The Foundations, Chapter 5, no. 7
There was a person to whom I spoke a few days ago who for about fifteen years was kept so busy through obedience with work in occupations and government that in all those years he didn’t remember having had one day for himself, although he tried the best he could to keep a pure conscience and have some periods each day for prayer. His soul in its inclination is one of the most obedient I have seen, and so he communicates this spirit of obedience to all those with whom he deals. The Lord has repaid him well; for he has found that he has, without knowing how, that same precious and desirable liberty of spirit that the perfect have. In it, they find all the happiness that could be wanted in this life, for in desiring nothing they possess all. Nothing on earth do they fear or desire, neither do trials disturb them, nor do consolations move them. In sum, nothing can take away their peace because these souls depend only on God. And since no one can take Him away from them, only the fear of losing Him can cause them pain. Everything else in this world, in their opinion, is as though it were not; it neither contributes anything nor removes anything from their happiness. Oh, happy obedience and happy the resulting distraction that could obtain so much!
O most loving Heavenly Father! We thank you for the great gift you gave us through Saint Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church. Her life was a great example of fervent prayer, heroic sacrifice, profound humility, tireless patience, unwavering trust, and determined faith in you. We humbly pray for her intercession…
(Mention your intentions)
Saint Teresa, you yourself have said that there is no path that leads more quickly to the highest perfection than obedience. Pray for us, that we may grow in obedience and thus follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ, who became obedient unto death.
Saint Teresa, light of the Church, teach us the way of perfection, and lead us to the eternal mansions where Christ has his home.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us!
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.
So he is distracted by his work, but it obtains great Graces, because of his being obedient? As in God walking among the pots and pans? Is that it?
That’s precisely it!
I hope you realize that you are about the only catechesis I receive…..
If it’s helpful, praise God.
I am reminded of St Francis de Sales and his Introduction. That it would be wrong to expect true devotion to be uniform, but that it manifests in ways proper to our state in life.
Please could you explain “the resulting distraction”? I would have thought they were totally recollected, and not in the least distracted? Unless you mean it literally, as in etymology, dragged away, ie from the world?
This is Kavanaugh and Rodriguez translation, not ours. So, St. Teresa is talking about the distractions that are a result of obedience to the job responsibilities in his government position, for example. Does that make sense to you?