Sayings of St. Teresa of Avila
on the Beginning of Infused Contemplation


Qualities and Characteristics of the Prayer of Quiet taken from St. Teresa's Life

Chapter 14

1) The gardener obtains more water with less labor.

2) The soul begins to be recollected and comes upon something supernatural.

3) In no way can the soul acquire this prayer through any efforts it may make.

4) Here the water is higher,-- I mean the water is closer because grace is more clearly manifest to the soul.

5) The faculties are gathered within so as to enjoy that satisfaction with greater delight.

6) They are not lost, nor do they sleep.

7) The will is occupied in such a way that without knowing how it becomes captive.

8) It merely consents to God allowing Him to imprison it as one who well knows how to be the captive of its lover.

9) It holds our love so bound that it doesn't allow it (the will) the freedom during that time to love anything else but You.

10) The other two faculties help the will to be capable of enjoying so much good.

11) Sometimes it happens that even though the will is united, (the faculties) are very unhelpful.

12) Then the will should remain in its joy and quietude.

13) If the will desires to gather in these faculties, they both get lost.

14) Sometimes in desiring the memory or imagination to represent to the will what they're enjoying, they do the will harm.

15) All that takes place here brings with it the greatest consolation and with so little labor that prayer does not tire one, even though it last for a long while.

16) The intellect's work here is very slow paced, and it obtains a lot more water than it pulled out of the well.

17) The tears God gives are now accompanied by joy.

18) There is no striving for them.

19) This water of great blessings and favors that the Lord gives here makes the virtues grow incomparably better than in the previous degree of prayer.

20) The soul is now ascending above its misery and receiving a little knowledge of the delights of glory. His Majesty is beginning to communicate Himself to this soul and He wants it to experience how He is doing so.

21) In arriving here it begins soon to lose its craving for earthly things.

22) It sees clearly that one moment of the enjoyment of glory cannot be experienced here below.

23) During the time of this prayer, everything is "yes".

24) The "no "comes afterward upon seeing that the delight is ended and that one cannot recover it. God in His greatness desires that this soul understand that He is so close it no longer needs to send Him messengers but can speak with Him itself and not by shouting since He is so near that when it merely moves it lips, He understands it.

25) Our Emperor and Lord desires that in this prayer we know that He understands us, and what His presence does, and that He wants to begin to work in the soul in a special way.

26) All of this that the Lord desires is manifest in the great interior and exterior satisfaction He gives the soul and in the difference there is between this delight and happiness and the delights of earth. This delight seems to fill the void that through our sins we have caused in the soul.

27) This satisfaction takes place in its very intimate depths, and the soul doesn't know where the satisfaction comes from or how.

28) Frequently it does not know what to do or what to desire or what to ask for.

29) It seems it has found everything at once and doesn't know what it has found.

30) The Lord desires that the soul in this prayer almost see with its own eyes this particular grace.

31) I should like to explain this experience because we are dealing with beginners; when the Lord begins to grant these favors, the soul itself doesn't understand them nor does it know what to do with itself. To see itself described brings it intense Joy, and then it sees clearly the path it is walking on.

32) If the soul is not very experienced even were the explanations ample, it would have a hard time understanding itself

33) Although the work may be from God the devil at times can transform himself into an angel of light; and if the soul has not a great deal of experience, it will not discern the devil's work.

34) It must have so much experience that it needs to come close to the very summit of prayer in order to have such discernment.


35) This quietude and recollection is something that is clearly felt through the satisfaction and peace bestowed on the soul along with great contentment and calm and a very gentle delight in the faculties.

36) It seems to the soul- that there's nothing left to desire and that it should willingly say with St. Peter that it will make its dwelling there.

37) It dares not move or stir, for it seems that good will slip through its hands--nor would it even want to breathe sometimes.

38) The poor little thing doesn't understand that since by its own efforts it can do nothing to draw that good to itself, so much less will it be able to keep it for longer than Lord desires.

39) The soul is so satisfied with God that as long as the recollection lasts, the quiet and calm are not lost since the will is united with God even though the two faculties are distracted.

40) Little by little the will brings the intellect and the memory back to recollection.

41) Even though the will may not be totally absorbed, it is so well occupied without knowing how, that no matter what efforts the other two faculties make, they cannot take away its contentment and joy. With hardly any effort the will is gradually helped so that this little spark of love of God may not go out.

42) There are many, many souls who reach this state but few that pass beyond.

43) Once His Majesty has granted a soul the favor of reaching this stage, I don't believe He will fail to grant it many more favors unless through its own fault.

