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Theme:
Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross

Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross

Summary: Sunday, April 19 — Friday, April 24, 2020

Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross were part of the “final supernova” of nondual, mystical consciousness in 16th century Spain. (Sunday)

Our hearts open either because they have been softened, or perhaps because suffering makes us feel like we have nothing more to lose. It often takes us to the edge of our inner resources where we “fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). (Monday)

It was the deeply mutual and loving nature of the “spousal” prayer Teresa entered into with God that led to such bold and faithful action. (Tuesday)

For the first time in [John’s] life, he questioned the existence of a God he could no longer feel or remember. He cried out, “Where have you hidden, my Beloved?”

Echoing from this cry came an outpouring of love poetry to God. —Mirabai Starr (Wednesday)

John’s core intuition is that the Infinite Love that is the architect of our hearts has made our hearts in such a way that nothing less than an infinite union with Infinite Love will do. —James Finley (Thursday)

Night signifies that which comes upon us and takes us out of our own control; it announces that as the place of resurrection. A God who heals in darkness— this is John’s word of hope in a destabilized world. —Iain Matthew (Friday)

 

Practice: Without Expectation

Even though I’ve said this at other times, it’s so important that I repeat it here: it is that souls shouldn’t be thinking about consolations at this beginning stage. It would be a very poor way to start building so precious and great an edifice. –Teresa of Ávila

We have long needed someone to bring Teresa of Ávila out of the rarified air and into the world that we all inhabit, where Teresa lived and where the Gospel lives to this day. Enjoy this practice from the book Meditations with Teresa of Ávila: A Journey into the Sacred by Megan Don. She writes:

It is easy to become lured into spiritual sensationalism, that is, expecting to have experiences that make us feel especially connected to the Beloved. While we pray and meditate, we may see, hear, or feel the divine presence in many ways. However, it is also possible, and often very likely, that we will not experience the divine in any form. The soul may feel, as a result of this lack of experience, that it is not making the desired connection and therefore that something is wrong. . . .

Under no circumstances, said Teresa, are we to give up our time of prayer and meditation, no matter how tedious it becomes; this would be like saying that since we are no longer receiving anything, we will not spend our time this way. Can you imagine acting like this with our friends and lovers? What if, in a moment of not receiving anything from them, we ceased spending time with them?

The small amount of time we do spend in prayer and meditation, Teresa believed, should be given wholly to the Beloved—we should consider it not ours but the Beloved’s. And we should become determined never to take it back—not for any trial or challenge we experience, not for any contradiction in our life, not for any dryness we experience in prayer. Ultimately, what Teresa is saying is that no matter what is occurring in our life, we are not to abandon the relationship that is the very core of our existence.

Living with the Beloved does not always mean being bathed in delight and tenderness (even though this is what we would all prefer). What it does mean is serving the divine relationship with fortitude and humility. When things in our life become less than pleasurable, naturally we want them to become easier. Teresa ascertained, however, that such a desire lacks the freedom our spirit requires. The spirit needs to roam where it is guided, and we can join in this courageous adventure by allowing it to accomplish what it is here to do.

Coming into your quiet place of being, bring yourself fully into the presence of the Beloved, not expecting anything, only coming to give—of yourself and your time. Give freely, and allow yourself to simply be with the One who loves you. Let your spirit roam where it needs to—let your courage emerge to help you. Bless your life for all that it is.

References:
Megan Don, Meditations with Teresa of Ávila: A Journey into the Sacred (New World Library: 2011, ©2005), 73–75.

Epigraph: Interior Castle, II:1.7. See The Collected Works of Teresa of Ávila, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez, vol. 2 (ICS Publications: 1980), 300.

