O'Keefe, Mark OSB. Saint Teresa of Avila on the Foundations and Fruit of Prayer. 197pp PBK.
The Way of Transformation is a play on the title of St. Teresa’s classic The Way of Perfection. Written for her Discalced Carmelite nuns, it is nonetheless considered Teresa’s “operations manual” for anyone genuinely committed to the spiritual life. But by “perfection” she doesn’t intend the futile pursuit of idealized flawlessness, as some might think. Rather, Teresa means achieving an authentic human fulfillment—a true becoming of that person we are meant to be.
Offering a fresh perspective on St. Teresa’s thought, Father Mark O’Keefe draws our attention to the central fact that she considers the virtues—especially love of neighbor, detachment, and humility—as the essential and ever-relevant foundation for her spirituality of prayer.
This very human Doctor of the Church teaches that—whether in the 16th century or the 21st— prayer is intimately and necessarily linked with personal transformation. Authentic prayer is never divorced from our daily living: God, Teresa reminds us, “walks among the pots and pans.”
With attention-catching quotations, helpful questions for personal reflection or group discussion, and its comprehensive (fully linked) index, The Way of Transformation is an excellent resource for any serious student of St. Teresa of Jesus and a must-read for everyone looking to explore Christian spirituality and prayer more deeply and authentically.