Poverty or charity?

I read in a book that it was an imperfection to have ornate paintings. So I didn’t want to keep one I had in my cell. Even before I read this it seemed to me a practice of poverty not to have any other images than paper ones. And since it was after I had formed this opinion that I read the above, I had no longer kept any other kind. And having forgotten about this, I heard the following: that what I wanted to do was not a good mortification (what was better, poverty or charity?); that since love was the better, I shouldn’t renounce anything that awakened my love, nor should I take such a thing away from my nuns; that the book was talking about the many carvings and adornments surrounding the picture and not about the picture itself…

Excerpt from Spiritual Testimonies 26; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

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