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The Way of Perfection

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  2,428 ratings  ·  80 reviews
St. Teresa of Avila was a prominent 16th-century Spanish mystic andCarmelite nun. This is her great work on the practice of prayer, consisting of detailed directions on the achievement of spiritual perfection. It has long been considered a classic of the interior life and Christian mysticism, and modern readers will appreciate its warmth and accessibility. ...more
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Published (first published 1583)
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booklady
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone serious about the spiritual life
There’s a reason I keep coming back to this book. Prayer – like anything you want to learn to do well – requires training, practice, time, diligence, patience, and discipline. Most people don’t understand this, or they don’t accept it. They recognize these things are necessary for sports or hobbies, but prayer? Or a relationship with God? You just pray when you need to, however you want.

Teresa’s advice in Way of Perfection, though written 500 years ago to a group pf cloistered nuns, is as
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booklady
I don’t know how many times I’ve read The Way of Perfection--which doesn’t seem so much like a book as a conversation, albeit one-way. Teresa wrote this for her sisters so her voice is warmly familiar, at times consoling, then chiding-admonishing but in a loving maternal manner.
This was my first opportunity to read it using the Institute of Carmelite Studies (ICS) Edition Study Guide. If you really want to understand the text, I cannot recommend this guide enough. Each chapter contains the
...more
Doreen Petersen
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
A must read for all Catholics.
Karin
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rarely rate a book five stars, but this one certainly deserves the rating. The Way of Perfection
by St Teresa of Avila is probably one her easier books to read. She wrote it for her sisters, but there is much for the lay man or woman to take from it as well.
The majority of the book focuses on the saint's treatise of the Our Father.She calls it the prayer of perfect contemplation.
Within the context of the petitions of this prayer, she teaches many lessons on praying the prayer itself, on
...more
Brian
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The heart of this book is St. Theresa's explanation of the Our Father (Paternoster)and how it can guide you in prayer, from vocal prayer to contemplation. St. Theresa is an excellent writer whose humility makes her discussion of prayer simple to follow, if not practice. Her humor comes through the more you read her works.
Magnus Itland
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Way of Perfection" is written for younger nuns, St Teresa's spiritual daughters as she thought of them. It is personal, informal and humble. The saint has been told that some people are wary of mysticism and contemplation, so she teaches her fellow nuns how to go about their ordinary vocal prayers with layer upon layer of depth and meaning which they can use if they are afraid of the wordless contemplation (what we today often call meditation.)

I am not a Catholic, but I can not doubt that
...more
Diane
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saint Teresa of Avila's classic work on the spiritual life, concentrating on avoiding worldly distractions and earnest prayer. Very simple but also very powerful.
Wanda
The funny thing about this book is that technically it should not be a good book at all. The writing is rather rambling, the author loses her train of thought and backtracks a lot, the sentences are long and loopy, etc. Yet it is a great book! Once I started reading I simply got pulled along as if by a strong current. I could not put the book down or even think of anything else. An amazing experience!
David Huff
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating book by a 16th Century Carmelite nun, written to give spiritual instruction to the younger nuns under her care in a Spanish convent. Found on most every "spiritual classics" list, it still speaks today -- centuries later -- with much insight on prayer, humility, Christian community, and spiritual growth.

While Teresa often rambles and digresses, it's never without purpose, and the deep humility of her own heart is easy to discern. Her topics progress from loving one another and
...more
April
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(2017) This was my second time reading this book cover to cover. It's so rich it's impossible to take it all in at once. It really works best studying small passages at a time and letting them digest before moving on. This is one of the best books ever written on the spiritual life; and I don't say that just because I'm a Carmelite. St. Teresa transcended boundaries. She is rightly a Doctor of the Church. Follow her paths honestly and truthfully and you can't help but become a saint.

(2013
...more
Frank
Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the type of book I can read over and over. St. Teresa is a Doctor in the Catholic Church and so her writings teach something special. I have read this book before but I think the Audio method is even better. It is like her standing there and explaining how to pray. This book is all one needs to really learn what prayer really is all about and how to do it. I know of know other book that will help one reach perfection through prayer as this one does.
Ann
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was written for her fellow sisters in the convent. I enjoyed the section on the Our Father and the description of the 3 types of prayer.
Lawrence Jakows
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saints
Jesus: Perfect Love

[Book excerpt from Jesus: Perfect Love, p. 40-41]

St. Teresa of Avila, also known as St. Teresa of Jesus, was a sixteenth-century nun, mystic, Holy Mother of the Discalced Carmelite Order and Doctor of the Church.

St. Teresa of Jesus comments on the age-old choice of choosing the world versus choosing God:

“Those into whose souls the Lord has already infused true
wisdom do not esteem this love, which lasts only on earth, at
more than its true worth—if, indeed, at so much. Those who
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Fr. Daniel Carr
Saint Teresa of Avila is well known for her mysticism and spirituality. But she is also a very realistic, sensible, and down-to-earth writer. Her advice in The Way of Perfection seems to cut to the heart and be relevant to her readers. I found myself thinking "this is exactly what I need to hear right now" more than once.

