Teresa of Avila: Is Prayer Just ‘Spending Time with God’?

Sculpture of Teresa in Avila, Spain.

I was drinking my coffee this morning at the local coffee shop while reading the daily lectionary. Along with Matthew 13–where the disciples beg Jesus to let them peek at the answers at the back of the book (“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”)–there was this confounding quote from Teresa of Avila. Five hundred years later and she’s still able to make me set down my coffee in surprise!

“Prayer is not just spending time with God. It is partly that–but if it ends there, it is fruitless. No, prayer is dynamic. Authentic prayer changes us–unmasks us–strips us–indicates where growth is needed. Authentic prayer never leads to complacency, but needles us–makes us uneasy at times. It leads us to true self-knowledge, to true humility.”–Teresa of Avila

For a delightful short video series on the life of Teresa of Avila, check out Sister Donna on YouTube.

2 comments

  1. Please, if you have the source/book of the writings of St. Teresa of Avila that contains this quote, it would be MUCH appreciated.
    Deacon Mike Kubasek

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    • I first saw this translation of Teresa of Avila in a collection by Joan Chittister. I believe it is from The Way of Perfection.

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