Meditations from Teresa of Avila

The whole foundation of prayer must be laid in humility, and the more a soul humbles itself in prayers, the more God lifts it up. The nearer we draw to God, the more this virtue should grow; if it does not, everything is lost. Humility is the right road, and if we can journey along a safe and level path, why should we want wings with which to fly?

Let His Majesty guide us wherever He will. We are not our own; we belong to Him. His Majesty may do what He likes with the soul. It is His property. The soul no longer belongs to itself. It has been given over wholly to our Lord. Let it, therefore, cast its cares wholly aside for ever and ever.

Now it is best for the soul which God has not raised to a higher state not to try and seek to rise higher. Let this be well considered, because all the soul will gain in that manner will be but loss. Do not demand that which you have not merited. It is very important that we do not attempt to raise our spirits ourselves if God does not raise them for us. If He does, then there will be no mistaking it.

What the soul must do in seasons of quiet amounts to no more than proceeding gently and noiselessly into prayer. What I mean by noise is running about with the intellect, looking for many words and meanings. Everything is in motion and rush. Therefore in such times of quietude, let the soul remain in its repose. Put aside learning. The time will come when learning will be useful for the Lord. For here there is no demand for reasoning, but simply for knowing what we are and that we are humbly in God’s presence.