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Captive Flames

30 November, 1999

James McCaffrey OCD gives a thought provoking account of the influence of Mary, Mother of Carmel, on Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Edith Stein and Thérèse of Lisieux, and offers essential insights and fresh observations for both the Carmelite scholar and lay reader alike.

213 pp, Veritas, 2005. To purchase this book online, go to www.veritas.ie



  1. Teresa of Avila: Keeping Company with Jesus, our Friend
  2. John of the Cross: Guide in our Search for God
  3. Elizabeth of the Trinity: Prophet of the Presence of God
  4. Edith Stein: Into the Truth of the Cross
  5. Therese of Lisieux: Journeying into Weakness



 Focusing on five key figures, James Mc Caffrey shows how Carmelite spirituality, based on experience not theory, can lead to a fuller understanding of God’s love for all.  We are shown: the importance of prayer as friendship in the works of St Teresa of Avila, how God leads us from selfishness to joy as in St John of the Cross, the significance of the Triune God for Elizabeth of the Trinity, Edith Stein’s appreciation of the Old Testament as a prelude to the New and St Thérèse of Lisieux’s confident and loving approach to God.

Captive Flames, with its thought provoking account of the influence of Mary, Mother of Carmel, on Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Edith Stein and Therese of Lisieux, offers essential insights and fresh observations for both the Carmelite scholar and lay reader alike.



God speaks to his friends
The invisible God: Vatican II tells us, ‘out of the abundance of His love speaks to people as friends and lives among them, so that He may invite and take them into friendship with Himself’(1) These words would surely have appealed in a special way to Teresa of Avila. Her remarkable genius for friendship was to condition her whole teaching on prayer and her approach to the scriptures. Deeply aware, as though by instinct, that the ‘supreme law’ and ‘the fundamental norm of the religious life is a following of Christ as proposed by the gospel, (2) she turned to the inspired word of God as the sure foundation and support of her charism: ‘1 would die a thousand deaths for the faith or for any truth of Sacred Scripture’ (Life 33:5), she said, knowing the word of God to be not only truth but also love. As we read in the reassuring words of Vatican II: ‘in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them’. (3) The Rule of Carmel, which she longed to restore in all its original force and beauty, (4) called on her to remain ‘pondering the Lord’s law day and night and keeping watch at [her] prayers’ (#I0) and reminded her also of Paul’s exhortation, ‘the word of God must abound in your mouths and hearts’ (#19; c£ Col 3:16; Rm I0:8). The Rule itself is like a mosaic of biblical quotations, resembling a gospel discourse more than a legal document. (5)
Teresa’s love for the scriptures was both profound and remarkable in view of the times and culture in which she lived. She probably never had access to a complete Bible, at least not in her native Castilian. She was not a scholar like John of the Cross, and she knew no Latin. Even the Spanish translations to hand were limited and restricted. Her knowledge of the word of God came mainly through means accessible to the ordinary, simple faithful of her day: the liturgy, partial translations and some spiritual books teeming with scriptural quotations like Francisco de Osuna’s Third Spiritual Alphabet and Ludolph of Saxony’s Life of Christ. Her writings contain about six hundred biblical quotations, (6) mostly from John, Paul, the Psalms and the Song of Songs – on this last, one of her favourite books, she has written a commentary: a work which she referred to as ‘my meditations’ (M 1:8) and which is now called Meditations on the Song of Songs. (7)

But Teresa is, above all, the great doctor of prayer (8) and it was mostly in quiet communion with God that she explored the riches of his word. She herself was to learn, as Vatican II expresses it, ‘by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the” excelling knowledge of Jesus Christ”(9) It was revealed to her in prayer that ‘all the harm that comes to the world comes from its not knowing the truths of Scripture in clarity and truth; not one iota of Scripture will fall short’ (Life 40: I). She knew only too well from her own experience that ‘prayer should accompany the reading of sacred Scripture, so that God and people may talk together; for “we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine sayings” (10) Origen expresses it well: ‘It is prayer above all that is necessary for the understanding of divine things’. (11)

