SantaTeresaTurn your eyes upon yourself and look at yourself inwardly….

You will find your Master; He will not fail you: indeed, the less outward comfort you have, the greater the joy He will give you.

He is full of compassion and never fails those who are afflicted and out of favour if they trust in Him alone….

Either you believe this or you do not: if you do, as you should, why do you wear yourselves to death with worry?

[…] I should like to be able to explain the nature of this holy companionship with our great Companion, the Holiest of the holy, in which there is nothing to hinder the soul and her Spouse from remaining alone together, when the soul desires to enter within herself, to shut the door behind her so as to keep out all that is worldly and to dwell in that Paradise with her God.

I say “desires”, because you must understand that this is not a supernatural state but depends upon our volition, and that, by God’s favour, we can enter it of our own accord: for without it nothing can be accomplished and we have not the power to think a single good thought.

For this is not a silence of the faculties: it is a shutting-up of the faculties within itself by the soul. There are many ways in which we can gradually acquire this habit….

We must cast aside everything else, they say, in order to approach God inwardly and we must retire within ourselves even during our ordinary occupations.

If I can recall the companionship which I have within my soul for as much as a moment, that is of great utility. But as I am speaking only about the way to recite vocal prayers well, there is no need for me to say as much as this.

All I want is that we should know and abide with the Person with Whom we are speaking, and not turn our backs upon Him; for that, it seems to me, is what we are doing when we talk to God and yet think of all kinds of vanity.

The whole mischief comes from our not really grasping the fact that He is near us, and imagining Him far away—so far, that we shall have to go to Heaven in order to find Him.

How is it, Lord, that we do not look at Thy face, when it is so near us? We do not think people are listening to us when we are speaking to them unless we see them looking at us. And do we close our eyes so as not to see that Thou art looking at us?

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582): Way of Perfection, 29.

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