Sunday, December 14, 2014

Catholic Review: The Way of Perfection

The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Ávila, March 1, 2009 (originally published in 1583). 183 pages. Published by Paraclete Press. Source: Borrowed from Mom.
God will always give us more than we ask for

Millions have read and benefited from this book since it was first written nearly 500 years ago. St. Teresa's message of humility, simplicity, persistence, and faith is replete with language that is at times earthy, and full of self deprecating humor.

Rendered here into contemporary English, St. Teresa's words, with their warm-hearted approach to Christian transformation, will help you look deeply into what it really means, sometimes in the smallest of details, to have a relationship with Jesus.
"Teresa lays out the time-tested path of Christian tranformation and union with God for those of us who will never be monastics, much less desert-dwelling hermits. Who among us does not need to know how to turn trouble into spiritual good, how to lovingly bear minor slights and major wounds, how to forgive and offer compassion?"
Paula Huston, from the Foreword

Well, it has taken me all year to get through this really short book. The reason being is that I had relegated The Way of Perfection as my adoration read. So, between only reading a few pages here-and-there, I only finished it last week. Although, I feel that I have absorbed more of St. Teresa of Avila's writing and what she was talking about by taking my time reading her book. It gave me plenty of time to think about what I'd read.

When I first picked The Way of Perfection out from my mom's book collection for the reading, I was somewhat intimidated about starting it because it was written by St. Teresa who, in my mind, sounded like a difficult read. While it did take me a couple chapters to get into St. Teresa's writing style, I found her subject, that of prayer and the different forms that it comes in, was quite interesting and well done.

When it comes to St. Teresa of Avila, what made it difficult to take that step towards reading her works was that it seemed that her writing would possibly not be concise and straight forward. So, imagine my relief when her writing came across as for personal and down-to-earth. Even though it took the right frame of mind, that of one willing to ponder over her words, I found that there was much within The Way of Perfection that I needed to read. I really enjoyed how she broke down the "Our Father" prayer and expanded upon the meaning of certain parts of it. It was really incredible to see how one could look at the various parts of that prayer and use it to further one's relationship and understanding of God's plan. I really cannot due this section of the book justice as it is hard to really explain what I, personally, found while reading her thoughts on it.

One of the things that made this an enjoyable read was hearing about the different forms of prayer-vocal and mental. I had never really considered that there was all that much difference in the way one prayers, but I found I was mistaken. Though, what really made it interesting was the points she laid out as to how they each shape one's prayer life.
   After finishing The Way of Perfection, I feel that my personal prayer life has evolved from what it once was. The various layers of prayer, both asking and listening, seem to have finally made a connection with my brain in how they are both important.

Final Verdict: The Way of Perfection: While a really great read, this is one book that needs to read over many, many days in order to think upon everything without overloading your brain.

The Way of Perfection earns

this book was borrwed, all thoughts are my own.

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