“We need no wings to go in search of God, but have only to find a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us.” These words were written by St. Teresa of Avila in her book The Way of Perfection.
On the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila's birth, Pope Francis praised the Spanish mystic and reformer for her witness of self-gift to God, as well as her particular relevance during this Year of Consecrated Life.
Today, we commemorate the feast day of one of the most remarkable women to have ever walked the earth, a Spanish contemplative nun who lived and died well over four centuries ago but whose words and deeds continue to impact us, especially those who have chosen to heed the silent call of Carmel.
To undertake (prayer [JH]) is a matter of life and death for all Christians. And no one, however lost he may be, should set it aside if God has awakened him to so great a good.
Camino de perfección 16:3
The continuation of the book is therefore entirely dedicated to prayer.
The Spanish Inquisition had banned many spiritual books for the general public, and especially for women, and so the Sisters of the newly founded Convent of Saint Joseph in Avila asked St Teresa whether she
|As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven.
All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."