Practical and prudent St. Teresa reminds us of the example of the sons of Zebedee, James and John, whose mother asked Jesus to declare that her sons should sit at his side in the kingdom. The Gospel tells us, "But Jesus answered, 'You do not know what you are asking'." St. Teresa reminds her Sisters of this many times in her writings, as she reminds us all in today's quote from the Interior Castle: we may think we are prepared to face trials in our spiritual life, but God knows what is best for us. "There's no need for us to be advising Him about what He should give us, for He can rightly tell us that we don't know what we're asking for."
At the end of his canonical visitations to the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Poland, St. Raphael Kalinowski would offer words of encouragement to each monastery: "Love is strong as death. And just as nothing can resist death, love gives strength to triumph over every challenge. Then you don’t feel pain, and if you do you welcome it. From this fire of God’s love the flame of love of neighbor arises.
St. Teresa of the Andes meditates on the Carmelite call to a life of perfection: "Perfection of life consists in drawing close to God... What is the life of a Carmelite if not one of contemplating, adoring, and loving God incessantly?"
If you desire to possess profound peace in your soul... surrender your whole will to God so that it may thus be united with him
Joseph de Beaufort learned in his first conversation with Brother Lawrence that "we must nourish our souls with an exalted idea of God, and thereby we will draw great joy from being with him."
O most glorious Virgin Mary, most sweet mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, my good Advocate, have mercy on me...
St. Raphael of St. Joseph provides an answer to the question, "How does one become perfect and holy?"
St. Teresa proposes obedience as the solution to the "interior battle" between our self-will and God's will for us: "it means making Him Lord over the free will He has given us."
Having stated previously that "there is no path that leads more quickly to the highest perfection than obedience," today St. Teresa intends to explain why, in her opinion, obedience "is the quickest or best means for reaching this most happy state."
St. Teresa drives to the heart of her teaching on prayer, obedience, and perfection: "there is no path that leads more quickly to the highest perfection than obedience."
If you desire to discover peace and consolation for your soul and to serve God truly, do not find your satisfaction in what you have left behind