and visions for attention, and one could read her claims to pursue humility and retreat as either sincere or a bit too insistent.
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It does seem that her visions conveniently tell her that God supports whatever course she wants to take but is opposed by the hierarchy or that she professes to doubt herself. I have read, reread, listened to, savored and thoroughly enjoyed this book. Teresa is of course herself, engaging, deeply and humbly insighful, charming and humorous in a way that trancends centuries of time, and cultural and linguistic differences. Mirabai Starr's translation is both fresh and in line with more conventional versions.
One observation, however, or wo Thank you Jane! One observation, however, or word of caution: I offer this rating and review as a Teresian-devotee. Those not so well versed in Saint Teresa's life story might do well to read this book in conjunction with a more conventional biography of her. Teresa isn't writing your usual run-of-the-mill autobiography; nor for that matter is she much interested in telling her life story, except as it relates to Him Whom she loves, God.
As such this is a spiritual story and tends to wander off into some of the world's greatest known discourses on Prayer ever written. It was some of these writings which led to her being declared the first woman 'Doctor of the Church', her official title being, the 'Doctor of Prayer'. View all 4 comments. May 07, Rochelle rated it really liked it Shelves: Teresa of Avila was a woman of very modern sensibilities.
There are the usual markers of the narrow-mindedness of the contemporary culture in which she lived: Yet for all of this, it retains its sense of the modern, due in no small part to Teresa's extraordinary skill in psychological analysis, knowledge of Doctrine as well as Dogma, Scripture and supporting texts such as St. Augustine's Confessions, and her use of Church politics and hierarchy to criticize the ecclesiastical structure and its ruling elite.
Despite her liberal sprinkle of self-deprecatory remarks, the reader will discover, I think, that St. Teresa of Avila was an ambitious nun, careful to hold herself apart from criticism by inviting it as a penance from God, while carefully courting the favor of powerful interests to lobby on behalf of projects or persons she identified as "true servants of God," eventually obtaining what she desired, enclosure in a stricter House, which she founded, and which was based upon poverty-the convent of Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Primitive Rule of St.
Readers may find her nested digressions excessive. Still, I think it was worth the effort to read about a woman who rose in prominence and influence at a time of great cultural and religious conservatism. For me this was a rather disconcerting read. As an atheist you can't entertain the idea that the continual visions and spiritual experiences Teresa reads are visitations from God, there doesn't seem to be a 'conventional' explanation for what's going on.
Teresa is lucid enough to write a clear and intelligent account of her experiences, her theology is complete and consistent and conveniently in-line with the dogma that was current at the time. So she is not raving mad, I entertained the idea t For me this was a rather disconcerting read. So she is not raving mad, I entertained the idea that she was deceiving herself, but in the end that didn't seem to fit either. So you become forced to accept a coherent madness that is more alarming than the other possibilities.
I was so curious about this undeniable account of visions and experiences in someone otherwise lucid I did a bit of research, the best fit I could find are accounts of temporal lobe epilepsy. Teresa is a very special woman. The story of her life as she wrote it is one of the great reads. To read this book is to make a friend for life. I like the one incident where she is tossed out of a coach into a muddy stream during a heavy rain and complained to God as she sat in the mud and water soaking wet. And God answered her and said this is how he treated his friends.
Teresa was not one to be overwhelmed even by God and responded. The personality, the unabashed passion, of this woman makes me hopeful. Such a brilliant jewel among the saints. I am always rediscovering Sta Teresa. She is the first of so many things in so many ways - first woman Doctor of the Church, first reformer of the Carmelite order, first woman to found an order of men, first "modern" i.
I was wary about this translation because the introduction is, well, froofy and kinda new-age in a way that peeves me. In my idea I am always rediscovering Sta Teresa. In my ideal world, the translator is NOT an "I" presence in the work who tells you about her swami boyfriend-slash-guru or peppers her sentences with "I love this so much.