A friend of ‘learned men’
Teresa was keenly aware of the unfathomable riches concealed in the scriptures: ‘O Jesus!’ she exclaims. ‘Who would know the many things there must be in Scripture’ (IC VII:3:I3). And again: ‘what a great Lord and God we have. For one word of His will contains within itself a thousand mysteries, and thus our understanding is only very elementary’ (M 1:2). Of the Song of Songs she writes: ‘these words must contain great things and mysteries since they are of such value that when 1 asked learned men… they answered that the doctors wrote many commentaries and yet never finished explaining the words fully’ (M 1:8). (12)

But she was also deeply conscious of her own limitations and need for enlightenment by others: ‘learning: she said, ‘is a great thing because learned men teach and enlighten us who know little; and, when brought before the truths of Sacred Scripture, we do what we ought’ (Life 13:16). She constantly turned to these letrados whom she regarded with deep affection and held in highest esteem: ‘I have consulted many learned men. .. I’ve always been a friend of men of learning’ (Life 13:18; cf IC Y:I:7). Her preference for the learned director rather than the holy one, if a choice between them had to be made, is well known.

However, Teresa was not one to submit easily and blindly to narrow-minded scholars. She had this to say in praise of Mary, who ceased her questioning upon hearing that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the Most High overshadow her: ‘She did not act as do some learned men… for they want to be so rational about things and so precise in their understanding that it doesn’t seem anyone else but they with their learning can understand the grandeurs of God’ (M 6:7). Like Mary, Teresa had made her own the lesson of the psalmist: ‘I have not gone after things too great nor marvels beyond me’ (Ps 130:1).

She was likewise unimpressed by the ‘half-learned’ who’ cost [her] dearly’ (ICY:I:8). ‘Half-learned confessors have done my soul great harm’ (Life 5:3), she wrote, having learned painfully, in the words of Alexander Pope, that ‘A little learning is a dangerous thing’. (13) She also warned against people who interpret the scriptures with no reference to the humanity of Christ. Reflecting on the words of Jesus, ‘anyone who sees me sees the Father’ On 14:9), she writes: ‘[Such people] will say that another meaning is given to these words. I don’t know about those other meanings; I have got along very well with this one that my soul always feels to be true’ (IC VI:7:6). An independent woman of great common sense, and with a brilliant sense of humour, she did not hesitate to tease playfully even her beloved soul-mate and companion of her reform, John of the Cross, for his interpretation of the Lord’s words to her, ‘Seek yourself in me’. She found his interpretation too spiritual but consoled him gleefully: ‘Nonetheless, we are grateful to him for having explained so well what we did not ask’ (Sat Cri 7). In the last analysis, however, the letrados she trusted were, for her, ‘those who give us light’ (Life 13:21; cf. IC VI:8:8) and representatives of the Church ‘in the place of God’ (F 2:2).

A faithful daughter of the Church
It is hardly surprising that the words, ‘in conformity with Sacred Scripture’, run like a refrain through all Teresa’s writings (Life’ 25:13; 34:1 I; Sp Test 3:13; cf. IC VI:3:4). So, too, did she make clear that a soul of strong, living faith ‘always strives to proceed in conformity with what the Church holds’ (Life 25:12). Like John of the Cross, Teresa was concerned to let herself be carried along by the living stream of the Church’s teaching (l4) – ancient, vast, rich and ever deepening under the Spirit’s action with the passage of time. She encouraged a great freedom in our approach to the scriptures and supported the right of every believer to interpret the word of God prayerfully. But she always insisted on the necessity of remaining in communion with the Church: ‘If I do not satisfy you: she told her Carmelite sisters while sharing with them her thoughts on the Our Father, ‘you can think up other reflections yourselves. Our Master will allow us to make these reflections provided that we submit in all things to what the Church holds’ (WP 30:4).

Teresa strongly affirmed the basic necessity of believing in the truth and efficacy of God’s word which, she says, ‘cannot fail’ (WP 27:2). Her faith embraced the whole range of the scriptures, not just the parts that appealed to her. Importantly, this saved her from the fundamentalist view that would translate isolated passages into general rules. (15) Having decided to follow certain advisers, who were using Paul’s words on the role of women in the Church (cf. I Cor 14:34) so as to dissuade her from making new foundations, Teresa then received contrary advice direct from Jesus himself: ‘Tell them they shouldn’t follow just one part of Scripture but that they should look at other parts, and ask them if they can by chance tie my hands’ (Sp Test I5). Her surrender to the demands of God’s love was the fruit of a ‘living faith’ (Life 19:5) in the mysteries of the Church: she had no reason to envy those who had known the earthly Jesus, for’ the Lord had given her such living faith that when she heard some persons saying they would have liked to have lived at the time Christ our Good walked in the world, she used to laugh to herself. She wondered what more they wanted since in the most Blessed Sacrament they had Him just as truly present as He was then’ (WP 34:6). Indeed, he is now even more present, by the power of the Spirit who continues to lead the community of believers through the word ‘into all truth’ Jn 16:13).

