Intimate Friendship with Jesus Christ—from the Perspective of St. Teresa of Avila

It was through the lens of intimate friendship with Jesus Christ that the many foundations of St. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila) were begun. In her book, “The Way of Perfection,” she wrote: “All my longing was and still is that since He {Jesus} has so many enemies and so few friends that these few friends be good ones. As a result, I resolved to do the little that was in my power; that is, to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as I could and strive that these few persons who live here do the same.” Her life was a witness and testimony to this intimate friendship with Jesus. We must be diligent in seeking the Lord and answering “His Call.” St. Teresa counsels us on how to develop this relationship: “Represent the Lord Himself as close to you and behold how lovingly and humbly He is teaching you. Believe me, you should remain with so good a friend as long as you can. If you grow accustomed to having Him present at your side, and He sees that you do so with love and that you go about striving to please Him, He will never fail you. He will help you in all your trials; you will find Him everywhere.” (“The Way of Perfection 23.2; 26.1). It is through a frequent, intimate conversation in prayer and in the sacraments, that we can more easily grown in our union with Jesus. In this program, Mark and Frances discuss the importance of developing this friendship with Christ through the life and counsel of our Mystic and Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila).

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Scripture:  1 Jn 4:17-19; Jn 15:13; Jn 14-15

Articles: “Springtime of Faith Conference: The Toolbox of Pope Benedict,” Nashville.

“Christ in the Mysticism of St. Teresa” by Father Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD.

“Teresa of Avila and Friendship” by Susan B. Cordsen;

Books: “Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1,2 and 3, ‘ The Book of Her Life,’ ‘The Way of Perfection,’ and ‘Interior Castle’” trans. by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.

“15 Days of Prayer with Saint Teresa of Aivla” by Jean Abiven; Liguori.

“Let Nothing Trouble You: 60 Reflections from the Writings of St. Teresa of Avila,” Compiled by Heidi S. Hess; Servant Publications.

“Friendship with Christ: Love and Service” by Sister Mary of Jesus and St. Joseph, OCD; Carmel, Schenectady, New York, 1972.

The Marian Devotion of St. Teresa of Avila

How did St. Teresa of Avila express her Marian devotion and how might we imitate her? Although St. Teresa did not write a major work on the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is no doubt the importance she played in St. Teresa’s life, from her youth up through her founding many monasteries. One may ask, what place did the rosary have in her prayer life? What was the importance of the Virgin Mary in St. Teresa’s prayer? Did she have some mystical encounters involving the Blessed Mother? And, for today, how might we grow in our devotion to our Heavenly Mother? 
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 Scripture: Lk 1:35


“The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1, 2, and 3,” Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.

 “Sermon in a Sentence: a Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life, Vol. 4, St. Teresa of Avila,” Selected and Arranged by John P. McClermon; Ignatius Press


“Saint Teresa of Jesus and the Virgin Mary” found at www.ocd.pcn.nt/mad_en1.htm

The Ripple Effect of St. Teresa of Avila

Even after 500 years, the ripple effect of St. Teresa of Avila is being felt all around the world. Her writings on prayer and loving Christ have become “classics” in mystical and Catholic literature. How has she effected you? Being a Doctor of the Church, we know her teachings have universal appeal…and not just to Catholics. Even today, new books are being written on her by philosophers, literary critics, historians, psychologists, spiritual directors, and ordinary people. As a mystic, she continues to be a trailblazer in growing in the spiritual life, sharing her prayers and her experiences so vividly that one is convinced of her authenticity. As a Reformer, she saw the value of returning to the primitive roots of Carmel, but also, challenging the status quo in regards to the value of the contemplative life and the call to mental prayer for all. Her value of Love and Friendship shows off her affability and affection that reached from the lowest to the highest of the classes in her time. As “La Madre” of the Discalced Carmelite Order, her appeal rings loud and clear as she provides solidarity with fellow travelers as well as guidance into the depths of intimacy with our Lord. Having founded 17 monasteries of nuns and 15 of the friars, she was a bedrock for all to build upon. Call upon her intercession. There’s no doubt she is still working to bring souls to Christ!
Book: “Teresa of Avila: Mystical Writings” by Tessa Bielecki, Crossroad New York.
Pamphlet: “OCDS Constitution” for the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.