But in all fairness, Mirabai Starr's translation work of Sta Teresa's autobiography does precisely this - and she even brings up the subject of letting go of her "her-ness" in the introduction. You just have to wade through a lot of inclusive jargon that borders on post-modern hippiedom, in order to get to the searing glory of Sta Teresa's words, which have clearly inspired and transfigured Starr's. I have to pace myself because the book is like molten gold or very fine champagne.
I don't want it to go to my head all at once. With a one-chapter-per-day limit, I am both eagerly devouring and luxuriantly savoring the timeless words. I was really looking forward to reading this book especially since she is my friend Ruth's favorite saint. However as delicious as her sequences were about her revelations, I just could not square up Teresa's vision of earth with mine.
In her view, the world is a place to eschew and to ultimately escape as full of temptation and vice. I don't actually disagree with the amount of sin in the world, however, I do think we were put here to make the place better. So, with that in mind, I have chosen I was really looking forward to reading this book especially since she is my friend Ruth's favorite saint. So, with that in mind, I have chosen to appreciate those parts of her story that I admire. The founding of her religious order is fascinating -- she did the whole thing under the radar utilizing her own family funds and investing the funds in her cousin's name so as not to draw the ire of her superiors.
Then, as if the situation was not difficult enough she saw in a rapture God telling her that the order should be poor. This was, to her, a tremendous relief. There is so much to be admired about Teresa even if I don't agree with her overall theology. I choose to revel in those parts of her history. This is Teresa's thoughts, feelings and over all relationship with God. At times I did find it difficult to understand her thought process, I took my time and did enjoy it.
While audio books are not my first choice I would like to hear this one. This is the book that St. Teresa Benedicta of the Holy Cross read in one sitting and which moved her to convert from atheism. This is of no interest whatsoever for a non-Catholic, let alone an atheist. I don't know what I was thinking when I downloaded it. I recommend this book, preferably a different edition than this one by Penguin, to those who are looking from a Christian vantage point. The mystic nun of 16th century Spain, you can think anything you want of her, but she ain't ordinary.
The spiritual experiences that "befell her is the central theme of the book" intro.
Her relationship with our Lord is honest and humble, sincere as any testimony that you'll ever hear. The way to approach this story is with respect, and also with humble I recommend this book, preferably a different edition than this one by Penguin, to those who are looking from a Christian vantage point. The way to approach this story is with respect, and also with humbleness, for that is the way she also approaches us. Teresa's life is a great testimony for all denominations of Christians.
Yes, she was a Catholic, and you will find the Catholic theology sprinkled everywhere; but most importantly she was real, I mean a real Christian. And if you read the text without prejudice -not like a Pharisee- you will find prove of this. Her relationship is with the Lord, not with images. For example, she commends herself to Saint Joseph, but she always has it clear that it is the Lord Jesus who gives the favors: I have clearly seen that it is by this door we must enter, if we wish His sovereign Majesty to reveal great secrets to us.
He will show us the way. If we consider his life, that is our best example. The Lord gives her the grace of talking with angels; she hears: And so it happens, "For I have never since been able to form a firm friendship, or to take any comfort in, or to feel particular love for, any people except those whom I believe to love God and to be trying to serve Him.
This has been something beyond my control; and it has made no difference if the people have been relatives or friends. Check this one out, as example of good and sensible advice: If it diverges in the least from that, I think I should feel incomparably more certain that it came from the devil". Another fun note, this one about her tribulations with her confessors: For several years they were such a trial to me that now I am astonished that I was able to bear it. A more curious note: They fly from the cross also, but return again. So there must be a great virtue in holy water.
The book is full of commentary of this kind. They all portray the love of this meek woman for the Lord Jesus. This book is so needed today in a world that has gone to the other extreme: Leave your pride behind before reading. Santa Teresa, a 16th century Catholic nun, tells of her spiritual progress as she comes to union with God. This Catholic classic has become increasingly popular throughout the past years. Writing at the command of her Confessors male priests who want to review and judge her spiritual experiences , she expresses herself humbly, self-effacingly, and even apologetically.