44) This prayer is a little spark of the Lord's true love which He begins to enkindle in the soul.

45) He desires that the soul grow in the understanding of what this love accompanied by delight is. For anyone who has experience, it is impossible not to understand soon that this little spark cannot be acquired.

46) If this quietude and recollection and little spark is from God's spirit and not a delight given by the devil or procured by ourselves, it will be noticed no matter how small it is.

47) If a person doesn't extinguish it through his own fault, it is what will begin to enkindle the large fire that throws forth flames of the greatest love of God which His Majesty gives to perfect souls.

48) This little spark is the sign or the pledge God gives to this soul that He now chooses it for great things if it will prepare itself to receive them.

49) This spark is a great gift, much more so that I can express.

50) What the soul must do during these times of quiet amounts to no more than proceeding gently and noiselessly.

51) The will calmly and wisely must understand that one does not deal with God by force and that our efforts are like the careless use of large pieces of wood which smother this little spark.

52) One should pay no attention to the intellect for it is a grinding mill.

53) The will may desire to share what it enjoys or may work to recollect the intellect, for often it will find itself in this union and calm while the intellect wanders about aimlessly.

54) It is better that the will leave the intellect alone than go after it, and that it remain like a wise bee in the recollection and in enjoyment of that gift,

55) Let the will awaken within itself some spontaneous considerations verifying its progress so as to quicken this love, and let it make some loving acts about what it will do for one to whom it owes so much.

56) Here during these periods of prayer there is little need for learning; rather, their studies will make the will tepid.

57) Seeing itself near the light, the intellect then has the greatest clarity.

58) In these times of quietude, let the soul remain in its repose; let them put their learning to one side.

59) He desires the soul to become ignorant in His presence.

60) The will calmly, without daring to raise its eyes, like the publican, gives better thanks than the intellect can express.

61) At this stage one doesn't have to renounce completely discursive mental prayer or the use of some words, or even vocal prayer if there should be the desire or ability.

62) If the quiet is great it is difficult to speak without a good deal of effort.

63) When we procure the quiet ourselves, it produces no effect, quickly goes away, and leaves behind aridity.

64) A solid foundation for the protection of oneself from the tricks and consolations coming from the devil is to begin with the determination to follow the way of the cross and not desire consolations. When the prayer comes from God's spirit, there is no need to go dredging up things in order to derive some humility and shame because the Lord Himself gives this prayer in a manner very different from that which we gain through our nice little reasonings.

65) He bestows a strong desire to advance in prayer and not abandon it no matter what trial may come upon one.

66) The soul offers itself up in all things.

67) It feels sure, while still being humble and fearing, that it will be saved.

68) It is aware of the beginning of a love of God that has much less self-interest. It desires periods of solitude in order to enjoy that good more.

69) This prayer of quiet is the beginning of all blessings.

70) The flowers are already at the point in which hardly anything is lacking for them to bud, and the soul sees this very clearly.

71) In no way is it able to believe at that time that God is not with it. When it sees again the cracks and imperfections in itself, it then fears everything.

72) If by nature someone is loving and grateful the memory of the favor God has granted does more to bring him back to God than all the infernal punishments imaginable.


Qualities of the prayer of Quiet from Chapter 31 of the "Way"


1) The Lord shows that He hears our petition.

2) He begins to give us His Kingdom here below, so that WE MAY TRULY PRAISE AND

HALLOW HIS NAME, and strive that all persons do so.

3) This prayer is supernatural we cannot procure it through our own efforts.

4) The Lord puts our soul at peace by His presence.

5) All the faculties are calmed.

6) The soul understands that it is close to God> and that it is close to union.

7) The soul doesn’t understand how it understands.

8) It sees it is in the kingdom and near the King, who will give the kingdom.

9) It resembles an exterior and interior swoon.

10) One wants to rest, and in this rest his strength doubles.

11) The person feels that greatest delight in his body and a great satisfaction in his soul.

12) He feels happy merely being close to the fount, even without drinking.

13) There is nothing else he desires.

14) The faculties are still. They don't want to be busy.

15) The faculties are loving.

16) They are free; they wouldn't want to be occupied with anything else.

17) They see that only one thing is necessary, and everything else disturbs them.

18) They don't want to move the body or stir.

19) It pains them to speak.

20) In the saying of the "Our Father" just once a whole hour passes.

21) They see they are close, and are understanding as though through signs.

22) They are within the palace, near the King, and see He is beginning to give them here His Kingdom.

