Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Autobiography of Teresa of Avila

It would be hard not to fall in love with such a sincere, honest, humble saint as Teresa of Avila when reading her Autobiography. Unlike some other writers and saints, she doesn’t have her life and spiritual journey mapped out neatly ahead of time. You can tell that her thoughts and feelings just poured right out on the paper. Because she was so close to God and so pure of heart, these seemingly random thoughts come together in a way that paints a beautiful picture of the interior life.
Teresa of Avila doesn’t hide that she has gone through periods of confusion, had dry spells, and really struggled internally and externally on her spiritual journey. It’s refreshing that while she was writing the things she was grappling with were still very real in her life and every day dealings. This makes it far easier to relate to her than some of the saints whose suffering and spiritual growth come across always as something much higher and loftier than anything the average Catholic in the pew might experience.
Even knowing that she’d been led astray by some of the spiritual directors she had over the years is an important reminder that we must always stay close to Christ and focus on God above all else because even the people He puts in our lives aren’t perfect or without sin. It is possible and probable they will make mistakes, too, and sometimes suggest things which are more in line with their own thinking and reason rather than in harmony with God’s will.
This work provides a stark contrast to that of her good friend St. John of the Cross whose wisdom and closeness to God are expressed through scholarly writing and are presented in a much more academic, organized fashion. St. Teresa of Avila is very accessible to both the learned and those who have come to Divine revelation without a solid academic religious/theological background.
I highly recommend The Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila to anyone who is interested in learning about the interior life and growing closer to God through prayer.
You can purchase this book here. I wrote this review of The Autobiography Of St. Teresa Of Avila for the Tiber River Blogger Review program.  Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.  I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.
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