For Further Study:
Tessa Bielecki, Teresa of Ávila: Mystical Writings (Crossroad Publishing Company: 1994)

Tessa Bielecki, Holy Daring: The Earthy Mysticism of St. Teresa, the Wild Woman of Ávila (Adam Kadmon Books: 2016)

The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez, 3rd ed. (ICS Publications: 1991)

The Collected Works of Teresa of Ávila, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez, (ICS Publications: 1980)

Iain Matthew, The Impact of God: Soundings from St John of The Cross (Hodder and Stoughton Ltd: 1995)

Richard Rohr, James Finley, and Cynthia Bourgeault, Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate . . . Seeing God in All Things (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2010), CDDVDMP3 download

Richard Rohr and James Finley, Intimacy: The Divine Ambush (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2013), CD, MP3 download

Richard Rohr: Essential Teachings on Love, eds. Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Orbis Books: 2018)

Mirabai Starr, Saint Teresa of Ávila: Passionate Mystic (Sounds True: 2013)

Mirabai Starr, St. John of the Cross: Devotions, Prayers and Living Wisdom (Sounds True: 2008)

Image credit: A Vision of the Holy Trinity (detail), anonymous Brazilian painter, 17th century, Museu de Arte Sacra da Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: I like to say that Teresa and John were part of the “final supernova” of nondual, mystical consciousness in 16th century Spain, before it all but disappeared in Europe for five hundred years in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the invention of the printing press. Both Teresa and John wrote detailed accounts of their lives and experiences with God, which makes them very accessible teachers. —Richard Rohr
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Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross

John of the Cross: Poet, Pastor, Mystic
Friday, April 24, 2020

Father Iain Matthew is a contemporary Carmelite priest from England and author of The Impact of God: Soundings from St John of The Cross. My copy is all marked up, so brilliant are his insights on the predictable impact of God on the soul. In this passage he explores the mystical and symbolic power of the “night” for John and how it can encourage us today.

Poet, pastor, mystic, John [of the Cross] is first a witness to the impact of God in his life. He has taken the risk of surrender, and can speak with the authority of one who has been there. He testifies to a God who, precisely, is pressing in to meet, to change, and to fill us in our deepest need. . . . Love changes people, and John’s witness to God’s love may help us to trust and to be brave.

A generous God is fine when things are running smoothly. But what [about] when they are not and darkness is invading? What [about] when trusted patterns have broken down, or we feel too far gone to bother even trying? We dwell at outer limits, and some events in life—loss, failure, stress, sin—remind us of the threat of chaos.

That is where John of the Cross stands: at the threshold of uncertainty; and he assures us that what dwells beyond is not simply chaos. The darkness bears the Spirit of God, who broods over the waters of death and has power to work a resurrection. . . . In our darkness, he finds Jesus’s darkness; and what he echoes is the impact of Easter. . . .

Night: we cannot stop it, or hasten it; it just comes, and it teaches us every twenty-four hours that we are not in complete control. John does seem to think there is something important here. Others speak of growth, suffering, purification, but ‘we are calling’ it ‘night’; [1] calling it ‘“dark night,” very appropriately’ [2] . . . .

John’s Toledo imprisonment and escape gave to the symbol ‘night’ its full weight. . . . [For him] the symbol is able to carry humanity’s pain, able to hold even such a sense of alienation from God that the inner self feels dismantled. . . . That is the resonance of the symbol for John. Night signifies that which comes upon us and takes us out of our own control; it announces that as the place of resurrection. A God who heals in darkness—this is John’s word of hope in a destabilised [sic.] world.

We have all experienced some form of “night” in our lives, of lack of control and certainty. But we are also fortunate to have wise and good guides like John of the Cross to accompany us, reminding us that we are not abandoned by God in those times, but loved more deeply than we can imagine all the way through them.

References:
[1] John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, book 1, 1.1, as cited in Matthew, 160.

[2] John of the Cross, The Dark Night, Prologue, as cited in Matthew, 160.

Iain Matthew, The Impact of God: Soundings from St John of The Cross (Hodder and Stoughton Ltd: 1995), 1, 3, 51, 55–56.

