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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Humility, Open-mindedness And Generosity Of Spirit

My recent readings of St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Ávila have been worth it for the discovery of this passage alone:

Let us look at our own shortcomings and leave other people's alone; for those who live carefully ordered lives are apt to be shocked at everything and we might well learn very important lessons from the persons who shock us. Our outward comportment and behaviour may be better than theirs, but this, though good, is not the most important thing: there is no reason why we should expect everyone else to travel by our own road, and we should not attempt to point them to the spiritual path when perhaps we do not know what it is.

ST TERESA OF ÁVILA The Interior Castle

I think St Teresa's humility, open-mindedness and generosity of spirit here are exemplary.

14 comments:

Ruth said...

All that is within me cries "holy!"

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, holy, indeed! And a compelling blend of the revolutionary and the realistic (when you consider 16th-century Spain, her words are amazing. They're still pretty radical today).

Bouncing Bertie said...

This reminds me of something said at the funeral of my Uncle Jack."Jack always looked for the good in people". I suddenly realised why I so adored this quiet, modest and outwardly unexceptional man.
Gail.

The Solitary Walker said...

This almost brought tears to my eyes, Gail. Yes, 'the good in people'. It matters — to look for this. Some only see the bad, bring out the worst, accentuate the negative. That leads nowhere. We are all good and bad. Let's encourage the good.

George said...

Such a brilliant, insightful, and undeniably true statement!

am said...

Thank you for these thoughts of St. Teresa of Ávila. Yes. Humility, open-mindedness and generosity of spirit.

Dominic Rivron said...

A friend of mine who is a regular attender at Quaker meetings often reminds me that we "all have to find our own way".

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for visiting, am.

And Dominic, what a coincidence. Carmen and I visited the Friends' Meeting House in Brant Broughton, Lincs, just a few days ago. A beautiful old stone building with flagged floors that used to be a barn. I brought back with me various leaflets about Quakerism, to which I'm quite attracted.

The Solitary Walker said...

And thanks, George, also for your comment. (Sorry, I missed you out.)

Wendy said...

Ruth pointed us once in the direction of George Whitman's obituary which mentioned a quote on the wall of Shakespeare & Co. (mistakenly attributed to Yeats): “Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise"

and that about sums up what I like about St. Teresa's words here...

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, I'm so interested in the equal and symbiotic relationship of the host/guest, giver/receiver, familiar/stranger, and have written about it before on my blog, Wendy. To be open-minded to the wayward, different stranger. To learn from the stranger, and not feel superior. Angels come in many disguises, and when we are least expecting them.

pilgrimpace said...

Happy St Teresa's Day!

This is a lovely quote Robert - would you be able to let me know exactly where it is from?

Teresa suffered a lot from spiritual directors who were very narrow and would not credit or allow the way she was being led.

Andy

The Solitary Walker said...

Andy, it's from The Interior Castle, but, sorry, I can't trace the exact place. It is indeed a lovely quote.

pilgrimpace said...

Thanks - I'll keep an eye out for the quote as I read it slowly!

Andy