By Way Of Prayer - Part 20
- 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Virtues are granted and withdrawn --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.)