Image credit: A Vision of the Holy Trinity (detail), anonymous Brazilian painter, 17th century, Museu de Arte Sacra da Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: I like to say that Teresa and John were part of the “final supernova” of nondual, mystical consciousness in 16th century Spain, before it all but disappeared in Europe for five hundred years in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the invention of the printing press. Both Teresa and John wrote detailed accounts of their lives and experiences with God, which makes them very accessible teachers. —Richard Rohr
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Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross

Made for Infinite Love
Thursday, April 23, 2020

Jim Finley, my friend and fellow teacher at the CAC, began studying the mystics at the Abbey of Gethsemani at age eighteen, with Thomas Merton as his novice master. He remembers when he first read this excerpt from the Prologue to the Ascent of Mount Carmel by St. John of the Cross:

A deeper enlightenment and wider experience than mine is necessary to explain the dark night through which a soul journeys toward that divine light of perfect union with God that is achieved, insofar as possible in this life, through love. The darknesses and trials, spiritual and temporal, that fortunate souls ordinarily undergo on their way to the high state of perfection are so numerous and profound that human science cannot understand them adequately. Nor does experience of them equip one to explain them. Only those who suffer them will know what this experience is like, but they won’t be able to describe it. [1]

Jim describes the effect John’s writing had on him:

Now, I could tell in the first paragraph, I was in deep water, and I could also tell as I kept reading that just a lot of it was going right over my head. But in John’s poetry, and from the very first paragraph of his prose, I sensed that his words were coming from some very deep place inside of him, or really coming from some deep place and [going] through him, and then intimately accessing that deep place in me. There was a certain resonance in realizing he was talking about something that I didn’t understand; but I knew mattered very, very much. And, as I kept reading on in that way, it got clearer and clearer to me. I am now over 76 years old, and I am still reading John of the Cross. He is one of my teachers. . . .

John’s core intuition is that the Infinite Love that is the architect of our hearts has made our hearts in such a way that nothing less than an infinite union with Infinite Love will do. It’s the setup in the beginning. For Infinite Love to create us in the image of itself is for Infinite Love to create us as a capacity to receive the forms of Infinite Love as our destiny. That love is our origin, love is our ground. That Infinite Love creates us as a capacity for love, for love’s sake alone. Love is the fabric of the true nature of everything that’s happening. This is the love nature of life.

[Richard again: Throughout these weeks, I have been praying, trying to understand how, as Jim puts it, “love is the fabric of the true nature of everything that’s happening.” How can it be that God’s love is at work and present in the tragedies around the globe right now? But knowing what harrowing circumstances John of the Cross was in when he came to experience the infinite love of God gives me hope and perseverance.]

References:
[1] John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Prologue, 1. See The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez, 3rd ed. (ICS Publications: 1991), 114–115.

Adapted from Richard Rohr and James Finley, Intimacy: The Divine Ambush (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2013), disc 1 (CD, MP3 download).

Image credit: A Vision of the Holy Trinity (detail), anonymous Brazilian painter, 17th century, Museu de Arte Sacra da Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: I like to say that Teresa and John were part of the “final supernova” of nondual, mystical consciousness in 16th century Spain, before it all but disappeared in Europe for five hundred years in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the invention of the printing press. Both Teresa and John wrote detailed accounts of their lives and experiences with God, which makes them very accessible teachers. —Richard Rohr
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Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross

Prayer in Captivity
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

In 1567, when Teresa of Ávila was 52 and deeply involved in her attempts to reform the Carmelite Order and create the Discalced (or “barefoot”) Carmelites, she met the newly ordained John of the Cross. Though he was only 25 years old, Teresa persuaded him to join her cause. In her book St. John of the Cross: Devotions, Prayers, and Living Wisdom, spiritual teacher Mirabai Starr, who has translated many works by both John and Teresa, tells the story of John’s loyalty to their shared mission of reformation:

Juan de la Cruz was twenty-nine years old and madly in love with God. The great living saint Teresa of Ávila had recognized a rare sanctity and brilliance in this humble young friar and placed him in charge of her first reform convent [in 1572].

