What I tried to explain in the previous chapters—although I digressed a great deal in speaking of other things since mentioning them seemed to me very necessary—was the work we can do through our own efforts and how in obtaining this initial devotion we can help ourselves in some way.
For in thinking about and carefully examining what the Lord suffered for us, we are moved to compassion; and this sorrow and the resulting tears bring delight. In thinking about the glory we hope for, the love the Lord bore us, and His resurrection, we are moved to a joy that is neither entirely spiritual nor entirely of the senses.
But the joy is virtuous and the sorrow very meritorious. Virtue and merit are found in all the things that cause the devotion acquired partly by the intellect, even though this devotion could not be merited or obtained if God did not give it.
The soul can place itself in the presence of Christ and grow accustomed to being inflamed with love for His sacred humanity. It can keep Him ever-present and speak with Him, asking for its needs and complaining of its labors, being glad with Him in its enjoyments and not forgetting Him because of them, trying to speak to Him, not through written prayers but with words that conform to its desires and needs.
This is an excellent way of making progress and in a very short time. I consider that soul advanced who strives to remain in this precious company and to profit very much by it, and who truly comes to love this Lord to whom we owe so much.
As a result, we shouldn’t care at all about not having devotion—as I have said—but we ought to thank the Lord who allows us to be desirous of pleasing Him, even though our works may be weak.
This method of keeping Christ present with us is beneficial in all stages and is a very safe means of advancing in the first degree of prayer, of reaching in a short time the second degree, and of walking secure against the dangers the devil can set up in the last degrees.
Keeping Christ present is what we of ourselves can do.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life
Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.