Author Archives: Bharati Kansara

ST TERESA OF AVILA PRAYERS

DAY SIX

Now we reach the essence – the sine qua non of the spiritual life.  For the way to love God is love for our neighbor and to take on sincerely and humbly his problems, his fears and grievances and to try to alleviate them as best we can.  For there is no loving God in a vacuum, sealed off from community.  We should be prepared to give all for our neighbor, even life itself, for God, in his love for us, sacrificed his most precious possession, his only beloved son, Jesus Christ.  Without sacrifice and loving service to our neighbor, we can achieve nothing.   Bharti

PRAYER:  If we fail to love our neighbor,

we are deceiving ourselves

if we think we love God.

But if we possess a true love of neighbor

we will certainly attain to union with our Lord.

Beg God to grant you true love of others

and you will be rewarded with more

than you know how to desire.

God will insist that you surrender your self-interests

for those of your neighbor,

taking upon yourself their burdens. 

Do not believe that this will cost you nothing

And that you will find it all done for you by God.

Never forget what the love God bore for all of us

cost the Son of God.

To free others – his neighbors – from death,

he suffered the most painful death of all,

the death of the cross. 

MANTRA:   Love your neighbor as you love yourself. 

EVENING PRAYER:   For if I do not love others

I cannot fool myself into believing

that I love you.

I am, I know, as this day ends

very far from such a love.

But hear my prayer.

When I see others,

let me see you.

If I love them,

I will love you,

and I will want for nothing.

ST TERESA OF AVILA PRAYERS

DAY FIVE

How prescient was St Teresa!  She knows all our foibles, our procrastinations, our false starts, our doubts and fears, our lack of self-confidence.  And yet, she tells us never to give up, and if we do, to get right back on the path, for as long as we are sincere and persevering, God will help us and never fail us.  Let us not imagine ever that the path is easy and we can traverse it quickly, for the path is truly like a razor’s edge, and to stay on will require determination and courage the like of which we have never experienced before. As long as we stay faithfully on the path, God will transform us beyond all our expectations.  Bharti

PRAYER:   You have yet to conquer your passions.

Yet by the very fact that you seek to love God,

you expect to be extremely brave, as brave as a saint. 

You find yourself praising the Lord,

but at the same time knowing deep sadness of soul.

Do not be troubled, but hope in the Lord.

For if you desire to do the will of the Lord,

if you pray and hope in the Lord

and do what you can for yourself

God will bring about in your soul

all that you desire.

It is very, very important that our weak natures

should have great confidence,

and not be dismayed.

We should think that if we do our best,

we will be victorious.

MANTRA:  Let me not try to fly before God gives me wings.

EVENING PRAYER:  Especially as this day ends, remind me

that perfection is not attained overnight.

I know that if I desire to do your will, O Lord,

if I pray and hope in you

and do what I can for you,

you will bring about in my soul all that you desire.

It is very, very important, I know,

that my weak nature

should have great confidence in you, and not be dismayed.

If I do my best, I will be victorious.

I will fly, but not before you give me wings.

St Teresa of Avila Prayers

DAY FOUR:

This prayer truly speaks to me. I was just in Big Sur last week, and I held hands with my son Gautam and we were able to climb up steep rocks and run down cliff faces fearlessly with laughter in our hearts.  So I totally understand that if we know securely that we have God’s hand to hold on to, we can brave every peril and remove all doubt and fear.  Above all, we can accomplish anything that our imagination can conceive. Reach out and grasp God’s hand and suddenly all fear vanishes.    Bharti

PRAYER:  Whoever truly loves you, my God,

travels by a broad and royal road,

travels securely far away from any precipice.

Hardly do we stumble, even in the slightest degree,

when you, O Lord, give us your hand.

One fall – even many falls –

if we love you and not the things of this world,

will not be enough to lead us to perdition.

MANTRA:  Anyone who truly loves God

travels securely.

EVENING PRAYER:

Let me not be afraid to set out on the road to perfection,

If I truly love you, my God,

I will travel securely by a broad and royal road,

far from any precipice.

If I stumble in the slightest,

you will be there, I know,

to reach out your hand

and catch me before I fall completely.

