The Way of Perfection: A Study Edition

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ICS Publications, 2000 - Religion - 534 pages
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St. Teresa of Avila is an unsurpassed teacher of Christian prayer, and in The Way of Perfection she is at her best. Now with the help of this study edition and its helpful commentary and explanations by Teresian expert Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, everyone can enjoy the benefits of her wisdom.

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     A Study Edition, with Introduction, Commentary, Discussion Questions, and Glossary.

     St. Teresa of Avila is an unsurpassed teacher of Christian prayer and spirituality, and in The Way of Perfection she is at her best. Now, with the help of this study edition, everyone can enjoy the benefits of her wisdom.

     In The Way of Perfection, St. Teresa gives practical counsels and advice on prayer, destined originally for the few nuns who embraced the reformed Carmelite life she established. As a handbook for spiritual formation, it presented them with the basic Christian spirituality undergirding their Constitutions and Rule.

     Over the centuries, the book's appeal has reached far beyond the walls of Carmelite monasteries, and The Way of Perfection has become a spiritual classic. More and more today, Teresa's instructions speak to all those interested in prayer, providing them with basic guidelines for praying and showing how to avoid potential pitfalls. But as the readership and interest grow, so does the need for some help in working with this sixteenth-century text.

     The principles and teachings in Teresa's book, first presented within the limited horizons of her own situation, clearly lend themselves to broader applications, and can work well in all walks of life. This study edition-with its introduction, commentary, notes, discussion questions, and glossary-provides what is needed to assist contemporary readers in making these applications and delving more deeply into the text's spiritual riches. 

 

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Contents

Abbreviations
4
Prologue
29
Chapter
37
Sed libera
42
Treats of how one should not worry about bodily
43
Continues the subject she began to discuss in
53
Urges the observance of the rule and discusses
65
Continues on the subject of confessors Speaks
77
Tells how important it is to begin the practice
229
Explains what mental prayer is
241
Treats of how important it is for one who has
251
How vocal prayer must be recited with perfection
259
Tells how much the soul gains through a perfect
269
Explains a method for recollecting ones mind
277
Deals with the great love our Lord showed us in
289
Explains the nature of the prayer of recollection
299

Returns to the subject already begun that of perfect
85
Treats of the same subject spiritual love and gives
95
wardly and outwardly from all created things
107
On how good it is for those who have left
113
How it is not enough to be detached from what
121
Continues to discuss mortification and speaks
129
How the true lovers of God will have little regard
135
Continues to discuss mortification and how
145
The importance of not allowing anyone to make
153
The great good that lies in not excusing oneself
161
The difference that must lie between the perfec
169
Not all souls are suited for contemplation
181
Continues on the same subject and tells how
193
Begins to discuss prayer Speaks to souls unable
203
2O How in different ways consolation is never lacking
219
Continues to present means for obtaining this
317
3O The importance of understanding what is being
327
Continues on the same subject Explains the
337
Discusses the words of the Our Father Fiat
355
Deals with the great need we have that the Lord
369
With a prayerful exclamation to the Eternal
391
Speaks of the excellence of this prayer the
413
Continues the same subject gives advice about
429
Speaks of the fear of God and of how we must
449
nos a male Amen But deliver us from evil Amen
461
Notes
473
Glossary
501
Index
517
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About the author (2000)

Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada was born at Avila, Old Castile, 28 March, 1515; died at Alba de Tormes, 4 Oct., 1582.

She was the third child of Don Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda by his second wife, Doña Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, who died when the saint was in her fourteenth year. Teresa was brought up by her saintly father,who was a lover of serious books, and a tender and pious mother. After her death and the marriage of her eldest sister, Teresa was sent for her education to the Augustinian nuns at Avila, but owing to illness she left at the end of eighteen months, and for some years remained with her father and occasionally with other relatives, 

notably an uncle who made her acquainted with the Letters of St. Jerome, which determined her to adopt the religious life, not so much through any attraction towards it, as through a desire of choosing the safest course. Unable to obtain her father's consent she left his house unknown to him on Nov., 1535, to enter the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation at Avila, which then counted 140 nuns. 

The wrench from her family caused her a pain which she ever afterwards compared to that of death. However, her father at once yielded and Teresa took the habit.


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