Spiritual Classics: Teresa of Avila – Detachment; Love; Humility

Teresa of Avila ( (28 March 1515 – 4 October 1582) wrote two books for which she is most famous. The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle are considered “practical blueprints for ‘seekers’ who want to really understand prayer as mystical union with God.” Born just two years before Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of Castle Church of Wittenberg, Teresa grew up in the midst of the turmoil of the Protestant Reformation. She was a staunch defender of the Roman Catholic Church and considered Lutheranism an “unhappy sect”, praying fervently that God would somehow “remedy this great evil” that had come into the world.

Teresa was more concerned, however, with reform within her own church. She focuses her attention on teaching people to pray, to experience an intimacy with God and to learn how to be fully in love with God. Of particular interest to her was the nature of the relationships of the nuns in her convent. Her teachings regarding their community life together have contemporary application as we seek to be “A Worshiping Community”, “Walking in the Way of Jesus” together.

We will focus on three specific aspects of her teaching: Love, Detachment, and Humility. The first woman to be named a “doctor of the church” (in 1970 by Paul VI), Teresa’s writings have taken on a timeless quality that makes them essential reading for those looking for a closer relationship to God and neighbor.

Scriptures:  Luke 10:17-20;  Matthew 19:23-30;  Deuteronomy 8:1-3

Sermon: Detachment; Love; Humility


Article on St. Teresa of Avila.

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.