St Teresa of Avila Prayers

DAY THREE:

The prayer of Day Three is like a calming balm to the fretful anxieties of daily life.  It soothes the unquiet mind, removes the stress of quotidian problems and fills the soul with serenity.  Yes, we must carve out our own path in life and solve the problems that beset us on every side. However, we have the immense comfort of knowing that we are not alone, we are never alone, for God walks with us and if we trust in him, we will have no need of anxiety of any kind. We can stride forward confident that our needs will be met and we will have the courage and wherewithal to face life’s challenges.         Bharti

PRAYER:  I believe the Lord helps those

who set out to do great things for his sake

and never fails those who trust in him alone,

who depend on him to meet all their needs.

This does not mean that I am excused from seeking to help myself,

only that in trusting him I will be free from anxiety.

MANTRA:  Do not be anxious

about what you are to eat and put on, but leave it to God.

May God grant you, as he has granted me,

the gift of freedom from anxiety. 

EVENING PRAYER:  You never fail those who trust in you alone,

who depend on you to meet all their needs.

I will not, with your help, be anxious about what I am to eat and put on,

but leave it to you, God.

Grant me, as you granted Teresa, the gift of freedom from anxiety.

For if I have you, God, I will want for nothing.

You alone suffice. 

St Teresa of Avila Prayers

DAY TWO:   This prayer of Day Two pierces me sharply.  Knowing as we all do of the imminence and unpredictability of death which can strike us at any time, how is it possible I ask myself that my days can still be filled with so many distractions and vanities of the world?  It shames me to think how little time I spend proportionately in my day thinking of God and the life of the soul. And it fills me with immense humility to know that God waits patiently for me to change my values and seek him out above all things, for I have done so little to merit so faithful a lover. The best I can do is to dedicate the actions I take and the causes I fight hard for to God.      Bharti

PRAYER:  What need we have of God’s mercy,

lest the easy attractions of the world delude us into forsaking

what we have so tentatively begun, lest we fail to persevere

in our desire to answer God’s invitation to peace.

We need to persevere in our desire to love the Lord

and in out attempts to make some return to him

for so many proofs of his love,

especially his constant, persevering presence in our soul.

This faithful lover never gives up on us.

MANTRA:  God is willing to wait for me

for many a day, even many a year.

EVENING PRAYER: I hear you, O Lord, calling to me

and promising me your peace,

even though I am still caught up in the pleasures and vanities of this world.

But so much do you desire that I should seek your company,

that in one way or another you never cease calling to me.

I have been, I know, slow to answer,

unable and unwilling to do your bidding at once.

But I need not be downcast or discouraged

if you can find in my heart perseverance and desire

to respond to your invitation to peace of soul.

For if I have you, God, I will want for nothing.

You alone suffice.

St Teresa of Avila Prayers

What is time?  It is so elastic a concept.  St Teresa of Avila has been dead these four hundred years.  Yet, as I read her Prayers each day, they speak to my heart as if she was sitting by my side, holding my hand and breathing her wisdom into my ears.  It has been so intense, living with her thoughts these past 29 days, that it seems like a hundred years have elapsed.  I invite you to take this journey with St Teresa, for her Prayers, that seem so simple, pierce harder than a diamond.  Her Prayers prove to me that East and West are one – choose the Bhagavad Gita or Teresa of Avila, and you will end up in the exact same discourse with God.

Below is a condensed version of her Prayers. The full originals are in Let Nothing Disturb You: Teresa of Avila, Ave Maria Press:2008

Bharti

DAY ONE:  How do we know that our lifetime may not end 

soon after we have determined to give ourselves wholly to God?

We need to withdraw from time to time

from all unnecessary cares and business,

We need to reflect on the state of our soul. 

MANTRA:   A whole lifetime is short.

I cannot depend on anything that passes away.

EVENING PRAYER:     Let me now, 

in the dying moments of this day,

cast aside my concerns

and reflect upon the state of my soul.

Worldly as I still am,

I harbor a deep desire

to do what is right

and to commend myself wholly to your care.

For if I have you, God,

I will want for nothing.

You alone suffice. 

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