The Way of Perfection: St. Teresa of Avila
In this famous spiritual classic the great St. Teresa of Avila comes down from the heights of contemplation that she described in her Autobiography. Here, she starts at the beginning in the matter of prayer, teaching a simple form of mental prayer by which one may progress far in a short time.
In the first half of the book, St. Teresa gives man fascinating insights into the spiritual life - especially as lived in a convent - regarding relatives, confessors, health, and snares of Satan, supernatural vs. natural love, etc. In the second half she tells how to begin a life of prayer. She explains what contemplation is and how it differs from ordinary mental prayer and from vocal prayer. In the process, she analyzes the Pater Noster or "Our Father" phrase by phrase, showing its hidden meanings and explaining how to transform our vocal prayer into mental prayer. St. Teresa assures us that those who practice this simple mental prayer may well hope that God will grant them the "prayer of quiet," which is the beginning of contemplation and of God's heavenly "Kingdom" enjoyed even on this earth.
The Way of Perfection again shows St. Teresa's wonderful combination of common sense, strong catholic faith and amazing spiritual energy and penetration. In this book she shares her own ardent spirit, encouraging us in our efforts to serve God and assuring us that these efforts will be rewarded far beyond what we might ever deserve or can possibly imagine.