What St Teresa of Avila and Jamie Oliver have in common


I’ve been following lately an excellent informal book study on the Interior Castle by St Teresa of Avila run by author Connie Rossini on her blog Contemplative Homeschool.

St Teresa is a Doctor of the Church because of her teachings on prayer and the spiritual life. Next year, 2015, will be the 5th centenary celebration (500th anniversary) of her birth.

I highly recommend this book and Connie’s book study as an introduction to some of this wonderful saint’s teachings on prayer, life’s struggles, and the nature of spiritual growth.

St Teresa’s teachings are precisely necessary for our ultra busy and confusing and stressful times; they give people so much freedom and peace!

In Catholic circles she is known for the heights of contemplation she reached, her ecstasies and raptures, and famous images such as the sculpture by Lorenzo Bernini of an angel about to pierce the swooning nun with a spear, but there is so much more to her. Her books reveal her warm, passionate, sometimes funny, and down-to-earth nature as well.

She’s often confused with St Therese of Lisieux, who belonged to the same order, only about three hundred years later and in another country, but that’s by-the-by.

One thing I’ve enjoyed so far from Connie’s treatment of the book is a chart that she posted which summarises St Teresa’s seven stages of growth in the spiritual life, the problems of each stage and suggested remedies.

I highly recommend if you’re interested in prayer and growing in an intimate relationship with God, and haven’t already encountered the Interior Castle that you check out the series and maybe get the book, jump in and follow along, or follow it retrospectively.

It started with this post here.

Now for no other reason than that I don’t have time to do a separate post, I wanted to show off the beef noodle salad with ginger dressing that I made last night for dinner (pictured above). You can see the recipe for free by clicking here.

The salad was really good, although I omitted the chilli for the children’s sake and next time I’ll add mint. The three big kids loved it, the preschooler only ate two forkfuls, the toddler refused to touch it and disdainfully tipped it out of his bowl. You can’t please them all!

It was from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals. I’m sure there is more that St Teresa and Jamie Oliver have in common than this blog post, although I read an anecdote somewhere that suggested St Teresa was not a great cook.

And no, it didn’t take me 15 minutes, more like 45 from the start to putting it on the table. Just like with my cooking skills, my progress in the spiritual life is going very slowly (but I hope) surely.

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