A doer of the word
Eminently practical, Teresa did not regard the Bible as a mere repertoire of sublime ideas and beautiful sentiments. She was never a mere spectator in the story of salvation as it unfolded in the scriptures. Drawn into the drama, an actor in it, she ‘wept with the Magdalene, no more nor less than if she were seeing [Jesus] with her bodily eyes in the house of the Pharisee’ (WP 34:7). She could identify with Martha and Mary (WP 17:5-6; 15:7), with the Samaritan woman (Life 30:19; cf. M 7:6) and with Peter (Life 22:1 I). Little wonder that John seems to have been a gospel specially dear to her. In so many subtle ways, the fourth evangelist constantly invites the reader to be one with his protagonists and to enter with them into dialogue with Jesus. Even from her early years, Teresa learned to be ‘a doer’ not just ‘a hearer of the word’ (Jas 1:22). She was only sixteen when a nun, María de Briceño y Contreras, ‘began to tell me; she writes, ‘how she arrived at the decision to become a nun solely by reading what the Gospel says: many are the called and few the chosen’ (Life 3:1). Teresa also speaks of her schooldays and of ‘the strength the words of God – both heard and read – gave my heart’ (Life 3:5). She affirms her readiness, later in life, to use ‘all my strength to carry out the least part of Sacred Scripture’ (Life 40:2).

The words of God were always, for Teresa, a source and spring of action. They are efficacious, bringing into effect what they signify: they are ‘both words and works’ (Life 25:3), Teresa tells us. It is true that she also heard interior words from the Lord, not with her bodily ears but ‘with the ears of the soul … in secret’ (IC VI:3:I2). These words, received ‘in such intimate depths’, were exceptional favours granted to her later in life but the criterion of their truth was always their fruits: whether of fortitude and gentleness (Life 25:13) or light and quiet (Life 25:3). But for Teresa, the greatest criterion was that a word from God ‘bears the credentials of being from God if it is in conformity with Sacred Scripture’ (Life 25:13).

Jesus – ‘a living book’
For Teresa, the word of God was Jesus, living and present here and now. He was her ‘all’ – her ‘everything’. She recalls the Lord’s consoling words to her when the Inquisition deprived her of many of her favourite books: ‘Don’t be sad, for I shall give you a living book: She explains: ‘His Majesty had become the true book in which I saw the truths’ (Life 26:5). Teresa was to discover the absolute centrality of Christ in the spiritual life through a painful experience which cost her dearly. She refers to the influence of certain books that played down the central role of the sacred humanity and confesses that she was led astray by them: At no time do I recall this opinion I had without feeling pain; she says; ‘it seems to me I became a dreadful traitor – although in ignorance’ (Life 22:3). Later, she was to redress the imbalance and, evoking the words of Jesus, ‘I am the door’ On 10:7.9), she wrote:

I see clearly. . . that God desires that if we are going to please Him and receive His great favors, we must do so through the most sacred humanity of Christ… Many, many times have I perceived this truth through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate. . . desire no other path even if you are at the summit of contemplation; on this road you walk safely. This Lord of ours is the one through whom all blessings come to us. .. In beholding His life we find that He is the best example. (Life 22:6-7)

Teresa’s earlier mistake was to prove a happy fault. It would have unique significance for her later teaching. Afterwards, she never ceased to warn others against the dangers of withdrawing from the incarnate Word at any stage on the spiritual path. She advised beginners: ‘The soul can place itself in the presence of Christ… This is an excellent way of making progress, and in a very short time’ (Life 12:2). Those more advanced are told that the failure to keep Christ present as a model ‘is why many souls.. .do not advance further or attain a very great freedom of spirit’ (Life 22:5):

I assure them that they will not enter these last two dwelling places [the highest states of union with God]. For if they lose the guide, who is the good Jesus, they will not hit upon the right road. It will be quite an accomplishment if they remain safely in the other dwelling places. The Lord Himself says that He is the way; the Lord says also that He is the light and that no one can go to the Father but through Him… (IC VI:7:6)

As Teresa shows, there is an essential link between the mystery of Christ and the highest form of prayer. Indeed, the great and final grace of the spiritual marriage was given to her through the sacred humanity of Jesus. It is no surprise, then, that one of her favourite gospel texts was: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ On 14:6).