Dan Burke

For this particular broadcast, Frances and Mark welcomed into the studio Dan Burke. Dan is founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction, the most widely read blog on the topic of authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan founded the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation and is also the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio. Dan is also the author of the award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life, Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. During this lively discussion, Dan offers great insight into the lesser known writings of St. Teresa of Avila, her individual correspondence and letters. Through the use of these letters, Dan brings out Teresa’s remarkable combination of strength and humility. He discusses her approach to Spiritual Direction, touches on her playful but serious approach to the practice of spiritual devotions, and offers encouragement for the practice of the Ascetic life. At the same time, Dan offers deep insight into his own experience of suffering and our need to take our spiritual journey very seriously. And of course, like St. Teresa, Dan offers encouragement and serious direction on our need to develop our daily prayer life. This is a wonderful conversation for those who may yet be struggling with their need to get down to praying.

Poetry and Prayer with St. Teresa

In the on-going series on poetry and prayer, Mark and Frances explore the prayerful poem by St. Teresa of Avila entitled, “In the Hands of God.” This wonderful reflection by St. Teresa is her own version of prayerful abandonment to the will of God. Much like the more later prayer penned by St. Therese of Lisieux, titled ‘Act of Oblation to Merciful Love,’ this poem by St. Teresa is a heartfelt outpouring of her deep desire to place everything in the hands of her Heavenly Father. Mark and Frances walk through each verse of the poem and provide both the literal explanation as well as uncover the deeper meaning of Teresa’s words. This is a great introduction not only to one of St. Teresa’s great poems, but also to the use of poetry as a means for vocal, meditative and even contemplative prayer.

“The Writing and Letters of St. Teresa of Avila #1″ with special guest Lisa LaRosa

Although St. Teresa of Avila said she was NOT a writer, she has a compilation of writings that would dwarf many an author today. Special guest, Lisa LaRosa, tells us about St. Teresa’s writing starting with an early novel as well as her four most famous major works. Additionally, St. Teresa’s minor works cover a vast terrain from biblical commentary to post-communion reflections and meditations, to spiritual challenges, satire, poems, instructional works, and more. Her personal letters, of which 468 were found, covered the years 1546-1582. We get a candid look at St. Teresa’s personal thoughts and expressions and concerns as well as gems of wisdom that are very applicable to our lives today. We begin with some of the early letters and will continue the series throughout the year highlighting some of the letters with the most notable points. St. Teresa, pray for us!

Quotable Quotes of St. Teresa of Avila, #1

“Quotable Quotes of St. Teresa of Avila, #1″ with host, Frances Harry, along with Guest, Chris Cotter, OCDS. We will be focusing on some of our favorite quotes of St. Teresa of Avila. Some topics to be covered: St. Teresa ‘s conversion story from the “Book of Her Life,” important points about prayer, what she says about “the cross,” her approach to Confession, the importance of “Love, Detachment, and Humility” for growth in the spiritual life, and why we should practice mortification.

St. Teresa of Avila on Prayer

During this conversation Frances Harry interviews Mark Olson, a member of the Dayton community of the Secular Order of Discaled Carmelites. This program in a continuation of the conversation on the article written by respected scholar and Carmelite Priest, Father Ernest Larkin, on St. Teresa of Avila on Prayer. Here Frances and Mark explore the goal of union with God (spiritual marriage, transforming union). The conversation focuses on “The Way” to the “Goal” via the mansions. Several points about the first 3 ascetical mansions are made which then reaches a transition point or bridge of the 4th mansion to the mystical mansions of the 5th, 6th and 7th mansions.

The Interior Castles III

“In this program Mark and Frances continue their conversation on St Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castles. Here they will explore the latter part of the 6th Dwelling where the soul is encouraged to continue to reflect on the humanity of Christ, most especially His passion. This is also where the soul experiences God through intellectual visions which serve to transform the soul at its deepes core. They will also discuss the 7th Dwelling, where the soul begins to experience complete Transforming Union.”

Spiritual Life

Have you ever wish for mystical “flights of spirit?” have you wondered how the saints disposed themselves for intimate union with God? Listen into this interesting conversation on what a Doctor of the Church and a Master of prayer, St Teresa of Avila has to say about these any other topics in the spiritual life. Learn how we can begin to make real progress in our spiritual journey.