Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Way of Perfection

Disclaimer: I am not perfect nor do I claim to be as such. But I like peanut butter and penguins; I believe this to be a positive step in a good direction. 

After returning from Spain, I decided I wanted to read the works of St. Teresa of Jesus, one of the great Spanish mystics and one of only three female Doctors of the Catholic Church. So I decided to start my quest with The Way of Perfection because I heard it was easier than some of her other works.
Well, only a few days before Easter, I have finished it, so here's what I think:
It's interesting. St. Teresa has an extremely low opinion of herself, which can be frustrating at times. Towards the end of the book she says something along the lines of "St. Paul could do all things through Christ who strengthened him but then there are sinners like me..." I'm not sure what sins she committed and I don't care. But it's obnoxious at times.
The book was also written specifically for the nuns of her convent and she frequently addresses herself to her "sisters" or "dear sisters." You might not appreciate that. 
Beyond those two complaints, it's really good. I'd recommend it to most girls I know. I think guys would get something from it. 
The book gives advice to the members of her order-the Order of Carmelites Discalced. It's good advice for anyone, regardless of whether or not they are a nun or whether or not they wear shoes. At times, she and I disagree, but that's okay. She primarily discusses prayer with an emphasis on contemplative prayer and a further emphasis on the meaning behind The Lord's Prayer. 
It is well-written and enjoyable. I read it during Lent and found it very helpful. 
I give it 4.5 out of 5.

But I don't know how St. Teresa felt about penguins and peanut butter was invented long after her death.

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