23) It doesn’t seem to them that they are in the world.

24) They don’t want to see or hear about anything other than their God.

25) Nothing pains them, nor does it seem anything ever will.

26) They are so absorbed and engulfed with satisfaction and delight, they desire nothing more.

27) They would eagerly say with St. Peter: "Lord, let us build three dwelling places here."

28) When it is great and lasts a long while, one will go about with this satisfaction for a day or two, and see that they are not wholly in what they are doing.

29) The will is then united with its God, leaving the other faculties free for His service in other things.

30) In worldly matters, these faculties are dull and as though in a stupor at times.

31) The active and contemplative lives are joined in this favor.

32) The soul is satisfied in this prayer of Quiet, so that the will remains more continually united with Him.

33) The three faculties are not always in accord.

34) The soul may be in the greatest quiet, and the intellect distracted.

35) Without effort of the intellect the will is loving.

36) The win knows that it is the Lord granting this favor, and rejoices in its enjoyment

37) It doesn't desire to understand how it enjoys the favor, or what it enjoys, but forgets itself during that time.

38) It's different from that prayer where the entire soul is united with God. In this prayer of Quiet, the soul works a little, gently, almost without effort.

39) They feel this prayer within themselves, a quiet and great contentment of the will.

40) The delight is in the interior of the will.

41) The soul sees itself in this degree of prayer so sublime, very recognizably supernatural.

42) It laughs at the intellect as at a fool going off to more foolish things of the world.

43) The will remains in its quietude while the intellect comes and goes.

44) In this prayer the will is the ruler and the powerful one.

45) In this prayer it seems the Eternal Father has already here below granted its petition for His Kingdom.


Qualities of the prayer of Quiet from the Fourth Mansion



1) Supernatural experiences begin here.

2) Close to the King, their beauty is great, and so delicate the intellect is incapable of finding words to explain them.

3) Only experience will understand.

4) One may enter after a long time in the other mansions, or not, as the Lord pleases.

5) Poisonous creatures rarely enter here, and do no harm; the temptations help to avoid habitual absorption, which isn't safe, and merit comes from overcoming them.

6) Spiritual delights begin in God. (not nature), which enjoys them much more than


7) It is important here not to think much but to love much.

8) The soul is joined with Him in the dwelling places very close to the center while the mind may be on the outskirts of the castle suffering from a thousand wild poisonous beasts, meriting from this suffering.

9) Suspension can accompany the prayer, and then no pain is felt.

10) All the contempt and trials one can endure in life cannot be compared to these interior



11) Spiritual delight is called the prayer of Quiet. The source of the water is right there, the trough fills without any noise. The spring is abundant, filling the trough to overflowing, always flowing from the spring. The source is God, not our own effort.

12) He produces this delight with the greatest peace and quiet and sweetness in the very interior part of ourselves. The delight fills everything, through all the dwelling places until reaching the body.

13) The whole exterior man enjoys this spiritual delight and sweetness.

14) This heavenly water begins to rise from deep within us, swells and expands our whole interior being, producing ineffable blessings.

15) It perceives a fragrance, as in that interior depth a brazier gave off sweet smelling perfumes. The warmth and fragrant fumes spread through the entire soul.

16) This spiritual delight we cannot imagine no matter how hard we try. It is fashioned from the purest gold of Divine Wisdom.

17) The faculties are absorbed and looking as though in wonder at what they see. 18) The first sign of humility is that you don't think you deserve these favors and spiritual delights from the Lord, or that you will receive them in your lifetime.

19) It is given only to whom God wills to give it, and often when the soul is least thinking of it.


20) It is joined with the prayer of recollection, which comes first.

21) He enables and prepares the soul to keep everything within itself, expanding its capacity.

22) The soul has much more freedom, it loses servile fear.

23) The soul is left with great confidence that it will enjoy Him.

24) It loses its fear of doing penance and losing its health.

25) It thinks it will be able to do all things in God.

26) It has greater desire for penance than before.

27) It's fear of trials has been tempered.

28) Its faith is more alive.

29) It knows God will give it grace to suffer trials with patience.

30) Sometimes it even desires them, and there remains a strong will to do something for God.

31) It finds itself withdrawing from worldly delights little by little, is more master of self in doing so.

32) There is improvement in all the virtues.

33) It must persevere in receiving these favors, not turn back by sin.

34) Spiritual sleep is a prayer more intense than the prayer of Quiet.


Compiled by Joseph Patchett, O.C.D.S.