Prayers of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

 

Give me the grace to recollect myself in the little heaven of my soul where You have established Your dwelling. There You let me find You, there I feel that You are closer to me than anywhere else, and there You prepare my soul quickly to enter into intimacy with You…Help me O Lord, to withdraw my senses from exterior things, make them docile to the commands of my will, so that when I want to converse with You, they will retire at once, like bees shutting themselves up in the hive in order to make honey:

O Lord of heaven and earth! Is it possible, while we are still in this mortal life, for us to enjoy You with such special friendship? Oh! The joys which You bestow on souls who give themselves entirely to You! …For the love of the Lord, my soul, wake out of this sleep and remember that God does not keep you waiting until the next life before rewarding you for your love of Him. Your recompense begins in this life.

They that really love You, my Good, walk safely on a broad and royal road.  They are far from the precipice. Hardly have they begun to stumble when You, Lord, give them Your hand.  One fall is not sufficient for a person to be lost nor are many, if they love You and not the things of the world.  They journey in the valley of humility.  I cannot understand what it is that makes people afraid of setting out on the road of perfection.  May the Lord, because of who He is, give us understanding of how wretched is the security that lies in such manifest dangers as following the crowd and how true security lies in striving to make progress on the road of God.  Let them turn their eyes to Him and not fear the setting of this Sun of Justice, nor, if we don’t first abandon Him, will He allow us to walk at night and go astray.

O Lord, who could describe how great a gain it is to cast ourselves into Your arms and make an agreement with You; You take care of my affairs and I of Yours….For what am I Lord without You?  ...What more do I want in this life than to be so near you that there is no division between You and me. O Lord of my life, draw me to Yourself, but do it in such a way that my will may ever remain so united to You that it shall be unable to leave You.

O Lord, how true that all harm comes to us from not keeping our eyes fixed on You; if we were to look at nothing else but the way, we would soon arrive.  But we meet with a thousand falls and obstacles and lose the way because we don’t keep our eyes–as I say–on the true way.  It seems so new to us that you would think we had never walked on it.  It’s certainly something to excite pity, that which sometimes happens.

Teach me, my God, to suffer in peace the afflictions which You send me that my soul may emerge form the crucible like gold, both brighter and puerer, to find You within me.

My God, I want nothing but Your will, submission to it has such power over me that my soul desires neither death nor life. But then, if it be Your will, I desire to live, in order to serve You better. If, through my intercession, I could do anything to make a single soul love and praise You more, and that only for a short time, it would seem to me of greater moment than my being in glory.

…Grant, that our love may never be small, but always most ardent, like a great fire that cannot but shine brightly.

No, my God, love does not consist in shedding tears, in enjoying consolations and that tenderness which for the most part we desire and in which we find comfort, but in serving You with righteousness, fortitude of soul, and humility. The other seems to me to be receiving rather than giving anything…

O Lord,  grant that my love be not the fruit of my imagination but be proved by works. What can I do for You who died for us and created us and gave us being, without counting myself fortunate in being able to repay You something of what I owe you? Well do I know, my Lord, of how little I am capable. But I shall be able to do all things provided You do not withdraw form me.

O my soul: Consider the great delight and great love the Father has in knowing His Son and the Son in knowing His Father; and the enkindling love with which the Holy Spirit is joined with them; and how no one of them is able to be separate from this love and knowledge, because they are one.  These sovereign Persons know each other, love each other, and delight in each other.  Well, what need is there for my love?  Why do You want it, my God, or what do You gain?  Oh, may You be blessed!  May You be blessed, my God, forever!  May all things praise You, Lord, without end, since in You there can be no end.

Be joyful, my soul, for there is someone who loves your God as He deserves.  Be joyful, for there is someone who knows His goodness and value.  Give thanks to Him, for He has given us on earth someone who thus knows Him, as His only Son.  Under this protection you can approach and petition Him, for then His Majesty takes delight in you.  Don’t let any earthly thing be enough to separate you from your delight, and rejoice in the grandeur of God; in how He deserves to be loved and praised; that He helps you to play some small role in the blessing of His name; and that you can truthfully say: My soul magnifies and praises the Lord.