Even the most fiercely burning fires need stoking to keep their flame alive. In today’s world, it’s not uncommon for to see more flickering flames than raging fires, though. If you’re desiring more than just a flickering flame, I’d like to introduce you to Saint Teresa of Avila.
Teresa of Avila’s sainthood is powerful because it looked a lot like our experience of the world.
The more I learn about the saints, the more I am convinced that sainthood is attainable.
Teresa treated holiness as a non-option. There were moments she didn’t love what the Lord asked her to do, but her response was always one of total surrender. She understood that there was no other path to choose as worthy or fulfilling as holiness.
Teresa’s raw and real story of pursuing the Lord’s heart can inspire us to draw near to God, too. Here are some of my favorite quotes from Teresa!
“Even when you are in the kitchen, Our Lord is moving among the pots and pans.”
Honestly, this may be my favorite saint quote of all time. It’s a staunch reminder that God is in our most mundane moments.
Teresa would levitate because she was so in tune with our Lord in prayer. But, she took the time to remind other holy-aspirationals that while God is in those moments pretty obviously, he’s also in the not-so-obvious moments.
I love to clean and organize but for some reason, my energy runs out at dishes. This quote to me feels like an invitation. Even at my most exhausted, the Lord is moving.
If you need a fire lit in your heart again, don’t try to leap all the way to hours of prayer and fasting.
Start where you are: among the pots and pans of everyday life.
“Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends.”
Teresa struggled greatly to focus in her mental prayer. I relate to this in a big way. Like many of us, I have a tendency to not take a moment of quiet all day to focus on what needs to be done. This means that by the time I do take a quiet moment for prayer . . . it ends up being a to-do list, a grocery list, a mental checklist of bills to pay and laundry to fold.
Begin by intentionally dedicating fifteen minutes to letting your mind settle each day. Then, we can actually make a conversation with the Lord possible and fruitful.
When you talk to the Lord, it’s not small talk with a stranger. It’s an outpouring of your innermost self with your closest friend—the one who knows you better than anyone.
“Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed.”
Even when we don’t take our time in conversation with the Lord, we can still always be in a state of prayer but adopting it as an attitude.
Every day, our actions can speak as a witness to our faith—otherwise known as a prayer.
Consider how God would want you to respond to a situation. Suddenly, you have the prayerful response! In those frustrating moments when you aren’t sure how God would respond, simply say, “Come, Holy Spirit,” and invite him to tell you.
“No wonder you have so few friends.”
The history of this quote is attributed to Teresa’s response to the difficult cuts she was being asked to make with earthly things and people.
When she complained to the Lord about not wanting to give up her friends or their lifestyles, she heard Jesus say, “This is how I treat my friends.” This quote was her response.
The exact quote from Teresa is more refined than this. However, the common daily translation has become this simple observation, aimed at none other than Jesus himself. This cavalier, borderline harsh comment isn’t surprising considering Teresa said that prayer is an intimate conversation between two friends.
I know this seems like an out of place one to include in a list of ways we can draw closer to God. But Teresa was so close to Jesus that she could be raw and honest with him about what hurt.
Make it a goal for yourself to be so close to Jesus that you have the power to follow through on his call, and ask him for help when it’s the last thing you want to do.
“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of him.”
God is a God who loves. Teresa knew this. She used this intrinsic truth to drive everything she did and everything she was as a believer.
When we surrender our expectations or preconceived notions and we ask him to do big things for us, we’re inviting him to work on an open canvas. We are telling the Lord, our faith is ready, God. Give us what you’ve got.
That’s the attitude that makes a fiery saint.