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By Way Of Prayer - Part 20

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  • Paul Buis
    Dear Sisters and Brothers in Carmel, Here is the next meditation on St Teresa of Avila s The Way of Perfection . Twentieth Meditation (Chapter 38-39)
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2004
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      Dear Sisters and Brothers in Carmel,

      Here is the next meditation on St Teresa of Avila's "The Way of

      Twentieth Meditation (Chapter 38-39)

      "Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No
      temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and
      he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation
      will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
      (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)


      The temptations of false virtue,
      Bewitch the well-intentioned heart;
      Self-satisfaction is a clue,
      Perfection's not reached at the start.

      Virtues are granted and withdrawn --
      Borrowed treasures that aren't possessed:
      At times, held firm; at others, gone -
      Faithful servants strive without rest.

      The false virtues, rooted in vice,
      Lacking the Lord's presence and peace,
      Beguile the soul and entice
      It to loose heart - good works decrease.

      She seeks shelter in poverty:
      Clinging to truth simple and pure;
      Distrusting her own piety --
      Knowing only His mercy's sure.

      Deliverance from temptation --
      The humble heart's vindication.

      "Those whom they fear. are the traitorous enemies, the devils who
      transfigure themselves into angels of light, who come disguised. let us ask
      and often beg the Lord in the Our Father to free us and not let us walk into
      temptation, so that they will not draw us into error or hide the light of
      truth from us, that the poison will be discovered. Strive always, Sisters,
      for humility and to see that you are unworthy of these favors; do not seek
      them. The way the devil can do a great deal of harm, without our realizing
      it, is to make us believe we have virtues when we do not. If it seems the
      Lord has already given us virtue, let us understand that actually it has
      been received and that it can be taken away, as in fact often happens. if
      this poverty of spirit is not genuinely present at every step, as they say,
      the Lord will abandon us. he does it so that we might be humble. The truly
      humble always walk in doubt about their own virtues. Now be also on your
      guard, daughters, against types of humility given by the devil in which
      great disquiet is felt about the gravity of our sins. Humility does not
      disturb or disquiet or agitate, however great it may be; it comes with
      peace, delight, and calm. this humility expands it and enables it to serve
      God more. stop thinking about your misery, insofar as possible, and turn
      your thoughts to the mercy of God. The devil sets up another dangerous
      temptation: self assurance in the thought that we will in no way return to
      our past faults and worldly pleasures. never proceed with such
      self-assurance that you stop fearing lest you fall again; and be on guard
      against occasions of sin. let your prayer always begin and end with
      self-knowledge. Prayer is a safe road; you will be more quickly freed from
      temptation when close to the Lord than when far." (1)

      May the Lord deliver us from the subtle temptations that ensnare our souls,
      enlighten our paths with His truth, and secure each of our steps with true
      poverty of spirit.

      your brother in Carmel,

      Paul Buis, ocds

      P.S. The booklet of meditations "By Way of Prayer" can now be ordered from
      1. from The Way Of Perfection - A Study Edition, text
      prepared by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD, Copyright © 2000 by Washington Province
      of Discalced Carmelites, ICS Publications 2131 Lincoln Road, N.E.
      Washington, D.C. 20002-1199 U.S.A.)
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