Then late one night [when John was thirty-five], threatened by this movement to return the order to the contemplative path embodied by the Desert Fathers and Mothers, the mainstream Carmelites whisked him away and imprisoned him in Toledo.

His cell was a tiny closet that had formerly served as a latrine. There was not enough room to lie down, and the only window was far above his head. . . .

Twice a day the friars took him out and flogged him. [Hard to imagine, isn’t it?  But the church was still trapped in retributive justice, which has lasted until our time among a high percentage of Christians, because that is the way the entire world operates. –RR]

“Denounce Teresa!” they demanded. “Renounce the heresy of this so-called reform!”

But he would not betray the dream. The dream of a life of voluntary simplicity, solitude, and silence. A contemplative life based on the Gospel teachings of poverty of spirit and charity of heart. A life of stripping away rather than accumulating. Of relinquishing power and seeking nothing. Of nothing but loving friendship with the divine and loving service to [God’s] creation. . . .

As the months ground by, [John] began to fear that he had been abandoned by the Holy One. For the first time in his life, he questioned the existence of a God he could no longer feel or remember. And, as his soul dried up, he found he could no longer even conceive of this God to whom he had dedicated everything. When he tried to pray, all he encountered was a cavernous emptiness.

He cried out, “Where have you hidden, my Beloved?”

Echoing from this cry came an outpouring of love poetry to God. He committed each poem to memory and recited them all again and again until they were etched on his heart. His poems became simultaneously a call to and a response from his Beloved. . . .

At last [after nine long months], one dark night, a sympathetic guard turned the other way as the frail friar made his escape. Taking refuge among the sisters in a nearby convent, he fell into an ecstatic state [of love for God], from which he never recovered.

Reference:
Adapted from Mirabai Starr, St. John of the Cross: Devotions, Prayers and Living Wisdom (Sounds True: 2008), 1–4.

Image credit: A Vision of the Holy Trinity (detail), anonymous Brazilian painter, 17th century, Museu de Arte Sacra da Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: I like to say that Teresa and John were part of the “final supernova” of nondual, mystical consciousness in 16th century Spain, before it all but disappeared in Europe for five hundred years in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the invention of the printing press. Both Teresa and John wrote detailed accounts of their lives and experiences with God, which makes them very accessible teachers. —Richard Rohr
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Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross

Contemplation and Action
Tuesday, April 21, 2020

This is a great favor for those to whom the Lord grants it; the active and the contemplative lives are joined. . . . The will is occupied in its work and contemplation without knowing how. –Teresa of Ávila

Author Tessa Bielecki writes about Teresa of Ávila as an extraordinary example of action and contemplation. In addition to her physical suffering, Teresa also suffered from difficult life circumstances, including the suspicion of church authorities who disapproved of her visions, her Carmelite reforms, and her status as a converso, a member of a Jewish family that had converted to Catholicism (likely under duress).  In her book Holy Daring, Bielecki shows us that it was the deeply mutual and loving nature of the “spousal” prayer Teresa entered into with God that led to such bold and faithful action:

Teresa . . . is not only one of the greatest contemplatives in the Western spiritual tradition, but also one of its greatest activists. Tremendously involved with people and projects, constantly on the go, Teresa still found time to make prayer a priority.

She founded new convents at the rate of one and sometimes two per year. . . . She was an ingenious administrator with a flair for organization, an astute diplomat, and wise in the world of finance, litigation, and contract negotiation. Her financial worries, business deals, and personnel problems certainly challenged her life of prayer, but never spoiled it. . . .

Contemplation and mysticism . . . both mean loving experiential awareness of God: not ideas in the head or on the lips, but personal living experience. In the Teresian tradition, this experience takes a special form which spiritual writer William McNamara calls “spousal prayer”. . . . [It is sometimes called bridal mysticism and is found in the Bible in the Song of Songs.]

