The Way of Perfection

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Of all of Teresa of Avila’s works, The Way of Perfection is the most easily understood. Written at the height of the controversy surrounding the reforms Teresa instituted in the Carmelite order, it instructed the nuns in the practice of prayer. Teresa discusses the three essentials of a prayer-filled life — fraternal love, detachment from material things, and true humility. Her counsels on these are the fruit of her practical experience. The book develops these ideas and takes up directly the matters of prayer and contemplation. Teresa gives various maxims for the practice of prayer and concludes the book with her masterful and impassioned version of the Lord’s Prayer. “How is it that Thou canst give us so much with Thy first word?” she says of the “Our” at the beginning of that prayer.

The simple and practical nature of this mystical classic will appeal to all who seek a life of wholeness.