Since I have been reading this book over a period of 4-5 months, it would be hard for me to summarize the book. The later chapters go through the "Our Father" prayer and discuss
...more
Jennifer
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has two parts. In the first part, Teresa of Avila talks to the nuns in her convent about living in community. The second part, which I found the most profitable, was her exposition on the Lord's Prayer. She grabbed me from the first moment when she said to think about all that is implied in the first two words, that Jesus begins with "Our Father" rather than "My Father."

Some of her thoughts that I particularly liked: "The topsy-turviness of this world is terrible."

"For anyone to whom
...more
Jeannine
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After having read Interior Castles, I found this one to be a bit slow going, at first. However, once I pushed forward, I found that this was, once again, a well-written explanation of the contemplative life. Using the Lord's Prayer as the foundation, she takes the reader through the process of prayer as well as the purpose. Even though I find her continuous self-doubt (or excusing herself for being a mere woman) to be a bit tiring, the message itself is incredibly moving.
Frank
Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title says it all. Teresa from back in the 1500s is still as modern as if written today. This is truly a classic on the practice of prayer. She has a very unique way of leading one along the way of prayer, one that is easy to read but not always that easy to put into practice. It is a book to be read and reread again and again. It really does help one to pray.
Yee
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read another version of this book, and didn't manage to complete it. The text is not easily accessible. One gets lost by the time one gets to the Fifth Room. It's too mystical; one doesn't know what Saint Teresa is talking about. It starts to just make no sense.
Anne Bishop
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Inspirational

I started reading this to learn more about the author. Then joined a group discussing the book. If you are searching for knowledge about St. Teresa of Avila this might be a good place to start.
Kitty
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The essence of the book is St. Teresa teaching her young nuns how to love to pray. I found the second half of the book a good lesson for all on how to pray and avoid distractions.
Erik
Included in the "Spiritual Classics" section of Fr. John McCloskey's 100-book Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan.
Shawn Johnson
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is for anyone who calls themselves a 'prayer warrior'. Kind of complex, but if you read 10 pages a day...I think you will notice some things happening within yourself....:) check it ot!!
zaK young
Jun 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
if you notice something in someone else's behavior that needs changing; instead of correcting that person, try to emphasize the opposite traits in your own behavior.
Todd Brown
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chapter 28 is outstanding.
Keith
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Keith by: Connie Minnich
This edition is based on the translation of E. Allison Peers, itself based on the latest Spanish critical editions of the time. However, two chapters (3 and 5) pertaining directly to life in a religious order have been eliminated from this popular edition for lack of broader appeal. The present editor has further modernized the language, replacing archaic terms with modern English equivalents (e.g., Thou to You) and shifting passive to active voice.

This certainly makes for a livelier read and
...more
Samantha
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summah-2016
This was the first book of St Teresa's that I've read before. In it, her charism advocates for unrelenting hope, humility, and an emphasis on the often overlooked but simple tools of the spiritual life (vocal prayers, that contemplation is not necessarily critical, etc).

I learned three things about God that I had not got into my brain quite as well before. One, that no matter how holy a person may seem, he or she is always in danger of sin. So we must always pray. Second, however, that even
...more
Russ
This is a very readable, even domestic, work from a 16th century Spanish mystic. I have somehow not read her before, other than some brief excerpts, and I gather that this is not representative of her more mystical works. Steeled for something more like St. John of the Cross, it took me awhile to get used to her tone. Once I did, though, I found her an engaging thinker who uses some wonderful images and extended similes to make her points.

The book was written at the behest of her fellow nuns as
...more
Barbara Hosbach
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on her own experience, St. Teresa shared the landscape for others on a spiritual journey. My favorite part is the way she reflected on the Lord's Prayer one profound phrase at a time. It is not the kind of book that can be rushed through. This is the second time I've read this book and I'm sure I could read it many more times and continue to uncover new insights. It's a bit like holding a teaspoon under Niagara Falls, but the drops that stick are so worth it! As she said in Chapter 19, ...more
Yolanda
Nov 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dove
The information is good, I found it difficult to follow throughout the entire book. This will go on the list to try for an audio book.
Craig
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read The Way of Perfection before re-reading The Interior Castle. I'm glad I did. Teresa has a way of making the contemplative life seem so real and possible for everyone. Her interpretation of the Our Father becomes an entire path leading to God awareness. This is not a book just to be read. It is a book to practice. Written primarily for the nuns in her care I found it sometimes difficult to follow but no doubt the failing is mine. I will be re-reading this book as well as her ...more
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Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesús, was a prominent Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, and writer of the Counter Reformation. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be, along with John of the Cross, a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. In 1970 she was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.

Born in Ávila, Spain, on March 28, 1515, St. Teresa was the
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“Prayer and comfortable living are incompatible.” 10 likes
“I cannot understand how humility exists, or can exist, without love, or love without humility,” 8 likes
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