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Tag Archives: Teresa of Avila

A Leader’s Prayer

Let nothing disturb you,Nothing frighten you;All things are passing;God never changes;Patient endurance attains all things;Whoever possesses God is wanting in nothing;God alone suffices. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

A Leader's Prayer

Let nothing disturb you, Nothing frighten you; All things are passing; God never changes; Patient endurance attains all things; Whoever possesses God is wanting in nothing; God alone suffices. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Our Greatest Longing and "Goal"

Most Christians are more focused on the here-and-now than on the then-and there, i.e., our future life that is anchored in heaven (Heb.6:19). Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1647-1652) and his sculpture of Teresa of Avila. and the angel with the spear, portrays the following episode from her autobiography where she describes her encounter with God. We see in her a picture of our greatest longing: I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could. Read more.

Going Deep into Yourself to Know God

It was Meister Ekhart, a Dominican writer from the 13th century, who wrote: “No one can know God who does not know himself.”  Teresa of Avila said, “Almost all problems in the spiritual life stem from a lack of self-knowledge.” I am convinced that discerning God’s will, especially for leaders with diverse interests like myself, requires  an ever-deepening knowledge of oneself. Without it we find ourselves beyond our limits and overloaded. (Commitment to Scripture and the willingness to do God’s will, of course, is assumed). Why? Because God reveals Himself through what we cannot not do. He made us that way. The following story comes from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke as he advises a young man wondering if he should be a poet. The counsel applies to each of us as we sort out God’s priorities: “You ask whether your verses are good. You ask me. You have asked others before. You send. Read more.

Book Review: Opening to God – "Life as Prayer"

This past Christmas I gifted each of our staff with a copy of David Benner’s book, Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer. In light of our human limits, it is not possible to be excellent at everything -e.g. counseling, managing budgets, strategic planning, preaching,  casting vision. Yet if our work is provide leadership in the church of Jesus, I think prayer may be the most important area where we need to grow in excellence. What might that look like? Benner’s book gives us some very helpful clues. The following are a few of my notes from this timely book: 1. As Teresa of Avila says, the important thing in prayer is not to think much but to love much. 2. Prayer is God’s action is us. Our part is simply to allow divine love to so so transform our hearts that the love of God will spring forth as a response. Read more.

Teresa of Avila's Seven Mansions – Prayer

This past summer I got to know Tom Ashbrook, one of the founders of an evangelical monastic order called Imago Christi, a ministry of spiritual formation within Church Resource Ministries He later gave me a copy of his doctoral dissertation on Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle and I was deeply impacted. I reread the Interior Castle as a result and found his work immensely helpful in my own prayer journey as well as our work in helping others to pray. Most evangelicals, he argues (rightly in my opinion), do not get beyond the 3rd mansion to the 4th and beyond. There are seven mansions.   He writes: “As the believer enters the 4th Mansion, there develops a divinely bestowed absorption in knowing, loving, and seeking God.  God has now enflamed the heart. The motivates are driven by love rather than by obligation, personal gain, blessing others, or even doing the right thing  The beloved has heard the. Read more.