St. Teresa of Ávila

St. Teresa of ÁvilaO Lord! all our ills come from not fixing our eyes on Thee: if we looked at nothing else but where we are going we should soon arrive, but we fall a thousand times and stumble and go astray because we do not keep our gaze bent on Him Who is the “Way”. It looks so new to us that one would suppose no body had walked in it before. Indeed, this is a grievous pity: one would think we were not Christians at all, nor had ever read the Passion in our lives. Lord have mercy on us — we are touched in a point of honour! If people tell us not to notice it, we at once call them unchristian — I laugh, or I grieve sometimes, at what I hear of such foibles in the world, as I do at my own foibles in religion. To be undervalued in the least is unbearable to us: we at once cry out: “We are not angels, nor saints!” That is true enough. God deliver us, my daughters, when we fall into any imperfection, from saying: ‘We are not angels! We are not saints!’ Although we are not, still, it is the greatest help to believe that, with the aid of God, we can be if we strive our hardest. There is no fear of His failing to do His part if we do ours.

Since we came here for nothing else, let us put our hands to the plough, as they say. Let there be nothing which we know would further our Lord’s service that we dare not undertake with the assistance of His grace. I wish such audacity to exist in this house — it always increases humility. Ever nourish this holy daring, for God aids the valiant and is no respecter of persons.” Both to you and me He will give the help needed.

The Way to Perfection
St. Teresa of Ávila
16th century


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