The great saints and writers of the Christian church all have much to teach us. I embarked upon reading some of the classic writings of the historic church some years ago and my only regret is that it took me this long. One such writer is St. Teresa.
Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515 – 1582) was a prominent Spanish mystic and Carmelite nun. She was a theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. She is considered to be, along with John of the Cross, a founder of the Discalced Carmelites.
One of St. Teresa’s most important contributions to the spiritual life of the church came though her teaching on mental prayer. This is how I discovered her writings to be so truly helpful in my journey.
But what is mental prayer?
Mental prayer is a form of prayer in which one loves God through dialog and by meditating on God's words. It is a time of silence focused on God. It is distinguished from vocal prayers which use set prayers, although mental prayer can proceed by using vocal prayers in order to improve dialogue with God. St. Teresa put it this way: "Mental prayer