St. Teresa of Avila

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila.
It was just 3 weeks ago, when I was in Spain for the beatification of Blessed Alvaro Portillo, we went to visit Avila. It was a joy to stand in the Convent where Teresa had begun, and it made me think of so many of her beautiful writings.
At least once in everyone’s life the writings of St. Teresa should be read. She is full of a lot of very practical wisdom. Let us today, read a bit from her writings on the interior life. (p. 222 V2)
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She says, there are ways that people in the world can have a false peace inside of themselves. They seem to be tranquil, as they go through their life even in serious sin and caught up in vices. This is because their conscience feels no remorse about anything. This inner peace, is a sign that they are friends with the devil.
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While they live, the devil does not wage war against them, because he has already caught them. but I hope that such evil will not be found among you, she says. When a person begins to grow lazy and lax in the small things, in the little things of God, without any remorse of conscience, this is very bad. If we are lazy about our prayers, or cut corners in helping others, or stop being concerned about minor sins, then the devil can draw us into a thousand other evils. There must be war in this life; it is not possible for us to be lax, we must ever be attentive to our interior life.
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There is always the temptation to avoid God’s will in the little details of life, yet it is these temptations, it is in this war, by which we can please God. I don’t say that this war must be going on always, but know that this war is a wonderful favor from the Lord, for it is by means of these struggles in daily life that we are able to advance in holiness. If we love God and fear ever displeasing him, we will gain very much. But if I see a person who is always quiet, without any war – I always worry for them.
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While it is true that those who have fought the war a long time, and are quite advanced, often experience a great peace – we are not there yet. So let us always fear, if when we commit some fault, it does not bother us.
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So says St. Teresa, about the inner struggle for holiness. It is by the struggle itself, the ‘war’ as she calls it, by which we really grow and become closer to God.

 

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