This work is the autobiography of Saint Teresa followed by the Foundations she made in her life. THE fascination and influence of a great personality stretch throughout time with a message for every age. Teresa of Jesus, truest and soundest of mystics, rich in subjective experiences, yet richer in self-effacement before the glory of the most High God; most independent yet most submissive of women, untiring in labours, exalted in prayer-the message of such a one to our times is ...
This work is the autobiography of Saint Teresa followed by the Foundations she made in her life.
THE fascination and influence of a great personality stretch throughout time with a message for every age. Teresa of Jesus, truest and soundest of mystics, rich in subjective experiences, yet richer in self-effacement before the glory of the most High God; most independent yet most submissive of women, untiring in labours, exalted in prayer-the message of such a one to our times is too obvious to need comment. A reprint of her works needs no explanation. The test of three and a half centuries of trial has been applied to her books and has proved them worthy of the life-long reading of all spiritually-minded Christians. Her sympathetic and unconventional style is a crystal medium of communication between herself and any human soul. Given a reader with any degree of devout receptivity and St. Teresa's writings are quickly established among his master books, to be used occasionally all through life, in many cases to be used unceasingly. They may, therefore, be read by persons in all states and conditions of life in Holy Church, who are in the least degree desirous of Christian perfection. Nor is this privilege the monopoly only of the more perfect Christians; a soul but newly converted from the most degrading vice, if he be only intensely converted, can get some profit and very practical profit from every page of these messages of a fellow mortal raised to the highest sanctity. Her literary abilities make this reading a delight. Her words written as they were in the golden age of her native tongue are ranked among the best Castilian classics. The style is flowing yet terse. There is not the faintest suspicion of verbiage, yet she possesses the diffusivenesses of description so necessary in discoursing of topics where the least shade of meaning ministers to the essential needs of integral information.
In so typical a contemplative one might expect to find a retlnng timorous soul: Teresa was retiring, indeed, and craved passionately to be alone with God. But in reading her "Life" and "Letters," and especially her "Book of Foundations," we become acquainted with an independent even an aggressive temperament, full of initiative, venturesome, resourceful, even bold to the verge of audacity-all this exhibited not simply as a result of the supernatural gift of 'fortitude; but, in a certain degree, of her native and instinctive qualities.
Some little girls forecast their future vocation by playing nun; she did so by actually striving to become a martyr for Christ. Her's was naturally the reverse of a yielding, pliant nature. During her early years, both at home and at boarding school, though a sweet-tempered guileless child, she was self-willed. When her father refused his consent to her entering the convent, she left her home and joined the Sisters against his will. From the beginning to the end of her life she exhibited great self-poise of character. Even after God had terribly chastened her by interior anguish and bodily illness extending over many years, and had begun to illumine her soul with a miraculous guidance, He yet did not hinder her from thinking for herself. Though, as we shall see, He granted her heroic grace of obedience to superiors. After he had elevated her motives and had bestowed on her the rarest gifts of infused prayer, she still retained the original native force; and she responded to His inspiration for introducing the Carmelite reform by a strikingly fearless plan of action.