Here are some selected quotes on prayer from St. Teresa of Avila who was a Carmelite nun who lived in the 1500’s in Spain. St. Teresa was a reformer of religious orders and is most remembered as a deeply mystical writer about the contemplative life through interior or mental prayer. Her book Interior Castles details the stages of her inward prayer journeys toward a mystical union with God. Despite the deepness of her work, the following quotes on prayer are very practical to help guide us in our own prayers.
“The most potent and acceptable prayer is the prayer that leaves the best effects. I don’t mean it must immediately fill the soul with desire . . . The best effects [are] those that are followed up by actions—–when the soul not only desires the honor of God, but really strives for it. ”
“I would never want any prayer that would not make the virtues grow within me.”
“Vocal prayer . . . must be accompanied by reflection. A prayer in which a person is not aware of Whom he is speaking to, what he is asking, who it is who is asking and of Whom, I don’t call prayer—–however much the lips may move.”
“Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.”
“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”
‘One must not think that a person who is suffering is not praying. He is offering up his sufferings to God, and many a time he is praying much more truly than one who goes away by himself and meditates his head off, and, if he has squeezed out a few tears, thinks that is prayer. ”
Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world.”
Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
Prayer about a Busy Life
How is it God, that you have given me this hectic busy life when I have so little time to enjoy your presence? Throughout the day people are waiting to speak with me, and even at meals I have to continue talking to people about their needs and problems. During sleep itself I am still thinking and dreaming about the multitude of concerns that surround me. I do all this not for my own sake, but for yours.
To me my present pattern of life is a torment; I only hope that for you it is truly a sacrifice of love. I know that you are constantly beside me, yet I am usually so busy that I ignore you. If you want me to remain so busy, please force me to think about and love you even in the midst of such hectic activity. If you do not want me so busy, please release me from it, showing others how they can take over my responsibilities.