Wednesday, May 17, 2006

St Teresa of Avila on the Stages of Spiritual Growth

St Teresa of Avila on the Stages of Spiritual Growth
Taken in part from
Praying with Teresa of Avila
by Rosemary Broughton

St. Teresa of Avila made this comparison to a silkworm and the stages of spiritual growth.
1) a tiny seed was non living until warm weather and leaves come to the mulberry tree
2) silkworms eat the leaf, settle on a twig and begin making thick silk cocoons around themselves
3) The fat ugly silkworm dies within and a small pretty white butterfly emerges.

It could be birth, life and rebirth.
Or it could be the same 3 stage process in any life event. It could be anytime we were unaware of an issue that would bring us spiritual growth such as our own selfishness. That would be followed by our awareness of it and the subsequent change we make from that behavior. One of the traits of humility is to recognize and live in the stage that is true to us and to do the work that is given us to do. The caterpillar cannot fly; it eats. The butterfly no longer creeps; it need not spin silk. Teresa helps us to recognize that there are differing possibilities in each stage.
One aspect of discernment is the ability to recognize who and what we really are and what we can and cannot do, and to live contentedly, knowing that God will call us to grow, to move into new stages, to be transformed – even by passing through a death. Those who believe in Christ live in hope of a final beauty and freedom that God will bring about in us.

As you read this, what is it for you today? Do you want to remain a dead seed or a fat ugly worm? Ask God for insight into your answer.

In what way are you “making silk” for other people? How does that help you to die to self?

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