Selected Quotations from St. Teresa of Avila

st t of a quote

St. Teresa of Jesus Spanish prayer card

Today, October 15 we celebrate the feast day of Saint Teresa of Avila (also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus, 1515-1582), Virgin, mystic, reformer of the Carmelite Order, and Doctor of the Church. Throughout her life, Saint Teresa was graced with mystical visions and ecstasies, through which she embraced the suffering of Christ. Her numerous writings remain extant, inspiring the faithful to deeper communion with the Lord today.

Select Quotations of Saint Teresa of Avila:

“God, deliver me from sullen saints.”

“Oh my Lord! How true it is that whoever works for you is paid in troubles! And what a precious price to those who love you if we understand its value.”

“There is no such thing as bad weather. All weather is good because it is God’s.”

“There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world.”

“We need no wings to go in search of Him, but have only to look upon Him present within us.”

“Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.”

st t of a quote

“Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one.”

“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 Glory, which is eternal. If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing. ”

“Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world.”

St t of avila quote

“You ought to make every effort to free yourselves even from venial sin, and to do what is most perfect.”

“If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that is we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example. What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For is at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.”

st teresa of avila

“All things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted.”

”Be gentle to all and stern with yourself.”

“The most potent and acceptable prayer is the prayer that leaves the best effects. I don’t mean it must immediately fill the soul with desire . . . The best effects [are] those that are followed up by actions—–when the soul not only desires the honor of God, but really strives for it. ”

“I would never want any prayer that would not make the virtues grow within me.”

“Vocal prayer . . . must be accompanied by reflection. A prayer in which a person is not aware of Whom he is speaking to, what he is asking, who it is who is asking and of Whom, I don’t call prayer—–however much the lips may move.”

“Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.”

“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”

”One must not think that a person who is suffering is not praying. He is offering up his sufferings to God, and many a time he is praying much more truly than one who goes away by himself and meditates his head off, and, if he has squeezed out a few tears, thinks that is prayer. ”

”God gave us faculties for our use; each of them will receive its proper reward. Then do not let us try to charm them to sleep, but permit them to do their work until divinely called to something higher.”

Virgin Mary and St. Teresa of Avila - painting on postcard Spain

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

”I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.”

”It is here, my daughters, that love is to be found – not hidden away in corners but in the midst of occasions of sin. And believe me, although we may more often fail and commit small lapses, our gain will be incomparably the greater.”

”O my God, what must a soul be like when it is in this state! It longs to be all one tongue with which to praise the Lord. It utters a thousand pious follies, in a continuous endeavor to please Him who thus possesses it.”

St t of a with Bl. anne of st b

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

”Pain is never permanent.”

”The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.”

”The tree that is beside the running water is fresher and gives more fruit.”

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

”To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that.”

”To reach something good it is very useful to have gone astray, and thus acquire experience.”

”We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can – namely, surrender our will and fulfill God’s will in us.”

“Never exaggerate, but express your feelings with moderation.”

“Never affirm anything unless you are sure it is true.”

“Always think of yourself as everyone’s servant; look for Christ Our Lord in everyone and you will then have respect and reverence for them all.”

“Reflect upon the providence and wisdom of God in all created things and praise Him in them all.”

“Never compare one person with another: comparisons are odious.”

“Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.”

“We shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God; for, beholding His greatness, we realize our own littleness; His purity shows us our foulness; and by meditating upon His humility we find how very far we are from being humble.”

“Just as we cannot stop the movement of the heavens, revolving as they do with such speed, so we cannot restrain our thought. And then we send all the faculties of the soul after it, thinking we are lost, and have misused the time that we are spending in the presence of God. Yet the soul may perhaps be wholly united with Him in the Mansions very near His presence, while thought remains in the outskirts of the castle, suffering the assaults of a thousand wild and venomous creatures and from this suffering winning merit. So this must not upset us, and we must not abandon the struggle, as the devil tries to make us do. Most of these trials and times of unrest come from the fact that we do not understand ourselves.”

“We cannot know whether we love God, although there may be strong reason for thinking so; but there can be no doubt about whether we love our neighbor or not. Be sure that, in proportion as you advance in fraternal charity, you are increasing your love of God, for His Majesty bears so tender an affection for us that I cannot doubt He will repay our love for others by augmenting, and in a thousand different ways, that which we bear for Him.”

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