Monday, October 10, 2016

The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila: Volume 3 (ICS Publications)

The Feast Day of St. Teresa of Avila is October 15th. Today, I wrap up my review of her three-volume collected works, available from ICS Publications, by telling you about the third volume. Within this volume, we have her major work - The Book of Her Foundations and several of her minor works - The Constitutions, On Making the VisitationA Satirical Critique, and Response to a Spiritual Challenge. We also have 27 of her poems printed in this work. Like the other two volumes, the translators are Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh and Fr. Otilio Rodriguez.

The Book of Her Foundations is one of St. Teresa of Avila's lesser-known and lesser-read works. The main reason for this is that a lot of people view it as a non-spiritual work. While it may not be one in the strictest sense, we can see St. Teresa of Avila growing in holiness through her persecutions, which were plentiful. She encountered gossip, lawsuits, unethical businessmen, and general bureaucracy. In this work, we see that it is possible to grow in holiness in all aspects of your life. The Constitutions can be viewed as her rule. In this minor work, St. Teresa of Avila gives instruction on spiritual matters, receiving Communion, fasting, taking care of the sick, etc. The other minor works in this book show her obedience in On Making the Visitation, her personality in A Satirical Critique, and her spirituality in Response to a Spiritual Challenge. The poems show a level of beauty in writing that one would expect from St. Teresa of Avila. What is really nice about them is that the original language and translation are side-by-side. This isn't beneficial for me, but those who speak Spanish will probably be able to find more beauty in the original poems, as translations (especially of poetry) are always lacking.

This was not my favorite volume of her three-volume set, but it is essential reading for any serious student of St. Teresa of Avila. When it comes to writings of the saints, you do yourself a disservice if you merely cherry-pick what works of theirs you want to read. If you find a saint, who you admire, and whose works you have read some, I encourage you to read through as much of their works as are available for you to read. In addition to her complete works, ICS Publications also had made available a two-volume set of her collected letters, as well as about ten other works of great minds who help unpack the beauty in her tougher works. This publisher has clearly set themselves apart as the expert on St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and other Carmelites. I encourage you to always turn to them first if you are ever looking for works by these saints or companion volumes for their writings.

This book was provided to me for free by  ICS Publications in exchange for an honest review.