1618) Wisdom from St. Teresa of Avila

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By (or attributed to) St. Teresa of Avila, Spanish nun and reformer  (1515-1582):


Never compare one person with another.  Comparisons are odious.

God has been very good to me, so I never dwell upon anything wrong which a person has done, so as to remember it afterwards. If I do remember it, I always try to see some other virtue in that person.

Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and there is only one God, who is eternal.  If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing…  Remember that everything soon comes to an end, and take courage.  Think of how our gain is eternal.

Christ has no body now but yours; no hands and no feet on earth but yours.  Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.  Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.  Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.  Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.  Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Be gentle to all and stern with yourself.

Truth suffers, but never dies.

What a great favor God does to those He places in the company of good people.

Our body has this defect:  the more it is provided care and comforts, the more needs and desires it finds.

There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.

Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you.  All things are passing away.  God does not change.  Patience achieves everything.  Whoever has God lacks nothing.  God alone suffices.


Matthew 22:37-39  —  Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Mark 6:31-34  —  Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he (Jesus) said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.  But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.  When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.  So he began teaching them many things.



How is it, my God, that you have given me this hectic busy life so that I have so little time to enjoy your presence?  Throughout the day people are waiting to speak with me, and even at meals I have to continue talking to people about their needs and problems.  During sleep itself I am still thinking and dreaming about the multitude of concerns that surround me.  I do all this not for my own sake, but for yours.  To me my present pattern of life is a torment; I only hope that for you it is truly a sacrifice of love.  I know that you are constantly beside me, yet I am usually so busy that I ignore you.  If you want me to remain so busy, please force me to think about and love you even in the midst of such hectic activity.  If you do not want me so busy, please release me from it, showing how others can take over my responsibilities.  Amen.

–St. Teresa of Avila