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The Works of St Teresa

Most human beings die without leaving any lasting trace of their time in the world in which they have lived. Even the children's memories of the family do not go beyond grandchildren and they usually end in the second generation.

Some plant a tree, but even though they live for hundreds of years, those who enjoy its shade or eat its fruit are not aware of who planted it or do not remember them with any gratitude.

Others write a book, which is a less perishable form of memory, but after a few years, they also end up stacked in libraries with no one reading them or remembering the author.

Only a privileged few, like Teresa of Jesus, write books that ride the waves of time and are still enjoyed centuries after they have been written because they maintain the freshness of a warm, living word like freshly baked bread.

Her biographers say that she started to write when she was a teenager (a book on adventures) and that may indeed be so if we remember the books she had enjoyed reading herself. And, as she continued her readings with more spiritual books, she may also have learned enough to help her become a writer.

However, the truth is that when she wanted to publish her first intimate and mystic experiences, she was unable to find the words and only managed to highlight a book she had read. Until she also received the grace of knowing how to put her experiences down in words.

This explains her autobiography, Las Misericordias del Señor, written in search of the light of her advisers and where, above all, she looks to write down what God does if He finds a willing soul by narrating the graces she had received. Her aim is to 'entice' readers to approach God and enjoy the experience themselves. She wrote the book twice because her confessors were amazed by the first version and told her to extend it and to include more doctrine on the life of prayer.

She did so in her Convent of San José, awakening in her nuns the desire to read it and receive instruction on the same subject. And, as the confessor considered it inappropriate, she wrote "Camino de Perfección" for them, a work in which she describes that spiritual journey as a path (that of prayer) that ends at a fountain (contemplation), which can also be reached by praying the Our Father she comments on. Not without reference to the need for cultivating the virtues required for the journey: love, detachment and humility. She also wrote this book twice.

Later on, also at the request of her confessors, she wrote "Castillo Interior", her main work, where she also transmitted her spiritual experience, but in a more anonymous way. The experience that comes from discovering that God lives deep down in each person's soul and invites us to delve deeper and deeper inside until we reach that intimate place where He gives generously to those who approach Him at the same time as he requires them to give generously as a sign of the fact that their encounter is genuine.

She also wrote "Las Fundaciones" to tell the story of each of her foundations, declaring that everything was the work of God and not hers. She also offers a biographical sketch of the many people who were involved, as well as doctrine for her followers.

And, besides other minor works, such as "Conceptos", she also wrote thousands of letters, which reflect her daily worries and concerns. They also show the secrets of her mettle for dealing with them, which makes them an essential tool for knowing the truth about Teresa in her most genuine, human and spiritual dimension.

All her writings together bring all readers of all times to her as a real person and friend who speaks of both human and divine matters, winning us over and always propagating that 'truth of when she was a girl', which is the only one that can bring life to a transcendent value, preferring to cultivate what is 'forever and ever and ever' rather than the fleeting moments of life.