Teresa uses the various stages in human courtship to describe the stages of prayer. First we meet [with God], exchange gifts and get acquainted. Eventually we are betrothed, and then finally we marry. True love deepens and grows gradually, over a lifetime. . . .

But the matter does not end here. Another consequence of prayer is far more demanding: generous, self-spending, and exhausting service. . . . The proper relationship between these two consequences is clear in the teachings of Jesus. First, he  says, “Love the Lord your God with all your mind and heart and soul and body.” Espousal. Second, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Service. [see Mark 12:30–31] . . .

As our prayer grows deeper and more authentic, we want to spend ourselves serving God and the world created out of divine love.

To be clear, this type of “spousal” or unitive prayer is not just for single or celibate people; it is available to all of us who are willing to risk surrendering our hearts and lives fully to God.

References:
Adapted from Tessa Bielecki, Holy Daring: The Earthy Mysticism of St. Teresa, the Wild Woman of Ávila (Adam Kadmon Books: 2016), 37–38, 42, 65–66, 67.

Epigraph: The Way of Perfection, 31.5. See The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Ávila, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez, vol. 2 (ICS Publications: 1980), 155.

Image credit: A Vision of the Holy Trinity (detail), anonymous Brazilian painter, 17th century, Museu de Arte Sacra da Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: I like to say that Teresa and John were part of the “final supernova” of nondual, mystical consciousness in 16th century Spain, before it all but disappeared in Europe for five hundred years in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the invention of the printing press. Both Teresa and John wrote detailed accounts of their lives and experiences with God, which makes them very accessible teachers. —Richard Rohr
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Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross

Courage in Times of Trouble
Monday, April 20, 2020

Tessa Bielecki is a Christian hermit in the tradition of the Desert Mothers and Fathers. Co-founder of the Spiritual Life Institute, she was a Carmelite monk and Mother Abbess for almost 40 years, establishing experimental monastic communities of men and women in Arizona, Colorado, Nova Scotia, and Ireland. She has written extensively on the life, spirituality, and enduring legacy of Teresa of Ávila. Bielecki writes that Teresa has much to teach us about suffering:

For over forty years, [Teresa] never spent a single day without physical pain. For most of her life she suffered such nausea that she vomited daily and couldn’t eat until noon. She suffered the little illnesses that afflict us all—colds, headaches, stomachaches, toothaches, and flus. But she also suffered from high fevers, fainting spells, heart trouble, neuritis, tinnitus, her maimed left arm, a three-year paralysis, severe convulsions, a four-day coma, and the influenza that almost killed her in 1580, aged her terribly, and left her palsied for the last two years of her life. . . .

As a result of her experience, Teresa teaches us that poor health is not an obstacle to spiritual growth but actually enhances it. Why? We learn patience and surrender. We learn how to transcend the body and rise above both sickness and health altogether. . . .

Through this, as in all else, Teresa learned how to let go of her own will and trust in God. She vehemently asserts that we must “determine once and for all to swallow death and the lack of health,” or there will be no hope for us. [Italics mine.] [1]

In a letter to the convent at Seville that she had founded, Teresa writes:

Courage, courage, my daughters. Remember, God gives no one more troubles than [she] is able to bear, and [God] is with those who are in tribulation. [2]

And in a letter to one of her spiritual directors, the Dominican Father Gracián, she reflects:

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. [3]

Richard again: Suffering, of course, can lead us in one of two directions. It can make us very bitter and close us down, or it can make us wise, compassionate, and utterly open. Our hearts open either because they have been softened, or perhaps because suffering makes us feel like we have nothing more to lose. It often takes us to the edge of our inner resources where we “fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Let us all pray for the grace of this second path of softening and opening.

