Saint Teresa of Jesus…

…judges Francis’ idea on Grace

  • Graces are in no way secret but evident; they make quite an uproar

You will ask me how you can tell if you really have these two very, very great virtues. You are right to ask, for we can never be quite definite and certain about it; if we were sure that we possessed love, we should be sure that we were in a state of grace. But you know, sisters, there are some indications which are in no way secret but so evident that even a blind man, as people say, could see them. You may not wish to heed them, but they cry so loud for notice that they make quite an uproar, for there are not many who possess them to the point of perfection and thus they are the more readily noticed. (Saint Teresa of Avila. Way of perfection, Ch. 40, no.2)

  • The Three Divine Persons sometimes act in a soul in grace in a manner that is ‘seen’ by that soul

On the Tuesday following Ascension Thursday, having remained a while in prayer after Communion, I was grieved because I was so distracted I couldn’t concentrate. So I complained to the Lord about our miserable nature. My soul began to enkindle, and it seemed to me I knew clearly in an intellectual vision that the entire Blessed Trinity was present. In this state my soul understood by a certain kind of representation (like an illustration of the truth), in such a way that my dullness could perceive, how God is three and one. And so it seemed that all three Persons were represented distinctly in my soul and that they spoke to me, telling me that from this day I would see an improvement in myself in respect to three things and that each one of these Persons would grant me a favor: one, the favor of charity; another, the favor of being able to suffer gladly; and the third, the favor of experiencing this charity with an enkindling in the soul. I understood those words the Lord spoke, that the three divine Persons would be with the soul in grace; for I saw them within myself in the way described. (Saint Teresa of Avila. Spiritual Testimonies, ch. 13, no.1 – Avila, St. Joseph, May 29, 1571)

  • True security comes from the testimony of a good conscience

With regard to the fear about whether or not I was in the state of grace, He told me: ‘Daughter, light is very different from darkness. I am faithful. Nobody will be lost unknowingly. They who find security in spiritual favors will be deceived. True security is the testimony of a good conscience. But people should not think that through their own efforts they can be in light or that they can do anything to prevent the night, because these states depend upon my grace. The best help for holding on to the light is to understand that you can do nothing and that it comes from me. For even though you may be in light, at the moment I withdraw, the night will come. This is true humility: to know what you can do and what I can do. (Saint Teresa of Avila. Spiritual Testimonies, ch. 24 – Avila, Convent of the Incarnation, 1572)

…judges Francis’ idea that sin forms a part of religious life

  • Great evils exist in the Church because the religious life is not properly observed

Oh, what terrible harm, what terrible harm is wrought in religious (I am referring now as much to men as to women) when the religious life is not properly observed; when of the two paths that can be followed in a religious house – one leading to virtue and the observance of the Rule and the other leading away from the Rule – both are frequented almost equally! No, I am wrong: they are not frequented equally, for our sins cause the more imperfect road to be more commonly taken; being the broader, it is the more generally favoured. The way of true religion is frequented so little that, if the friar and the nun are to begin to follow their vocation truly, they need to be more afraid of the religious in their own house than of all the devils. They must observe greater caution and dissimulation when speaking of the friendship which they would have with God than in speaking of other friendships and affections promoted in religious houses by the devil. I cannot think why we should be astonished at all the evils which exist in the Church, when those who ought to be models on which all may pattern their virtues are annulling the work wrought in the religious Orders by the spirit of the saints of old. (Saint Teresa of Avila. Autobiography, Ch. 7)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • It is absurd to suppose that God favors with his friendship those who are strangers to suffering

Know that the souls dearest to my Father are those who are afflicted with the greatest sufferings. […] It is absurd to suppose that my Father favors with his friendship those who are strangers to suffering. (Saint Teresa of Avila quoted by Saint Alphonsus Liguori. The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, Ch. 1, pg. 46, 48)

…judges Francis’ idea that Christians should always humble themselves

  • To be humble is to walk in truth

I was wondering once why Our Lord so dearly loved this virtue of humility; and all of a sudden — without, I believe, my having previously thought of it — the following reason came into my mind: that it is because God is Sovereign Truth and to be humble is to walk in truth, for it is absolutely true to say that we have no good thing in ourselves, but only misery and nothingness; and anyone who fails to understand this is walking in falsehood. He who best understands it is most pleasing to Sovereign Truth because he is walking in truth. (Saint Teresa of Avila. Interior Castle, sixth mansions, Ch. 10)

…judges Francis’ idea on our sins drawing us close to Jesus

  • Jesus Christ leaves Himself inclusively in the hands of His enemy

Once, when I was going to Communion, I saw with the eyes of the soul, more distinctly than with those of the body, two devils of most hideous shape; their horns seemed to encompass the throat of the poor priest; and I beheld my Lord, in that great majesty of which I have spoken, held in the hands of that priest, in the Host he was about to give me. It was plain that those hands were those of a sinner, and I felt that the soul of that priest was in mortal sin. What must it be, O my Lord, to look upon Thy beauty amid shapes so hideous! Our Lord Himself told me to pray for that priest; that He had allowed this in order that I might understand the power of the words of consecration, and how God failed not to be present, however wicked the priest might be who uttered them; and that I might see His great goodness in that He left Himself in the very hands of His enemy, for my good and for the good of all. I understood clearly how the priests are under greater obligations to be holy than other persons; and what a horrible thing it is to receive this most Holy Sacrament unworthily, and how great is the devil’s dominion over a soul in mortal sin. (Saint Teresa of Jesus. The Life of Saint Teresa of Jesus, ch. 38, no. 29-30)

…judges Francis’ idea on the obedience of a Religious

  • Whoever fails in obedience will be neither good in contemplative nor in active life

If anyone is under a vow of obedience and goes astray through not taking the greatest care to observe these vows with the highest degree of perfection, I do not know why she is in the convent. I can assure her, in any case, that, for so long as she fails in this respect, she will never succeed in leading the contemplative life, or even in leading a good active life: of that I am very very certain. (Saint Teresa of Jesus. The Way of Perfection, Ch. 18, no. 6)

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