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Although she designed her book for her fellow sisters of the Carmelite Order, St. Teresa's Way of Perfection remains accessible to modern readers. In it, she sets out to lead others along the way to union with God through prayer, silence, and meditation. A few of the book's 42 chapters could be called a collection of rules, but the majority of the book more rightly fits th Although she designed her book for her fellow sisters of the Carmelite Order, St. Teresa's Way of Perfection remains accessible to modern readers. In it, she sets out to lead others along the way to union with God through prayer, silence, and meditation. A few of the book's 42 chapters could be called a collection of rules, but the majority of the book more rightly fits the description of advice. As she suggests ways for readers to seek self-perfection, her words are practical, heartfelt, and drawn from personal e xperience. Not only this, but because of the book's less formal and less poetically obscure nature, it offers up a more direct articulation of St. Teresa's theological views than do her autobiography or her most famous work, The Interior Castle.


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Although she designed her book for her fellow sisters of the Carmelite Order, St. Teresa's Way of Perfection remains accessible to modern readers. In it, she sets out to lead others along the way to union with God through prayer, silence, and meditation. A few of the book's 42 chapters could be called a collection of rules, but the majority of the book more rightly fits th Although she designed her book for her fellow sisters of the Carmelite Order, St. Teresa's Way of Perfection remains accessible to modern readers. In it, she sets out to lead others along the way to union with God through prayer, silence, and meditation. A few of the book's 42 chapters could be called a collection of rules, but the majority of the book more rightly fits the description of advice. As she suggests ways for readers to seek self-perfection, her words are practical, heartfelt, and drawn from personal e xperience. Not only this, but because of the book's less formal and less poetically obscure nature, it offers up a more direct articulation of St. Teresa's theological views than do her autobiography or her most famous work, The Interior Castle.

30 review for Way of perfection (ebook optimized for digital readers)

  1. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    There’s a reason I keep coming back to this book. Prayer – like anything you want to learn to do well – requires training, practice, time, diligence, patience, and discipline. Most people don’t understand this, or they don’t accept it. They recognize these things are necessary for sports or hobbies, but prayer? Or a relationship with God? You just pray when you need to, however you want. Teresa’s advice in Way of Perfection, though written 500 years ago to a group pf cloistered nuns, is as appli There’s a reason I keep coming back to this book. Prayer – like anything you want to learn to do well – requires training, practice, time, diligence, patience, and discipline. Most people don’t understand this, or they don’t accept it. They recognize these things are necessary for sports or hobbies, but prayer? Or a relationship with God? You just pray when you need to, however you want. Teresa’s advice in Way of Perfection, though written 500 years ago to a group pf cloistered nuns, is as applicable and relevant today to people living in the world as it was then, so long as one can get past some of the terminological obstacles. Her methods are simple, but effective. Place yourself in the presence of ‘the Master Himself’. Where can you find a better companion? Let Him be your teacher, do everything to please Him and realize how close He always is to you. Remain with Him, conscious of His presence and grateful for such a good friend. ‘As you grow accustomed to having Him present at your side, and He sees that you do so with love and that you go about striving to please Him, you will not be able – as they say – to get away from Him; He will never fail you; He will help you in all your trials; you will find Him everywhere. Do you think it's some small matter to have a friend like this at your side? O Sisters, those of you who cannot engage in much discursive reflection with the intellect or keep your mind from distraction, get used to this practice! Get used to it! See, I know that you can do this; for I suffered many years from the trial – and it is a very great one – of not being able to quiet the mind in anything. But I know that the Lord does not leave us so abandoned; for if we humbly ask Him for this friendship, He will not deny it to us. And if we cannot succeed in one year, we will succeed later. Let's not regret the time that is so well spent. Who’s making us hurry? I am speaking of acquiring this habit and of striving to walk alongside this true Master.’ By such simple means we fulfill His command to ‘remain in Him’ and we learn to ‘pray always’ and ‘change and become like little children’. If I had mastered Teresa’s excellent teaching on prayer I would have no need to read this again. But unfortunately I have not—and (probably) never shall—so I’ll be back to read it again, God willing. Teresa is most encouraging when she is most humble; assuring her sisters (and us) that all is grace, even our virtues. Yes, and even her virtues. Today we think we are ‘progressing’ in prayer. Tomorrow we succumb to our gravest fall. God allows this for our humility. Wonderful book! Thank you dear Teresa! <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Listened to this again. This version is read by Tavia Gilbert and produced by Christian Audio. I confess to a preference for listening to Teresa’s work’s read aloud. I'm not sure if it’s because of the way she writes (somewhat rambling and off the top of her head, not unlike myself but still not always easy to follow) or because I can feel like one of her ‘daughters’ listening to her talking to me. Whatever the reason, as I listen, I will pick up a thread here or there, follow it for a while, set it down in favor of another I like more when it comes along, and so on. I know I don't begin to exhaust the richness of the text. I wonder how many ‘listenings’ it would take to actually to accomplish, were it even possible... ><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Listened to Juliana Clapp’s reading. Really liked it—I think she read it as Santa Teresa would have spoken it to her sisters, as indeed, this book was written for them. I love Teresa. She is down-to-earth, forthright, and doesn’t pussy-foot around a subject. If she thinks someone needs correction, she doesn’t not shrink from the responsibility. Even so, she’s most severe on herself. Her straightforward honesty is one of her most endearing qualities to me. Another is her rambling style. Not that she doesn’t know what she wants to say, but her writing pours forth from an over-flowing heart and lively spirit; she does not give us dry tomes from her head. She writes with a spontaneous enthusiasm which occasionally tends to meander, but nevertheless remains interesting and fresh, even humorous at times. This particular book deals with poverty, the spiritual life, detachment, true love of God, contemplation, mental prayer and the various forms of prayer. Finally it concludes with a phrase-by-phrase exposition of the Pater Noster, the Our Father or Lord’s Prayer.