‘He emptied himself’
It was through the human face of Jesus that Teresa discovered a God ‘lowering’ himself to share in her weakness: ‘Christ is a very good friend because we behold Him as man and see Him with weaknesses and trials. .. I saw that He was man, even though He was God; that He wasnt surprised by human weaknesses; that He understands our miserable make-up, subject to many falls… I can speak with Him as with a friend, even though He is Lord’ (Life 22:IO; 37:5). God’s self-abasement and his disguise in Jesus never ceased to touch Teresa deeply: ‘He came from the bosom of His Father out of obedience to become our slave: she tells us (F 5:17). She reminds us that we are ‘useless servants’ (Lk I7:I0), fortunate ‘to be able to repay [God] something of what we owe Him for His service toward us… I say these words “His service toward us” unwillingly; but the fact is that He did nothing else but serve us all the time He lived in this world’ (IC III:I:8). She does not even hesitate to speak of Jesus as our slave: ‘there is no slave who would willingly say he is a slave, and yet it seems that Jesus is honored to be one’ (WP 33:4).

It was in this same ‘living book’ of Christ himself that Teresa read the story of God’s ‘self-emptying’ in the passion of his Son. She had to pass through a number of ‘conversions’, however, before her so-called ‘final conversion in 1554. It was not quite a Damascus experience – a once-for-all lightning transformation. It was, rather, the culmination of a gradual process. She said of her early years: ‘so hard was my heart that I could read the entire Passion without shedding a tear’ (Life 3:1). But one day in the convent chapel of the Incarnation, when she was praying before the Ecce Homo statue of the blood-stained figure of Christ, the sight of the ‘much wounded Christ’ evoked in her ‘what He suffered for us’ in such a vivid and lifelike way that ‘it seems to me: she said, ‘my heart broke’ (Life 9:1). Teresa’s remarks on the self-abasement of God in the life and passion of Jesus are like a commentary on the gospel passage, ‘the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mk 10:45). She also plumbs the depths of these words of Paul: ‘He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross’ (Ph 2:7-8).

An intimate sharing between friends’
At the beginning of The Way to Perfection, Teresa says, ‘I shall say nothing about what I have not experienced myself or seen in others [ or received understanding of from our Lord in prayer]’ (WP Prol. 3). Her own experience is crucial to everything that Teresa explains. It is perhaps nowhere more important than when she speaks about prayer. She concentrates the kernel of that teaching into what we might broadly term her ‘definition’ of prayer. It contains all the essential ingredients of Teresian prayer:

mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. (Life 8:5)  (16)

Teresa’s own capacity for friendship (l7) provides us with a key to help us unlock the depths, riches and originality of her special understanding of prayer. Her words are a spontaneous outburst which interrupt her previous line of thought to speak about friendship – a kind of parenthesis characteristic of her style. She introduces her explanation with these words: ‘I trust then in the mercy of God, who never fails to repay anyone who has taken Him for a friend’ (Life 8:5); and she concludes it with an exclamation of praise: ‘Oh, what a good friend You make, my Lord!’ (Life 8:6).

This celebrated description of prayer falls easily into two main components: the essence of Teresian prayer, and the conditions needed for it to deepen. Central is the intimate sharing between friends, but also integral is the proper atmosphere required for the friendship to persevere and to grow: time, space, solitude. What is perhaps most remarkable, however, is the scriptural depth contained in this teaching of Teresa and how firmly rooted it is in the word of God. Indeed, it is like an epitome of the gospel teaching on prayer – a resume of Jesus’ own witness to prayer both by word and by example.

