To the most Illustrious Lord, Don Sancho D’Avila, afterwards Bishop of Jaen.
This great prelate was confessor to the Saint, and Palafox mentions that he preached a magnificent sermon at her canonization. In this letter she consoles him on the death of his mother, and gives him some instruction how to act in regard to certain scruples which troubled him. Date, 1580. Carta VI. Spanish ed. vol. i.
JESUS. The Grace of the Holy Spirit be ever with your Lordship.
I praise our Lord, and I consider as a great favour what seems to you to be a fault, viz., your having ceased to lament the death of the Marchioness, your mother. I own we have sustained a great loss by her decease. But now she enjoys the sight of her God; and may His Majesty grant that you and I may make so holy an end.
Your Lordship has done well in writing her life, for she was a holy soul, and I can bear testimony to the truth of this statement. I am much obliged to your Lordship for intending to send me a copy of the Life; in it will be much for me to consider, and much to be thankful to God for.
As to the firm resolution of never offending God, which your Lordship tells me you do not feel within you, do not on this account be troubled, provided you do not offend Him in reality when an opportunity of serving Him, and of withdrawing yourself from sin, presents itself. When you do not offend His Majesty, it is an evident sign that your resolution is sincere and firm. The devotion which your Lordship feels for receiving the most Blessed Sacrament every day, and the pain you feel when you do not receive it, are signs of the great love your Lordship has for Him.
Always consider the favours you receive from our Lord, that so the love you bear Him may increase more and more. Do not occupy your mind with examining your miseries in detail: those which present themselves in general to each one–and to me especially–are quite sufficient.
As to the distractions which happen in reciting the Divine office, I am also very subject to them, and I believe they proceed from a weakness in the head, at least in mine. Your Lordship may think the same; for God knows well that when we perform this duty, we wish to do it with the greatest possible attention. I am much better in health than I was last year: I may say I am perfectly well, if what I suffer now be compared with what I suffered then, though I am now seldom without some affliction. But I bear my sufferings patiently, for as we must live, it is the best to live in suffering.
I send my very respectful regards to the Marquis, your brother, and also to his lady, and I beg you would assure them, that notwithstanding my great distance from them, I have not forgotten to offer my poor prayers for their prosperity. For your Lordship also I pray, and this is but little I can do, because you are my confessor, and my master and father at the same time. I beg of your Lordship to remember me most kindly to Señor Don Fadrique and to Señora Doña Maria. The headache I have will not allow me to write to them. I beg pardon for the trouble I have given your Lordship: but in return, I beg His Divine Majesty to preserve you, and to give your Lordship that holiness which I so much desire for you. Amen.
Your Lordship’s unworthy Servant and Daughter,
TERESA DE JESUS.
From Avila, October 10th, 1580.