Monday, November 25, 2013

The Letters of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

Note:  In 2013/2014 the entire Carmelite Order is studying the letters of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) in preparation for her centenary in 2015.  Here is a letter to one of the nuns at the Carmel of St. Joseph at Avila. Teresa always begins her letters by addressing Jesus. The letter was written in 1582.

St. Joseph Monastery at Avila

JESUS. The Grace of the Holy Spirit be ever with you, my daughter.

Your letter gave me great pleasure, and I am glad to hear that mine produced the same effect: this ought to comfort us both exceedingly, since we cannot live together.

With regard to the aridities you speak of, it seems to me that our Lord deals with you as if he considered you one of the strong, since he wishes to try you, in order to see how much you love him, and whether your love is the same in aridities, as when you abound in consolations. Consider, then, those aridities as very great favors from our Lord. Do not allow them to trouble you, for perfection does not consist in having delights, but in possessing virtue. And besides, your devotion will return when you least expect it.

Respecting what you say of the sister, endeavor to drive away such a thought from her mind, that so she may think no more about it. Do not suppose that when such a thought comes into the mind, it is always sinful; even should it be more evil than what you mention, still it would be nothing (unless wilfully indulged in.) I wish she had the same aridities that you have, because I doubt if she knows what she does, and we may desire such trials for her greater good. When any bad thought presents itself, make the sign of the cross, recite the "Our Father," or strike your breast, and try to turn your thoughts to something else: the more you resist, the more merit you will have.

I should have sent an answer to Isabel de San Pablo had I time to write. Giver her my kind regards, for she knows well you ought to be the most beloved. Don Francisco is well, and leads the life of an angel; he and all his household communicated yesterday. To-morrow we leave for Valladolid, and from there he will write to you: I have not as yet given him any information about the bearer of this letter. May God preserve you, my daughter, and make you a great saint: this is what I pray for. Amen. Remember me to all the sisters.

This is the Feast of St. Albert.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

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