Quotations by Teresa of Avila


Always think of yourself as everyone’s servant; look for Christ Our Lord in everyone and you will then have respect and reverence for them all.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
“Maxims for Her Nuns,” #25

In Complete Works St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 3 (1963) [ed E. Allison Peers]

Added on 27-Jul-10 | Last updated 27-Jul-10
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Be gentle to all and stern with yourself.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
“Maxims for Her Nuns”

In Complete Works St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 3 (1963) [ed. Peers]

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Jun-10
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Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
“Maxims for Her Nuns”
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Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and there is only one Glory, which is eternal. If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
“Maxims for Her Nuns”

In Complete Works St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 3 (1963) [ed. Peers]
Added on 28-Oct-15 | Last updated 28-Oct-15
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Be not perplexed,
Be not afraid,
Everything passes,
God does not change.
Patience wins all things.
He who has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
“Poem IX”

Alt trans., Complete Works St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 3 (1963) [ed. Peers]:
"Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee:
All thing pass;
God never changes.
Patience attains
All that it strives for.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing:
God alone suffices."

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From silly devotions and sad-faced saints, O Lord, deliver me.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
(Attributed)

Variant: "God, deliver me from sullen saints."
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To have courage for whatever comes in life — everything lies in that.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
(Attributed)
Added on 20-Jul-10 | Last updated 20-Jul-10
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Believe me, it is not length of time spent in prayer that brings a soul benefit: when we spend our time in good works, it is a great help to us and a better and quicker preparation for the enkindling of our love than many hours of meditation.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
Foundations, ch. 5 “On Prayer” [tr. Peers]
    (Source)

Alternative translations:

And let souls believe me that it is not the length of time spent in prayer that benefits one; when the time is spent as well in good works, it is a help in preparing the soul for the enkindling of love. The soul may thereby be better prepared in a very short time than through many hours of reflection.
[tr. Kavanaugh / Rodriguez]

And, believe me, it is not the length of time which makes a soul advance in prayer, but when being called to other works by obedience and charity, they do these duties well, then (as I have said) the soul advances so much, that in a very short time she is better prepared for enkindling within her the love of God, than (wanting in those works) she would be by spending many hours in meditation.
[tr. Dalton]

But believe me, what helps a soul to advance is not the spending long hours in prayer, but it is a great help to be employed also in active works, so that the soul is better disposed to enkindle its love in a very short space of time than by spending many hours in meditation.
[tr. Mason]
Added on 5-Mar-21 | Last updated 5-Mar-21
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We cannot know whether we love God, although there may be strong reason for thinking so; but there can be no doubt about whether we love our neighbor or not. Be sure that, in proportion as you advance in fraternal charity, you are increasing your love of God, for His Majesty bears so tender an affection for us that I cannot doubt He will repay our love for others by augmenting, and in a thousand different ways, that which we bear for Him.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
Interior Castles, “Fifth Mansion,” ch. 3 [tr. Benedictines of Stanbrook (1921)]
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God gave us faculties for our use; each of them will receive its proper reward. Then do not let us try to charm them to sleep, but permit them to do their work until divinely called to something higher.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
Interior Castles, “Fourth Mansions,” ch. 3 “Prayer of Quiet” [tr. Benedictines of Stanbrook (1911)]
Added on 29-Jun-10 | Last updated 24-Jun-10
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