Turned ‘towards’ the Father
The intimate sharing between Jesus and his Father – ‘who he knows loves him’ – is the perfect model of the friendship and companionship to which Teresa invites everyone in prayer. In the story of her life, she speaks of a vision showing her ‘that the humanity [of Jesus] was taken into the bosom of the Father’ (Life 38:17). It was a privileged insight into the truth of John’s words: ‘The only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known’ Jn 1:18). This image is used of the closest and most tender of human relationships: that of mother and child (Ps 130:2; cf. Nb 11:12), of husband and wife (Dt 13:6), and also of friends, like the beloved disciple reclining on the ‘breast’ of Jesus at the last supper Jn 13:23). (18) It describes an intimate friendship of love. The exact form of John’s original words (1:18) is quite stunning. The phrase is not strictly’ in the bosom’ but’ into the bosom’ (eis), combining as it were both rest and motion, a timeless relationship between Father and Son already accomplished, and at the same time a ceaseless and dynamic thrust between the two. (19) The Aramaic address on the lips of Jesus in Gethsemane, Abba, Father’ (Mk 14:36), projects onto the stage of time this eternal relationship between Son and Father in the inner life of God – an intimate exchange and filial relationship of friendship unheard of in prayer until the coming of Jesus. Every believer is called to this same intimacy, for God sends ‘the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!'” (Gal 4:6; cf. Rm 8:15). (20)

This deep relationship within the mystery of God finds expression throughout the gospel in various, complementary ways. They all help to expand, in biblical terms, the meaning of gospel friendship for a better understanding of Teresian prayer. The companionship between Father and Son is uninterrupted: ‘I am not alone, for the Father is with me’ Jn 16:32). In fact, it is a unique fellowship, involving perfect oneness: ‘I and the Father are one’ Jn 10:30; cf. 17:II). It is a union of minds and hearts, a deep mutual knowledge and love: ‘the Father knows me and I know the Father’ Jn 10:15). This is a reciprocal self-disclosure: ‘no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son’ (Mt 11:27). It is ultimately a question of love, one for the other: ‘the Father loves the Son’ Jn 3:35; 5:20); ‘I love the Father’ Jn 14:31). This love expresses itself in a harmony of wills: ‘I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me’ Jn 5:30; cf. 4:34; 6:38; Mt 26:39; Hb 10:7). Teresa herself writes, immediately after her description of prayer: ‘In order that love be true and the friendship endure, the wills of the friends must be in accord’ (Life 8:5). Indeed, John explains the purpose of the Christian calling precisely in terms of this perfect friendship which makes God and his people completely one: ‘so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ’ (1 Jn 1:3). Here, fellowship, companionship and friendship are one.

‘He first loved us’
All through the scriptures, we are reminded that God constantly takes the initiative with the free gift of his love. At the dawn of creation, the Maker of all things drew order and beauty out of chaos while ‘Earth was still an empty waste, and darkness hung over the deep’ (Gn 1:2, Knox translation). Aquinas describes this action of God as ‘the love of God infusing and creating goodness in things’. (21) The Almighty contemplated his own masterpiece and ‘saw that it was good’ (Gn I, passim). But the Creator did not love the universe because it was good: it was good because he first loved it into being. So, too, the God of Israel took the initiative in love and created for himself a people to be his own possession: ‘It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples; but it is because the Lord loves you’ (Dt 7:7-8). He led them in love through the desert into the promised land ‘for his great love is without end’ (Ps 135:10-23; c£ Hos 11:1-4).

In the gospel, Jesus ‘went up onto the mountain and summoned those he wanted…and he appointed twelve to be with him’ (Mk 3: I 3- 14). This is a free choice of his love: ‘he appointed twelve’. Again, God’s love is creative: literally, ‘he made twelve’ (epoíêsen) in order ‘to be with him’; that is, he ‘summoned’ or called them into a close, personal fellowship with himself as his companions. God has transformed us, too, into his friends by the power of his love. This choice is God’s initiative – an advance of love centred on Christ: ‘The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.. .chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world… He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ’ (Eph 1:3-5).

At the last supper, Jesus speaks to his disciples as ‘friends’:’ I have called you friends… You did not choose me, but I chose you’ Jn 15:15-16). For love and friendship go hand in hand: ‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ Jn 15: I 3). Jesus is about to lay down his life for his disciples, not because they are already his friends, but in order that all might become his friends. Paul expresses the idea well: ‘God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Rm 5:8). Jesus is offering us a closeness and intimacy with himself, and an invitation to respond: ‘We know and believe the love God has for us. God is love… We love, because he first loved us’ (1Jn 4:16.19). This is the God Teresa invites us to share with in prayer – a Friend, ‘Him who we know loves us’.