  2. 4 out of 5

    booklady

    I don’t know how many times I’ve read The Way of Perfection--which doesn’t seem so much like a book as a conversation, albeit one-way. Teresa wrote this for her sisters so her voice is warmly familiar, at times consoling, then chiding-admonishing but in a loving maternal manner. This was my first opportunity to read it using the Institute of Carmelite Studies (ICS) Edition Study Guide. If you really want to understand the text, I cannot recommend this guide enough. Each chapter contains the orig I don’t know how many times I’ve read The Way of Perfection--which doesn’t seem so much like a book as a conversation, albeit one-way. Teresa wrote this for her sisters so her voice is warmly familiar, at times consoling, then chiding-admonishing but in a loving maternal manner. This was my first opportunity to read it using the Institute of Carmelite Studies (ICS) Edition Study Guide. If you really want to understand the text, I cannot recommend this guide enough. Each chapter contains the original text followed by a brief outline of the material, Interpretative Notes (my favorite part!) and 3 or 4 group study questions. The Interpretive Notes were the most helpful feature of the book. They included everything from the historical* and contextual setting of the text; biographical info about Teresa; cross-referencing to Teresa’s other works; explanations of obscure passages; biographical info about St. John Of the Cross and other important figures in Teresa’s life as well as references to any of their writings which influenced her, such as Francisco de Osuna’s Third Spiritual Alphabet, one of her favorite and formative books, a popular devotional of that era. The downside of reading The Way of Perfection this way is the lack of flow. You lose something of what I call the intimacy of ‘Teresa’s voice’. However, for those who complain about my dear Teresa, that she is disorganized or goes off on ramblings, then this is the way you need to read her. Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh has made it his life’s work to know Teresa and he explains her beautifully here. Personally I think her ‘rambling’ was good subterfuge. Brilliant as she undoubtedly was, had she been hyper-organized as well, she would have been altogether too much for the men of her time. Her poor-pitiful-me-look-how-poorly-I-write is probably what has allowed her writings to come to us! No doubt she would hate me writing that! Forgive me dear Sister-in-faith, but I am allowed to compliment you even if humility forbids you from claiming this for yourself. ☺ One last thing, if you have never read this book, and you love The Our Father, then you must read it! Teresa believed that anyone could become a contemplative just by learning to pray this prayer correctly. And she sets out line by line, almost word by word, to teach her sisters (and us!) how to do it. PERFECTION! <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>><> July 15, 2016: In Chapter 33 Teresa writes: 'I have noticed how in this petition alone he repeats the words: first he says and asks the Father to give us this daily bread, and then repeats, "give it to us this day, Lord," invoking the Father again. It's as though Jesus tells the Father that he is now ours since the Father has given him to us to die for us; and asks that the Father not take him from us until the end of the world; that he allow him to serve each day. May this move your hearts...' It moved mine the other day in Adoration. May 15, 2016: While Teresa is not the most organized of writers she is one of the most vivid, which I find to be compensatory, at least insofar as she gives me visual landmarks, sometimes analogies, other times principles or concepts, memorable quotes, new ways of seeing. She is never dull. We continue to read at the pace of seven chapters each month but when I'm finished with the group I want to go back and outline the book on my own. Apr 11, 2016: Although I’ve read Teresa’s great work several times, this is my first chance to study it in a group setting using this Study Edition. And although this book comes up as identical to the original text, the Study Edition contains important additions (Summary, Interpretive Notes and Questions at the end of each chapter) which the regular text does not have. As a (novice) Secular Carmelite I’m in a group of 4 who are reading this over the next few months. We reading at a rate of 7 chapters a month. When we meet, we only read the Summary, Interpretive Notes and Questions for Discussion for each chapter. We’re supposed to have read the entire text before we meet. So far we’ve never managed to cover all 7 chapters in a setting due to lack of time. Yet considering the quality of our group discussions, the people in the group and our leader, I wouldn’t change a thing. *This is important because Teresa lived during the Protestant Reformation and she is guilty of the prejudice of the age. She speaks of the Lutherans in ways which sound harsh to our ears but were quite acceptable for her era.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Doreen Petersen

