What Does St. Teresa of Avila Say About Contemplation?
Throughout their books, Fr. Keating and Fr. Pennington mention St. Teresa of Avila, implying that she is an advocate of their prayer techniques. However, after reading her books, I have found that her teachings on prayer are the opposite of what Keating and Pennington are teaching. First of all, she says that contemplation is a gift from God, and no technique can make it happen. She says it is usually given to people who have a deep prayer life and are practicing many virtues, although God can give it to anyone he chooses. She repeatedly insists that contemplation is divinely produced. She said that entering into the prayer of quiet or that of union whenever she wanted it “was out of the question”8 She also said in her book, Interior Mansion, “For it to be prayer at all, the mind must take a part in it.”9 Cardinal Ratzinger, in his booklet, also quotes St. Teresa as saying “the very care not to think about anything will arouse the mind to think a great deal”, and that the separation of