References:
[1] Tessa Bielecki, Teresa of Ávila: Mystical Writings (Crossroad Publishing Company: 1994), 111–112, 113.

[2] Teresa of Ávila, Letter no. 264 (January 31, 1579). See Bielecki, 130.

[3] Teresa of Ávila, Letter no. 122 (October 23, 1576). See Bielecki, 149.

Adapted from Richard Rohr: Essential Teachings on Love, eds. Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Orbis Books: 2018), 177–178.

Image credit: A Vision of the Holy Trinity (detail), anonymous Brazilian painter, 17th century, Museu de Arte Sacra da Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: I like to say that Teresa and John were part of the “final supernova” of nondual, mystical consciousness in 16th century Spain, before it all but disappeared in Europe for five hundred years in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the invention of the printing press. Both Teresa and John wrote detailed accounts of their lives and experiences with God, which makes them very accessible teachers. —Richard Rohr
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Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross

Praying in Our Time
Sunday, April 19, 2020

As of today, like many of you, I have been in self-isolation for several weeks. Honestly, it is a bit like when I sometimes go on a hermitage during Lent; except now, of course, my prayers are with the innumerable people who are ill with COVID-19 and so many who are grieving loved ones who have died. My heart is heavy for the health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers who continue to put themselves at risk every day. I’m also concerned about the many people now facing financial challenges, or whose marginalization has only been made worse by the virus. This type of prayer leads us to experience solidarity with the suffering.

For all the helpers, including people like yourselves who are doing what you can to meet the needs of loved ones and those who are suffering, I offer this excerpt of a prayer from my friend Mirabai Starr, who is a translator of Teresa of Ávila’s works:

You [Teresa] lived that beautiful balance
Between active service
And quiet contemplation.
Teach us to be of use in this troubled world
At the same time that we cultivate
Joyous intimacy
With the Beloved who lives inside us. [1]

I am truly grateful for the people who are living this truth out through their actions in this time of crisis. And there is more we can do, even as most of us stay at home. A few years ago, I wrote, somewhat facetiously, that the Church should close all programs for a year and simply teach people to pray. It seems to me we may unintentionally have just such an opportunity right now, although I sincerely hope it won’t last a year!

In this week’s Daily Meditations, we will meet with two great teachers of prayer, Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) and John of the Cross (1542–1591). Teresa was canonized (declared a saint) in 1622 and named the first woman Doctor of the Church in 1970. A Doctor of the Church is someone whose teaching can be trusted. Teresa is recognized as the Doctor of Prayer. John, known as the Mystical Doctor, was canonized in 1726 and named a Doctor in 1926.

I like to say that Teresa and John were part of the “final supernova” of nondual, mystical consciousness in 16th-century Spain, before it all but disappeared in Europe for five hundred years in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the invention of the printing press. Both Teresa and John wrote detailed accounts of their lives and experiences with God, which makes them very accessible guides.

One of Teresa’s most famous teachings is a poem known as “Teresa’s Bookmark” that was found in her own prayer book after her death:

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing upset you.
Everything changes.
God alone is unchanging.
With patience all things are possible.
Whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone is enough. [2]

I hope Teresa’s words will bring you some comfort in this challenging time.

References:
[1] Mirabai Starr, Saint Teresa of Ávila: Passionate Mystic (Sounds True: 2013), vii.

[2] Teresa of Ávila, “Nada te turbe,” from Starr, Passionate Mystic, 24.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate . . . Seeing God in All Things (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2010), CDDVDMP3 download.

Image credit: A Vision of the Holy Trinity (detail), anonymous Brazilian painter, 17th century, Museu de Arte Sacra da Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: I like to say that Teresa and John were part of the “final supernova” of nondual, mystical consciousness in 16th century Spain, before it all but disappeared in Europe for five hundred years in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the invention of the printing press. Both Teresa and John wrote detailed accounts of their lives and experiences with God, which makes them very accessible teachers. —Richard Rohr
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