The Apostolate of St. Teresa of Ávila

St. Teresa of Ávila

Carmelites are “prayer in the heart of the Church” and, as such, our apostolate is to pray for priests and evangelists. We must be fervent and faithful in this task, for the active apostolate depends on the contemplative apostolate. Our prayers and their service will win souls for Christ. In the following reflection, St. Teresa of Ávila reminds us to be faithful in the battle for souls.

The following reflection is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Ávila

“O Lord, my whole yearning is that, as You have so many enemies and so few friends, these last should be trusty ones. Therefore I am determined to do the little that is in me; namely, to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as I can, and ... to pray for those who are defenders of the Church, and for the preachers and learned men who defend her. O Lord, since I am not strong enough to defend Your Church myself, I want to strive to live in such a way that my prayers may be of avail to help these servants of Yours, who, at the cost of so much toil, have armed themselves with learning and virtue and have labored to defend your Name.

A single one who is perfect
will do more than many
who are not.”

“O my God, I wish to try to live in such a way as to be worthy to obtain two things from you: first that there may be many of these very learned and religious men who have the qualifications for their task, and that You may prepare those who are not completely prepared already; for a single one who is perfect will do more than many who are not. Secondly, that, after they have entered upon this struggle, You may have them in Your hand so that they may be delivered from all the dangers that are in the world, and, while sailing on this perilous sea, may shut their ears to the song of the sirens. If I can prevail with You, my God, in the smallest degree about this, I shall be fighting Your battle even while living a cloistered life.

“I beseech Your Majesty to hear me in this; miserable creature that I am, I shall never cease to beg You for this, since it is for Your glory and the good of Your church, and on these my desires are set. The day that my prayers, desires, disciplines and fasts are not performed for the intentions of which I have spoken, I shall not have fulfilled the object for which You, O Lord, called me to the contemplative life.”

Catherine's picture

About the author

Catherine is a member of Our Lady of Mercy Lay Carmelite Community. “An apostle must pay with himself for those he wants to win [for Christ].” Divine Intimacy, 326,2

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About the author

Teresa of Jesus was born at Ávila in Spain in 1515. She entered the Carmelite Order and made great progress in the way of perfection and was granted mystical revelations. Wishing to share in the spiritual renewal of the Church of her time, she began to live her religious life more ardently and soon attracted many companions, to whom she was like a mother. She also helped in the reform of the Carmelite friars, and in this had to endure great trials. She wrote books which are renowned for their depth of doctrine and which showed her own spiritual experiences. She died at Alba in 1582.