    A must read for all Catholics.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    I rarely rate a book five stars, but this one certainly deserves the rating. The Way of Perfection by St Teresa of Avila is probably one her easier books to read. She wrote it for her sisters, but there is much for the lay man or woman to take from it as well. The majority of the book focuses on the saint's treatise of the Our Father.She calls it the prayer of perfect contemplation. Within the context of the petitions of this prayer, she teaches many lessons on praying the prayer itself, on avoi I rarely rate a book five stars, but this one certainly deserves the rating. The Way of Perfection by St Teresa of Avila is probably one her easier books to read. She wrote it for her sisters, but there is much for the lay man or woman to take from it as well. The majority of the book focuses on the saint's treatise of the Our Father.She calls it the prayer of perfect contemplation. Within the context of the petitions of this prayer, she teaches many lessons on praying the prayer itself, on avoiding temptation as well as how to endure temptation. In speaking about the petition: Give us this day our daily bread..., she imparts her saintly wisdom on how it is that we should receive Holy Communion~ our Daily Bread. The one point that has stayed with me throughout the book is that when we pray this prayer given to us by Jesus Himself, we should do so at the side of the One who gave it to us. The Our Father is such a common and often said prayer, it is easy to say it without actually praying it. Putting ourselves in Jesus' presence when we do can help us to pray it rather than say it. If you have had difficulty with St Teresa's other writings, or have been a bit hesitant in picking up one of her books, I highly recommend The Way of Perfection. There are several translations, but I found this one by E. Allison Peers to be very straightforward. She also includes footnotes throughout cross referencing the original Spanish text of the saint as well as other translations. The Way of Perfection is in my humble opinion, a wonderful aid to prayer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    The heart of this book is St. Theresa's explanation of the Our Father (Paternoster)and how it can guide you in prayer, from vocal prayer to contemplation. St. Theresa is an excellent writer whose humility makes her discussion of prayer simple to follow, if not practice. Her humor comes through the more you read her works.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Magnus Itland

