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St. Teresa of Avila: The one kind of prayer we all need



Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 10/27/23

There are many ways we can pray, and out of all of them, there is one that St. Teresa of Avila recommended as the most essential.

There are so many different ways to pray.

We might recite memorized prayers, like the Rosary and various litanies. We might read the Bible or a spiritual book. 

But of all the ways we can pray, there is one way that the great St. Teresa of Avila recommended as the most essential, and that’s “meditation,” or heart-to-heart direct conversation with God.

I learned about this kind of prayer and why St. Teresa strongly recommended it from Dr. Edward Sri, a theologian, author and well-known Catholic speaker who appears regularly on EWTN. 

Dr. Sri and Ascension Press just released a new video series called When You Pray: A Clear Path to a Deeper Relationship with God and a book to go with it called When You Pray: Trust, Surrender, and the Transformation of Your Soul

The series would be perfect to explore with a group of friends or a parish study group. You can get a free preview that includes the first video, first session workbook info, a bonus video, and the first few chapters of the book.

What is meditation?

Dr. Sri explained:

St. Teresa of Avila tells us there’s one kind of prayer we absolutely need if we want to go deeper into our interior lives and draw closer to Christ, who dwells within us longing to transform our souls. This kind of prayer involves more than listening to a podcast or simply “saying prayers,” meaning vocal prayers such as the Our Father or Hail Mary. It also entails more than reciting novenas or devotions such as the Rosary or reading good Catholic books. It even involves more than liturgical prayer like Morning and Evening Prayer. 

While all these kinds of prayers can enrich our spiritual lives, the saints invite us to take quiet time each day for intimate conversation with the Lord in what the Church calls meditation. 

Why exactly is meditation so important? “In this prayer, we encounter God at a deeper level in our interior lives,” he said. “The real graces of the Mass and the Sacraments will bear more fruit in our souls if they are met by an interior life cultivated by daily meditation.”

If you’d like to get started with meditation, Lectio Divina and Ignatian Meditation are two kinds of meditative prayer that are widely known. 

You can also read more about how to get started in meditative prayer here, and of course, through Dr. Sri’s new video series and book.

It’s not easy to build a new habit of prayer, but we can have faith that the practice of meditation will change our souls for the better. 

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