Thursday, February 13, 2014


St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) on Prayer:

As regards the position of the eyes, common sense should furnish the answer. We definitely will not be able to sustain a conversation with Christ while we are gazing at passersby, or studying the interior of some church. If we make our meditation in a place free from noise or commotion, it might be possible to keep our eyes open and continue our conversation with Christ. But if one is in the midst of a variety of distractions, the eyes, must, of necessity, remain closed.

 As a general rule, St. Teresa encourages us to keep our eyes constantly shut during prayer. She notes that this will be extremely difficult at first; but after a short while, one will find himself unable to meditate unless his eyes are closed.

Rohrbach, Thomas. Conversation with Christ, Illinois: Tan Books, 1980

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Letters of St. Teresa of Jesus

No. LIX.
To Mother Maria de San Joseph, Prioress of Seville.

JESUS. The Holy Spirit be with your Reverence.

My mother,–It seems our Lord does not wish me to remain long without afflictions, for you must know that He has been pleased to call to Himself His good friend and servant, Lorenzo de Cepeda. He was seized so violently with the "bloody-flux," that he died under it in less than six hours. Two days before, he had received the Most Blessed Sacrament. He died in his perfect senses, recommending himself very devoutly to our Lord. I hope in the goodness of God that he is now in the enjoyment of eternal glory, for he always lived in such a way as to have no other care but to serve Him: everything else soon tired him; and on this account he retired to his country house, which was about a league from Avila, in order to avoid the noise and gaiety of the world.

His prayer was continual, for he always kept himself in the presence of God: hence, His Majesty filled his soul with so many graces and favours, that sometimes I have been quite astonished at them. He was very fond of doing penance: he even did more than ever I wished him to do. He gave me an account of all his interior life, and it was wonderful to see the attention he paid to whatever I said: this I think arose from the great affection which he had for me. I now return such affection by rejoicing that he has left this miserable life, and is now in a place of repose. This I say not for the sake of saying it: but I assure you, when I think of his happiness I feel great joy.1 I feel much for his children: but I hope God will help them, through the prayers of their father.
I have given your Reverence this exact account, because I know you will be grieved to hear of his death, and this account may help to console you all; for he certainly deserves to be regretted by the sisters. It was wonderful to see what he felt, on hearing of your afflictions, for great was the love he had for your house. Now is the time to repay that love, by commending his soul to God: on condition, however, that if he should not stand in need of your prayers (as I think he does not, considering the life he led), they may be applied to those souls who have greater need of them, in order that they may find some relief from them.

I must tell you that a short time before his death, he wrote to me at St. Joseph's convent in Segovia, where I now am, and which is eleven leagues from Avila. In that letter he said many things with regard to the shortness of life, which quite astonished me. And then, my daughter, it is certain everything passes quickly away, we ought continually to be thinking how to die a good death, rather than of the means how we are to live. Since I must still remain in this world, God grant it may be that I may serve Him in something. I am four years older than my brother was, and yet God has been pleased I should survive him. I have now quite recovered from my late illness, though I still have my usual indispositions, especially a pain in my head.

Tell my father Rodrigo Alvarez that his letter just came when I wanted it, for it speaks of the great advantage of afflictions. Tell him also that I think God works miracles through him, even during his life: what then will He not do after his death?

I have just heard that the Moors of Seville are conspiring together to get possession of the city. What a fine opportunity you will all have of becoming martyrs! Inquire if the report be true, and order the mother sub-prioress to send me an account of every particular. I was very pleased to hear you were in good health, as I was grieved before to hear you were ill. For the love of God, take great care of yourself. I have been told a good remedy for your disease, viz., dog-roses beaten to powder, when they are dry, and about half an ounce should be taken every morning. But ask the doctor about it. Let me beg of you not to be so long again, without writing to me.

Remember me very kindly to all the sisters, and to San Francisco. Mother-prioress and all the community here send their regards. It must seem to you very delightful to be among standards and the tumults of war,2 if you only knew how to profit and to draw spiritual reflections from all the strange things you must see in that place. It is very necessary, however, for you to be on your guard, in order not to be distracted. I am very anxious you should all become saints.

What should you say if the Foundation of Portugal were made? Don Teutonio, archbishop of Evora, informs me that the town is not more than forty leagues from this place. I should feel great comfort were the foundation commenced. Since God spares my life, I desire to do something for His honour and glory; and as I have not long to live, I will not spend my time so idly as I have hitherto done in past years during which I suffered so much in my interior. As to other things, what I have done is not worth speaking about. Beg of our Lord to give me strength, that I may employ my time in doing something for His glory.

I have already told you, you may show this letter to Father Gregorio: I hope he will consider it as addressed to himself, for I certainly do love him in our Lord, and I have a great desire to see him. My brother died on the Sunday after the Feast of St. John. May His Majesty watch over you, and make you what I desire you to be.

Your Reverence's Servant,
July 4th, 1579.
1 It seems as if the Saint had a revelation of his happiness.2 The Saint alludes to the rumoured insurrection of the Moors.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds