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Teresa of Avila

  • From foolish devotions and sour-faced saints may God deliver us!

  • [On her father:] ... in losing him I lost my greatest blessing and comfort, for he was always that to me ...

  • There was the torture of sermons, and that not a slight one, for I was very fond of them.

  • A slight failing in one virtue is enough to put all the others to sleep.

  • I have always had this failing — that I cannot explain myself, as I have said, except at the cost of many words.

  • How friendly we should all be with one another if nobody were interested in money and honor.

  • To want to become angels while we are still on earth ... is ridiculous.

  • It is impossible for human tongue to exaggerate the riches which a vision from God brings to the soul: it even bestows health and refreshment on the body.

  • What a miserable life is this! There is no happiness that is secure and nothing that does not change.

  • Humility must always be doing its work like a bee making its honey in the hive: without humility all will be lost.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Interior Castle ()
  • I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Interior Castle ()
  • The important thing is not to think much but to love much; do, then, whatever most arouses you to love.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Interior Castle ()
  • ... we cannot be sure if we are loving God, although we may have good reasons for believing that we are, but we can know quite well if we are loving our neighbor. And be certain that, the farther advanced you find you are in this, the greater the love you will have for God ...

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Interior Castle ()
  • Lord, how Thou dost afflict Thy lovers!

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Interior Castle ()
  • Every part of the journey is of importance to the whole.

  • I believe that honor and money nearly always go together ... Seldom or never is a poor man honored by the world; however worthy of honor he may be, he is apt rather to be despised by it.

  • ... this body of ours has one fault: the more you indulge it, the more things it discovers to be essential to it. It is extraordinary how it likes being indulged ...

  • I only wish I could write with both hands, so as not to forget one thing while I am saying another.

  • ... let there be no disappointment when obedience keeps you busy in outward tasks. If it sends you to the kitchen, remember that the Lord walks among the pots and pans ...

  • Humility, however deep it be, neither disquiets nor troubles nor disturbs the soul; it is accompanied by peace, joy and tranquillity.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • c. 1550, in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Jesus ()
  • Untilled soil, however fertile it may be, will bear thistles and thorns: and so it is with man's mind.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • "Maxims" (1581), in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Jesus ()
  • Never affirm anything unless you are sure it is true.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • "Maxims" (1581), in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Jesus ()
  • Never do anything which you could not do in the sight of all.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • "Maxims" (1581), in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Jesus ()
  • Never compare one person with another: comparisons are odious.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • "Maxims" (1581), in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Jesus ()
  • God deliver me from people who are so spiritual that they want to turn everything into perfect contemplation, come what may.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • "Judgment" (1577), in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Jesus ()
  • Let nothing disturb thee; / Let nothing dismay thee: / All things pass; / God never changes. / Patience attains / All that it strives for. / He who has God / Finds he lacks nothing: / God alone suffices.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • c. 1550, in E. Allison Peers, tr., The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Jesus ()
  • One always goes on as one begins ...

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • 1576, in E. Allison Peers, ed., The Letters of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. 1 ()
  • People in the world pay little heed to reason where their own interests are involved.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • 1576, in E. Allison Peers, ed., The Letters of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. 1 ()
  • But the fact is, things always seem to come slowly when you are longing for them.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • 1577, in E. Allison Peers, ed., The Letters of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. 1 ()
  • I fully realize that this gratitude of mine is not in the least a sign of perfection: it must be my nature — I could be suborned with a sardine ...

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • 1578, in E. Allison Peers, ed., The Letters of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. 2 ()
  • However, when all is said, truth suffers, but never dies ...

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • 1579, in E. Allison Peers, ed., The Letters of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. 2 ()
  • But God will provide.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • 1579, in E. Allison Peers, ed., The Letters of Saint Teresa of Jesus, vol. 2 ()
  • How I have longed for thee! Oh welcome hour — the end of exile.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • last words (1582), in Barnaby Conrad, Famous Last Words ()
  • Patient endurance / Attaineth to all things.

    • Teresa of Avila,
    • "Bookmark," in Joanna Bankier and Deirdre Lashgari, eds., Women Poets of the World ()
  • Don't imagine that if you had a great deal of time you would spend more of it in prayer. Get rid of that idea! Again and again God gives more in a moment than in a long period of time, for his actions are not measured by time at all.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • A thousand souls hear his call every second, but most every one looks into their life's mirror and says, 'I am not worthy to leave this sadness.'

    • Teresa of Avila
  • To argue over who is the more noble is nothing more than to dispute whether dirt is better for making bricks or for making mortar.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • The nicest thing we can do for our heavenly Father is to be kind to one of His children.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • Pain is never permanent.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • God has no hands or feet or voice except ours and through these He works.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • It is true that we cannot be free from sin, but at least let our sins not always be the same.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • Life is a night spent in an uncomfortable inn.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • Let thy words be few when in the midst of many ...

    • Teresa of Avila
  • Settle yourself in solitude, and you will come upon God in yourself ...

    • Teresa of Avila
  • After you die, you wear what you are ...

    • Teresa of Avila
  • From moment to moment one can bear much.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • Let us live in such a way as not to be afraid to die.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • All times are dangerous times.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • [To a young nun boasting of being a great sinner:] Now, Sister, remember, none of us are perfect. Just make sure those sins of yours don't turn into bad habits.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.

    • Teresa of Avila
  • [Last words:] My Lord, it is time to move on. Well then, may your will be done. O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another.

    • Teresa of Avila

Teresa of Avila, Spanish mystic, poet, Carmelite nun, Roman Catholic saint

(1515 - 1582)

Full name: Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada.