Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila: First Level (Grammar Stage)

What are the central events in the writer’s life?

I know that I should have written only the most important events for this inquiry, but to refresh my memory, and really…there are a lot of important events in Teresa’s life that is so valuable, I finally rambled over this quite a long post. :)

  • Teresa’s soul was aroused since childhood, thanks to the parents’ good virtues. (age 7)
  • Lost her virtues through bad company – entered an Augustinian convent in spite of her bitter aversion. (age 14)
  • Returned to good virtues – had serious illness; poor health – out from the convent to stay with her sister. (age 16+)
  • Finally took the habit at the Convent of Incarnation, 3rd November 1536. (age 21)
  • Feeling great joy for serving God – her health worsens – went to another town for treatment.
  • Suffered the inability of meditating, always needed books to pray – been misguided by her confessor. (age 23)
  • Asked God to send illness and patience to endure it. God granted it, the treatment worsen her illness, she endured great pain with great patience, almost died.
  • Teresa was paralyzed for almost three years, but endured it with great joy.
  • She regretted her sins, took St. Joseph as her patron, and through him, God granted her prayers.
  • Teresa fell again in sin from amusements and vanity, having too much freedom in the convent.
  • She had a friendship with a woman – one day Christ appeared before her looking severe and warned her that the friendship displeased Him. She disobeyed still; then had a vision of a strange toad which she believed to be another God’s warning.
  • For some times she stopped communing with God (meditation).
  • Her father died from illness.
  • Guided by her father’s confessor, Teresa began to pray again – still led two lives: divine and worldly ones.
  • However, during those follies, Teresa felt that God veiled her sins from public because He must have known how Teresa longed to serve Him.
  • Teresa was tormented when God granted graces to her despite of her sins.
  • Teresa saw in her mind an image of Christ terribly wounded; it moved her deeply; that she called up that image in meditations which helped her a lot.
  • Teresa had difficulties to stay in meditation because her thoughts were wondering; she needed an actual image to induce mental recollection in mind.
  • She began reading St. Augustine’s Confessions; it helped her to incline more to spiritual graces and stayed away from things that did her harm.
  • Teresa wrote the contents of this book to her confessors, but warned him to only publish till chapter 10, and left the rest in secret.
  • She taught us how to do mental prayer (meditation) in 4 stages, and how to hinder the devils from taunting us. The higher the stage, the more intimate we would be to God.
  • 5 or 6 years stretched along from Teresa’s first to third stages of prayer.
  • People accused her of making innovations in prayer – Teresa was disturbed by it – abandoned again her prayer.
  • Father Barron, a Dominican Friar, woke her up from sins – she realized how God is never tired of forgiving sinners like her.
  • Whenever Teresa had an ecstasy from her 4th stage of prayer (when God enraptured her), her body would be lifted from the ground. Along with the raptures, Teresa experienced distress from terrible loneliness – she longed to die, to be united to God – her body also suffered great pain – she accepted all happily as the way of Cross.
  • After 20 years of prayer and avoiding sins, Teresa was afraid that she might be deceived by the devil. She then sought spiritual directors to guide her.
  • To one of her five teachers from the Society of Jesus she confided that despite of her sins, God granted her much favours – the teachers concluded that it was from evil spirit, not God – they instructed her to resist herself from the raptures.

Cuzco School: The Second Conversion of Saint Teresa. ca. 1694

  • Teresa used to keep her earthly friendship, however one day God told her in her ecstasy that He wanted her to converse not to men, but with angels – on this, she gave up her friendship and everything for God.
  • Two years after Teresa was instructed to resist God’s favours, she sensed Christ’s presence at her side, though she couldn’t see him; so real the experience, it convinced Teresa that it was not the devil – her new confessor confirmed, he was Peter of Alcantara (later on a Fransiscan saint).
  • Teresa often had the ‘vision’ from God (she could see Him—parts of His body or His whole body).
  • People doubted that a sinner like Teresa could have such favours from God – her confessors were also unwilling to take her confession.
  • St. Teresa kept welcoming the visions, though her confessors told her to stop it.
  • But God reassured her by giving a token of jeweled cross and advice to deal with her opposition.
  • Now the raptures began to bring great pain to Teresa’s soul like being pierced by an arrow, but at the same time the pain felt sweet—it is a combination of pleasure and pain, which disturbed Teresa.
  • She was visited by Friar Peter of Alcantara who understood her experience and comforted that it came from God.
  • Teresa was tormented several times by the devils, which is permitted by God. During these times Teresa was greatly tormented and only relieved after sprinkling holy water to the devils – it happened because she wanted to save another soul, so she asked God to switch the devils to her soul instead – the other soul was saved at last.
  • One day Teresa had a vision of hell, she experienced its torment for a few seconds but that terrified her forever.
  • She thought of what kind of penance she ought to do to avoid hell.
  • God commanded her, in a vision, to found a convent of St. Joseph’s and He promised to watch over it.
  • The plan was opposed by many people but God encouraged Teresa to go on – He inspired the oppositions that at the end they were willingly to help the realization.
  • The Provincial suddenly changed his mind, and so the project was cancelled – Teresa was persecuted once more by her colleagues.
  • God commanded her to obey her superiors – she was sure that the project will be realized nonetheless.
  • The present Rector of The Society of Jesus was succeeded by a more spiritual one – under whom the project was resumed.
  • God supported Teresa with encouragement and the means of building the convent, including money which she didn’t have any.
  • St. Joseph and St. Clare appeared to her when she was distressed of doing everything alone – They promised to help her. St. Mary has even asked Her Son to help her; which He did.
  • Teresa was able to save souls of clerics as well as her relatives by the help from God in visions.
  • God insisted that the convent should be built on the principle of poverty.
  • Finally Teresa was sent by God in secrecy at a perfect time to finalize the sanction and authority of the convent foundation, against her superiors’ knowledge.
  • The convent of St. Joseph was founded on 1562.
  • It was under greater enclosure and the new nuns were taken without dowry under the rule of poverty.
  • Only four hours after that, the devils put her into spiritual battle again, planting the idea that she must have been wrong to disobey her Provincial – again God helped her and convinced her to lead the nuns.
  • People who at first opposed her, began to give their consent.
  • In the new convent, Teresa’s virtues much progressed – she often got visions from Saints and souls of dead ones being transported to Heaven, or being torn by the devils, according to their deeds while on earth.
  • God gave her a vision to encourage her that He won’t ever abandon her at trials – also a vision of Heaven with its Throne and Angels.
  • When she doubted (again!) whether the vision was from God, He rebuked her in an apparition.
  • Teresa also had a vision of Virgin Mary’s assumption.
  • Finally Teresa was strictly enclosed in her convent, completely out of the world and devoted her life solely to God.

Give your book your own title and subtitle

A God’s Servant’s Story: In Which St. Teresa of Avila Becomes One of His Most Faithful Servants Despite Of Her Sins and Weaknesses.


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