    "The Way of Perfection" is written for younger nuns, St Teresa's spiritual daughters as she thought of them. It is personal, informal and humble. The saint has been told that some people are wary of mysticism and contemplation, so she teaches her fellow nuns how to go about their ordinary vocal prayers with layer upon layer of depth and meaning which they can use if they are afraid of the wordless contemplation (what we today often call meditation.) I am not a Catholic, but I can not doubt that T "The Way of Perfection" is written for younger nuns, St Teresa's spiritual daughters as she thought of them. It is personal, informal and humble. The saint has been told that some people are wary of mysticism and contemplation, so she teaches her fellow nuns how to go about their ordinary vocal prayers with layer upon layer of depth and meaning which they can use if they are afraid of the wordless contemplation (what we today often call meditation.) I am not a Catholic, but I can not doubt that Teresa is a genuine saint; her words reliably draw me inward toward the inner Kingdom of Heaven, away from the thousand distractions of the world and the mind. Through this spring, I have read a bit of her book most days on the commute to work. I think of it as my "probiotic supplement for the soul." I am a little sad to see the book come to an end, but if I live I should be able to reread it every few years. It is that kind of book. Until recently, I only knew St Teresa from some random mention in a scientific magazine. When I began to read her books, I was amazed. It was like finding a collection of letters from a wise and gentle older sister, who had understood many things that I had yet not. I found myself wishing I had read this while I was young. But I would probably not have understood it then. Humility was not exactly my forte back then, even compared to now. (Reading a book called "The Way of Perfection" is pretty much what people would expect from me, I'm afraid.) I would only recommend this book to those who already have a longing for things eternal. I should find it unseemly to show a book with such warm spiritual familiarity to those who would mock the heart she bares here. But although there are some references to Catholicism in particular, I would not say it is required to be part of a particular denomination or order to benefit from this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Saint Teresa of Avila's classic work on the spiritual life, concentrating on avoiding worldly distractions and earnest prayer. Very simple but also very powerful.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    The funny thing about this book is that technically it should not be a good book at all. The writing is rather rambling, the author loses her train of thought and backtracks a lot, the sentences are long and loopy, etc. Yet it is a great book! Once I started reading I simply got pulled along as if by a strong current. I could not put the book down or even think of anything else. An amazing experience!

  9. 5 out of 5

    David Huff

    A fascinating book by a 16th Century Carmelite nun, written to give spiritual instruction to the younger nuns under her care in a Spanish convent. Found on most every "spiritual classics" list, it still speaks today -- centuries later -- with much insight on prayer, humility, Christian community, and spiritual growth. While Teresa often rambles and digresses, it's never without purpose, and the deep humility of her own heart is easy to discern. Her topics progress from loving one another and livi A fascinating book by a 16th Century Carmelite nun, written to give spiritual instruction to the younger nuns under her care in a Spanish convent. Found on most every "spiritual classics" list, it still speaks today -- centuries later -- with much insight on prayer, humility, Christian community, and spiritual growth. While Teresa often rambles and digresses, it's never without purpose, and the deep humility of her own heart is easy to discern. Her topics progress from loving one another and living in community, to important ideas on both verbal prayer and contemplation (silent prayer and/or meditation), to an extended and detailed discourse on the Lord's Prayer. Along the way, she even offers a clever spiritual simile based on the game of chess! Most readers may find the context (a convent) and certain theological views somewhat unfamiliar, but the truths that are here, about the deeper Christian life, are worth the exploration. A unique, but memorable, read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    April

    (2017) This was my second time reading this book cover to cover. It's so rich it's impossible to take it all in at once. It really works best studying small passages at a time and letting them digest before moving on. This is one of the best books ever written on the spiritual life; and I don't say that just because I'm a Carmelite. St. Teresa transcended boundaries. She is rightly a Doctor of the Church. Follow her paths honestly and truthfully and you can't help but become a saint. (2013 revie (2017) This was my second time reading this book cover to cover. It's so rich it's impossible to take it all in at once. It really works best studying small passages at a time and letting them digest before moving on. This is one of the best books ever written on the spiritual life; and I don't say that just because I'm a Carmelite. St. Teresa transcended boundaries. She is rightly a Doctor of the Church. Follow her paths honestly and truthfully and you can't help but become a saint. (2013 review) This is a good introduction to St Teresa, and a good explanation of the types of prayer, and the Paternoster. It was an enjoyable read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    This is the type of book I can read over and over. St. Teresa is a Doctor in the Catholic Church and so her writings teach something special. I have read this book before but I think the Audio method is even better. It is like her standing there and explaining how to pray. This book is all one needs to really learn what prayer really is all about and how to do it. I know of know other book that will help one reach perfection through prayer as this one does.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This book was written for her fellow sisters in the convent. I enjoyed the section on the Our Father and the description of the 3 types of prayer.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence Jakows

    Jesus: Perfect Love [Book excerpt from Jesus: Perfect Love, p. 40-41] St. Teresa of Avila, also known as St. Teresa of Jesus, was a sixteenth-century nun, mystic, Holy Mother of the Discalced Carmelite Order and Doctor of the Church. St. Teresa of Jesus comments on the age-old choice of choosing the world versus choosing God: “Those into whose souls the Lord has already infused true wisdom do not esteem this love, which lasts only on earth, at more than its true worth—if, indeed, at so much. Those who Jesus: Perfect Love [Book excerpt from Jesus: Perfect Love, p. 40-41] St. Teresa of Avila, also known as St. Teresa of Jesus, was a sixteenth-century nun, mystic, Holy Mother of the Discalced Carmelite Order and Doctor of the Church. St. Teresa of Jesus comments on the age-old choice of choosing the world versus choosing God: “Those into whose souls the Lord has already infused true wisdom do not esteem this love, which lasts only on earth, at more than its true worth—if, indeed, at so much. Those who like to take pleasure in worldly things, delights, honours and riches, will account it of some worth if their friend is rich and able to afford them pastime and pleasure and recreation; but those who already hate all this will care little or nothing for such things. If they have any love for such a person,then, it will be a passion that he may love God so as to be loved by Him; for, as I say, they know that no other kind of affection but this can last, and that this kind will cost them dear, for which reason they do all they possibly can for their friend's profit; they would lose a thousand lives to bring him a small blessing. Oh, precious love, forever imitating the Captain of Love, Jesus, our Good!” (Perfection, p. 37)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Carr

    Saint Teresa of Avila is well known for her mysticism and spirituality. But she is also a very realistic, sensible, and down-to-earth writer. Her advice in The Way of Perfection seems to cut to the heart and be relevant to her readers. I found myself thinking "this is exactly what I need to hear right now" more than once. Since I have been reading this book over a period of 4-5 months, it would be hard for me to summarize the book. The later chapters go through the "Our Father" prayer and discuss Saint Teresa of Avila is well known for her mysticism and spirituality. But she is also a very realistic, sensible, and down-to-earth writer. Her advice in The Way of Perfection seems to cut to the heart and be relevant to her readers. I found myself thinking "this is exactly what I need to hear right now" more than once. Since I have been reading this book over a period of 4-5 months, it would be hard for me to summarize the book. The later chapters go through the "Our Father" prayer and discuss it in great depth. For nothing else, these chapters made me think much more about the words that I pray at least 3 times each day. She also speaks greatly about love for others, detachment from things, and humility, among other subjects. She gives great examples and uses wonderful metaphors to portray her message about achieving perfection. Most of all, she shows how holy she truly was, despite her self-berating. Her words come from a true humility that acknowledges her gifts but also endures a perpetual understanding and suffering of her sinfulness commonly known to saints. This book spoke to my soul and I would recommend it to anyone serious about introspection and finding the true way to perfection. It is not a book to be read over a week's time. I only read around a chapter or two each time I picked up the book because it was so much to think about. Reading this prayerfully helped me to really look at myself and find my greatest failings.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book has two parts. In the first part, Teresa of Avila talks to the nuns in her convent about living in community. The second part, which I found the most profitable, was her exposition on the Lord's Prayer. She grabbed me from the first moment when she said to think about all that is implied in the first two words, that Jesus begins with "Our Father" rather than "My Father." Some of her thoughts that I particularly liked: "The topsy-turviness of this world is terrible." "For anyone to whom t This book has two parts. In the first part, Teresa of Avila talks to the nuns in her convent about living in community. The second part, which I found the most profitable, was her exposition on the Lord's Prayer. She grabbed me from the first moment when she said to think about all that is implied in the first two words, that Jesus begins with "Our Father" rather than "My Father." Some of her thoughts that I particularly liked: "The topsy-turviness of this world is terrible." "For anyone to whom the Lord has really given His Kingdom to no longer wants a kingdom in this world, knowing that he is going the right way to reign in a more exalted manner, and having already discovered by experience what great benefits the soul gains and what progress it makes when it suffers for God's sake." "Try then, sisters, to be as pleasant as you can, without offending God, and to get on well as you can with those you have to deal with, so that they may like talking to you and want to follow your way of life and conversation, and not be frighted and put off by virtue."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeannine

    After having read Interior Castles, I found this one to be a bit slow going, at first. However, once I pushed forward, I found that this was, once again, a well-written explanation of the contemplative life. Using the Lord's Prayer as the foundation, she takes the reader through the process of prayer as well as the purpose. Even though I find her continuous self-doubt (or excusing herself for being a mere woman) to be a bit tiring, the message itself is incredibly moving.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    The title says it all. Teresa from back in the 1500s is still as modern as if written today. This is truly a classic on the practice of prayer. She has a very unique way of leading one along the way of prayer, one that is easy to read but not always that easy to put into practice. It is a book to be read and reread again and again. It really does help one to pray.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anne Bishop

    Inspirational I started reading this to learn more about the author. Then joined a group discussing the book. If you are searching for knowledge about St. Teresa of Avila this might be a good place to start.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Yee

    I read another version of this book, and didn't manage to complete it. The text is not easily accessible. One gets lost by the time one gets to the Fifth Room. It's too mystical; one doesn't know what Saint Teresa is talking about. It starts to just make no sense.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kitty

    The essence of the book is St. Teresa teaching her young nuns how to love to pray. I found the second half of the book a good lesson for all on how to pray and avoid distractions.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    Included in the "Spiritual Classics" section of Fr. John McCloskey's 100-book Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Johnson

    This book is for anyone who calls themselves a 'prayer warrior'. Kind of complex, but if you read 10 pages a day...I think you will notice some things happening within yourself....:) check it ot!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    zaK young

    if you notice something in someone else's behavior that needs changing; instead of correcting that person, try to emphasize the opposite traits in your own behavior.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Todd Brown

    Chapter 28 is outstanding.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    This edition is based on the translation of E. Allison Peers, itself based on the latest Spanish critical editions of the time. However, two chapters (3 and 5) pertaining directly to life in a religious order have been eliminated from this popular edition for lack of broader appeal. The present editor has further modernized the language, replacing archaic terms with modern English equivalents (e.g., Thou to You) and shifting passive to active voice. This certainly makes for a livelier read and op This edition is based on the translation of E. Allison Peers, itself based on the latest Spanish critical editions of the time. However, two chapters (3 and 5) pertaining directly to life in a religious order have been eliminated from this popular edition for lack of broader appeal. The present editor has further modernized the language, replacing archaic terms with modern English equivalents (e.g., Thou to You) and shifting passive to active voice. This certainly makes for a livelier read and opens Teresa's text to a potentially broader audience, leaving it an excellent primer for those seeking an introduction to Roman Catholic mysticism in the Spanish tradition. Nevertheless, I find that the looser language is less useful for scholarship and a deeper understanding of the practices, while also losing some of Teresa's characteristic voice. I hope to have the opportunity to compare it more directly with the Peers edition in the future, and recommend that to more advanced students of religious practice in preference to this.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    This was the first book of St Teresa's that I've read before. In it, her charism advocates for unrelenting hope, humility, and an emphasis on the often overlooked but simple tools of the spiritual life (vocal prayers, that contemplation is not necessarily critical, etc). I learned three things about God that I had not got into my brain quite as well before. One, that no matter how holy a person may seem, he or she is always in danger of sin. So we must always pray. Second, however, that even thou This was the first book of St Teresa's that I've read before. In it, her charism advocates for unrelenting hope, humility, and an emphasis on the often overlooked but simple tools of the spiritual life (vocal prayers, that contemplation is not necessarily critical, etc). I learned three things about God that I had not got into my brain quite as well before. One, that no matter how holy a person may seem, he or she is always in danger of sin. So we must always pray. Second, however, that even though this is so, if you have faith and act as if you truly believed in God's goodness, you will be rewarded with great graces. There is always always hope. Lastly, St Teresa stressed very much about how profitable heaven is (this is where the vocal prayers and such came in). Now, everyone knows this. But hearing it from her was different; her writing was so powerful to me. "What good indeed can we find in this life, sisters, when we have not the Infinite Good and are separated from Him?"

