Teresa of Avila (15151582) was a nun who came forward in the tumultuous years of the Spanish Inquisition to found a new order of nuns, the Carmelites. The new order had stricter rules about poverty and seclusion than other Spanish orders of that time. Teresa was a contemplative who was famous for reaching the highest levels of union with God, but she was also very active in setting up the new order, traveling in horrendous conditions to often dilapidated houses where nuns were setting up convents and working along side the nuns to open new houses.Teresa is a very popular religious teacher for a few reasons. These include her self-effacing approach to relating her own experience, her down-to-earth examples, and her pithy sense of humor. She has been described as an able chess-player, an accomplished horsewoman, and a fine dancer in the years before she entered the convent. Though she lived through one of the most difficult periods of history for a religious woman in the Catholic Church, had recurring bouts of bad health, and met with great opposition in her work, she rarely seemed to lose her sense of humor. Stories abound about her humorous responses to experiences, such as the story that when the cart she was riding in lost a wheel during a storm she said to God, If this is how you treat your friends, it's no wonder you have so few. In another story, some objected to her eating partridge, and said, "What would people think?" She replied, "Let them think what they please.
[...] They say that in the case of those who are advancing, these corporeal images, even when referring to the humanity of Christ, are an obstacle or impediment to the most perfect contemplation. In support of this theory they quote what the Lord said to the Apostles about the coming of the Holy Spirit—I mean at the time of His Ascension. They think that since this work is entirely spiritual, any corporeal thing can hinder or impede it, that one should try to think of God in a general way, that He is everywhere, and that we are immersed in Him. [...]
[...] and Otilio Rodriguez O.C.D., trans. New York: One Spirit Teresa of Avila. Interior Castle. Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodrigues, O.C.D. trans. Mahway, N.J.: Paulist Press The Teresian Carmel, St. Teresa of Avila, retrieved April from http://www.karmel.at/eng/teresa.htm Zugar, Susan. A theology of grace in Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, retrieved April from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3885/is_200310/ai_n9323307/ Susan Zugar, A theology of grace in Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, retrieved April from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3885/is_200310/ai_n9323307/ The Teresian Carmel, St. Teresa of Avila, retrieved April from http://www.karmel.at/eng/teresa.htm Victor Shepherd, [...]
[...] Conclusion For Teresa of Avila the journey of the soul inside to union with God begins with a very personal relationship with the human form of Jesus, who suffered trials as we do and who sacrificed his life for us. Recognizing that sacrifice and loving him as a person, the seeker is able to surrender his or her will to God and to accept the will of God instead. This enables the seeker to be taken more deeply into the center of the soul that could ever be possible through human effort. [...]
[...] Teresa admits the apparent foolishness of this, but assumes she will be understood nonetheless: It seems I'm saying something foolish. For if this castle is the soul, clearly one doesn't have to enter it since it is within oneself. How foolish it would seem were we to tell someone to enter a room he is already in. But you must understand that there is a great difference in the ways one may be inside the castle . You have already heard in some books on prayer that the soul is advised to enter within itself; well that's the very thing I'm advising. As Teresa points out in her writing, many of her contemporaries, particularly her male contemporaries, believed that it was dangerous to focus on the physical aspect of the human Jesus, as opposed to the spiritual nature of the Christ aspect. [...]
[...] Just make sure those sins of yours don't turn into bad habits," and "From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, good Lord deliver Teresa was named the first female doctor of the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Paul VI on September but her relationship with the Church in her own time was less easy. Teresa wrote the story of her Life, under direction from her superior, which she completed in 1565. This work, like some of her subsequent writings was taken and held by the Inquisition under suspicion of heresy. [...]
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