It is 500 years since the birth of St Teresa of Avila. Her birthday is March 28, but the whole of 2015 is full of commemorative events.
There’s no doubting her influence. The previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, wrote a book about her. He had read her autobiography as a teenager. Edith Stein, too, had read the autobiography, all one night in 1921. “When I had finished the book, I said to myself: This is the truth.” She was murdered by the Nazis in 1942 and is recognised as a martyr...
[Teresa] took from [Francisco de Osuna] the idea that anyone can undertake mental prayer, contemplative prayer, not just saying prayers verbally. Specifically, Francisco explains that the teacher of prayer is Jesus Christ. No earthly teachers can really tell another how to pray. All they can advise is to be constant in devoting a given time to prayer.
...I had forgotten, till I came across it again while writing this, that the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in discussing prayer, quotes St Teresa: “Contemplative prayer (oración mental) in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” So it is a two-way process.