  27. 5 out of 5

    Russ

    This is a very readable, even domestic, work from a 16th century Spanish mystic. I have somehow not read her before, other than some brief excerpts, and I gather that this is not representative of her more mystical works. Steeled for something more like St. John of the Cross, it took me awhile to get used to her tone. Once I did, though, I found her an engaging thinker who uses some wonderful images and extended similes to make her points. The book was written at the behest of her fellow nuns as This is a very readable, even domestic, work from a 16th century Spanish mystic. I have somehow not read her before, other than some brief excerpts, and I gather that this is not representative of her more mystical works. Steeled for something more like St. John of the Cross, it took me awhile to get used to her tone. Once I did, though, I found her an engaging thinker who uses some wonderful images and extended similes to make her points. The book was written at the behest of her fellow nuns as an instruction in prayer. The first third of the book is dedicated to preparing oneself to pray, and thus it talks about virtues like humility at length. The last two-thirds is an extended analysis of the Lord's prayer, going through each clause in detail. It is in this section where Teresa's greatest writing and thinking is to be found. All in all, I enjoyed reading this book. I feel more prepared now to read some of her more mystical books in the future.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Hosbach

    Based on her own experience, St. Teresa shared the landscape for others on a spiritual journey. My favorite part is the way she reflected on the Lord's Prayer one profound phrase at a time. It is not the kind of book that can be rushed through. This is the second time I've read this book and I'm sure I could read it many more times and continue to uncover new insights. It's a bit like holding a teaspoon under Niagara Falls, but the drops that stick are so worth it! As she said in Chapter 19, "Re Based on her own experience, St. Teresa shared the landscape for others on a spiritual journey. My favorite part is the way she reflected on the Lord's Prayer one profound phrase at a time. It is not the kind of book that can be rushed through. This is the second time I've read this book and I'm sure I could read it many more times and continue to uncover new insights. It's a bit like holding a teaspoon under Niagara Falls, but the drops that stick are so worth it! As she said in Chapter 19, "Remember, the Lord invites us all; and, since He is Truth Itself, we cannot doubt Him. If His invitation were not a general one, He would not have said, "I will give you to drink." and "...if His gift is abundant, He also bestows on the soul, as I have said, an abundant capacity for drinking..."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yolanda

    The information is good, I found it difficult to follow throughout the entire book. This will go on the list to try for an audio book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    I wanted to read The Way of Perfection before re-reading The Interior Castle. I'm glad I did. Teresa has a way of making the contemplative life seem so real and possible for everyone. Her interpretation of the Our Father becomes an entire path leading to God awareness. This is not a book just to be read. It is a book to practice. Written primarily for the nuns in her care I found it sometimes difficult to follow but no doubt the failing is mine. I will be re-reading this book as well as her othe I wanted to read The Way of Perfection before re-reading The Interior Castle. I'm glad I did. Teresa has a way of making the contemplative life seem so real and possible for everyone. Her interpretation of the Our Father becomes an entire path leading to God awareness. This is not a book just to be read. It is a book to practice. Written primarily for the nuns in her care I found it sometimes difficult to follow but no doubt the failing is mine. I will be re-reading this book as well as her others. I find myself understanding more with each reading and the inspiration and devotion it awakens is well worth the time. Study it. Practice it. Live it.

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