Like most Spanish women of that e Santa Teresa, a 16th century Catholic nun, tells of her spiritual progress as she comes to union with God. Like most Spanish women of that era, she was unschooled. This makes her frank approach all the more charming. Her writing style is of the period, so I had to approach the book in small segments at first to fully appreciate it. Society in 14th century Spain gave women little power. Others are fair and evaluate her experiences without regard to her gender.
She is inclined to believe all of her confessors and not judge them. The heart of this book is Sta. She describes the difference between rapture and union with God. Some say that these descriptions are erotic. In that way, Sta. Teresa seems to describe universal spiritual truths through her experiences. Teresa also tells of how she reformed the Carmelite nuns to observe greater austerities. In the time of the Crusades, when many people died because of their beliefs, Sta. Teresa proposed the reform against the wishes of most nuns in her convent. She stuck to her beliefs even when authorities said to desist, and describes how God told her to persist.
After great danger, she eventually won favor and was able to found the Discalced Carmelites. Teresa has inspired Catholics, women, and spiritual seekers of all kinds with her writing. This is not a fast or easy read, but it is profound and enlightening.
Feb 01, Bless Praise rated it it was amazing. This is a great mystical journey of a great saint towards Christ. It inspired me to focus my life on prayer and meditation like St. Also the various mystical experiences she addresses are similar to those who have delved in prayer life and there are people even today who see Jesus and hears his voice whom i personally know. At times he speaks to me through the bible and what ever he has told me has happened in my life. She describes and warns about the mistakes that she made in her This is a great mystical journey of a great saint towards Christ.
She describes and warns about the mistakes that she made in her divine prayer life and how to protect oneself from trickery of devil. God wishes to be in union with every human being and she tells as that it is our sole motive in this earthly life to achieve it. All i can tell the readers is that without prayer life in practice along with the reading of this book you wont be able to understand the divine revelations she addresses in this book.
When i struggled in certain chapters i prayed for hours to understand what she is trying to emphasise and i experienced love of God engulfing my soul just as she stated. So practice prayer along with reading this book, otherwise you might consider it as boring or madness since you never tried it and experienced it yourself.
Jun 28, Abby added it. I read some decently difficult stuff, and this took work to get through. Not for lack of interest--I think it has more to do with Teresa's famously incoherent writing style. It seems many people dislike Teresa's autobiography for her continual self-abasement. My policy when I read is generally to take the writer at her word, but it's difficult when it's couched as a letter to her superiors. And yet she seems to have a wider audience in mind, too. The further I read, the more I admired this sort o I read some decently difficult stuff, and this took work to get through.
The further I read, the more I admired this sort of duplicity--that it could be just a personal account of spiritual experiences for a confessor, but could just as easily be She left it up to time to decide, and even within her lifetime the work became wildly popular. Nobody who thinks so little of her own judgement would have the gall to be a reformer.
Teresa is sincere, but she takes her own authority seriously because no one else can know exactly what she experienced. This is the marvelous thing about memoir. Aug 29, Joshua Nomen-Mutatio rated it it was ok Shelves: When reading this in liberal arts school and participating in discussion based class sessions I drew great knee jerk, PC-er than thou, dogmatic insistence at tolerating all things with word 'religious' or 'spiritual' attached to them besides red state Christian fundamentalism type of reactions by calling Ms.
Teresa a junky looking for her God fix. I stand by this assessment today. I found her writing to be an interesting read nonetheless but also felt sorry for her and her rejection of the pre When reading this in liberal arts school and participating in discussion based class sessions I drew great knee jerk, PC-er than thou, dogmatic insistence at tolerating all things with word 'religious' or 'spiritual' attached to them besides red state Christian fundamentalism type of reactions by calling Ms.
I found her writing to be an interesting read nonetheless but also felt sorry for her and her rejection of the present world in favor of 18 hours of praying per day focusing only on thoughts of the hereafter. She sought the rush of endorphins and called it spiritual ecstacy. She spoke of God as her lover. She expressed a vicious hatred for the present world with all of its imperfections.