Written at the command of her confessors, the books of this 16th century Spanish saint and mystic (a beloved friend to another great Spanish mystic, John of the Cross), St. Teresa's writings remain classics of Christian mysticism. Less abstract and theoretical than her friend, Teresa's works are no less noteworthy for the brilliance of their ability to convey with both warmth and rigor some flavor of this most extraordinary experience: union with God. Her autobiography may well be the best entry point into her work and into the great mystical literature of the Christian church. Here she describes her early life and education, the conflicts and crisis she underwent, culminating in her determination to enter fully into the path of prayer. Following a description of the contemplative life, which she explores in four stages, she returns to her own life in order to describe (in erotic language reminiscent of the Song of Songs) the ecstatic experiences given to her by God.
If the idea of mysticism seems hopelessly otherworldly to you, try a taste of St. Teresa, who can be as down to earth as Oprah--and sometimes just as amusing. --Doug Thorpe [via]