1. Dei Verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation) 2. This opening quotation also contains the following references: Col l:15; 1Tm 1:17; Ex 33:11; Jn 15:14-15; Bar 3:38.


2 Perfectae Caritatis (Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of the Religious Life) 2.

3 Dei Verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation) 21. These words are quoted by John Paul II in his address when he was presented with the important recent document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church. As the then Cardinal Ratzinger aptly observes, in the ‘Preface’, ‘[This document] takes up the paths of the encyclicals of 1893 [Providentissimus Deus] and 1943 [Divino Afflante Spiritu] and advances them in a fruitful way:: see Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 1993, pp. 12.29.

4 Significantly, Edith Stein comments: ‘Our Holy Mother strenuously denied that she was founding a new Order. She wanted nothing except to reawaken the original spirit of the old Rule [of St. Albert]’: see HL, p. 1.

5 For a discussion of the biblical foundations of the Carmelite Rule, see the author’s The Carmelite Charism: Exploring the Biblical Roots, Dublin: Veritas, 2004, ch. 3, pp. 60-81; and also the author’s The Carmelite Rule: A Gospel Approach’, in Eltin Griffin, 0 Carm (ed.), Ascending the Mountain: The Carmelite Rule Today, Dublin: Columba, 2004, pp. 29-48.

6 See Emmanuel Renault, OCD, Reading the Bible with St Teresa, Darlington Carmel, [no date], pp. 2-3.

7 This is the standard title used by ICS Publications. The Peers translation has the title, Conceptions of the Love of God.

8 On Teresa as Doctor of the Church, see Teresianum, The Making of a Doctor: A Tribute to St Teresa of Avila by the Discalced Carmelites, Discalced Carmelite Order, [1970]; Sancta Teresia a Iesu Doctor Ecclesiae: Historia, Doctrina, Documenta, Ephemerides Carmeliticae, vol. XXI/I-2, 1970; Otger Steggink, 0 Carm, ‘The Doctorate of Experience’, in Carmelite Studies, vol. 4, Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 1987, pp. 275-92; Joseph Glynn, OCD, The Eternal Mystic: St. Teresa of Avila, the First woman Doctor of the Church, New York: Vantage Press, 1987, pp. 3-32.

9 Dei Verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation) 25.

10 Ibid. 25.

11. Origen, in Patrologia Graeca, 11:92, quoted in Renault, Reading the Bible, op. cit., p. 11.

12 Cf. John of the Cross, SC Prol. 1-2.

13 Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism (1711), 1. 215.

14 This is, in theological terms, sentire cum Ecclesia: see Christopher O’Donnell, O Carm, Ecclesia: A Theological Encyclopedia of the Church, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1996, p. 423.

15 An excellent treatment of fundamentalism and its dangers can be found in Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation, op. cit., pp. 72-5.

16 For a discussion of Teresa’s description, including a variety of possible translations of the passage quoted above, see Otilio Rodriguez, OCD, The Teresian Gospel: An Introduction to a Fruitful Reading if the Way if Perfection, Darlington Carmel, 1993, pp. 44-56. For an exploration of the significance of this passage in its context, see Tomas Alvarez, OCD, Living with God: St Teresa’s Concept of Prayer, Dublin: Carmelite Centre of Spirituality, 1980, pp. 21-34.

17 On Teresa and friendship, see P Marie-Eugene, OCD, I Want to See God: A Practical Synthesis Of Carmelite Spirituality, vol. I, Cork: The Mercier Press, 1953, pp. 250-72; Norah Melia, St Teresa and Friendship, Melbourne: Carmelite Communications, 1988; Mary Pia Taylor, OCD, ‘Friendship with Christ: Teresa of Avila’s Way of Prayer’, Mount Carmel, vol. 53/4,2005.

18 See Brooke Foss Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John, London: James Clarke & Co, 1958, p. 15.

19 Ibid., p. 15. John also describes Jesus as being ‘towards’ the Father (pros, Jn 1:1.2).

20 See Joachim Jeremias, The Prayers of Jesus, London: SCM Press, 1967, pp. I I -65, especially p. 65.

21 ‘infundens et creans bonitatem in rebus’: in Summa Theologica I q. 20 a. 2.  

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