Saturday, April 04, 2015

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Books XI and XII

Book XI

Book XI is different in quite a few ways from the rest of the work. Many of the comments are more allusive and obscure. This section of the work also sees the introduction of new topics and new approaches.

The book opens with a reflection on the nature of reason, identifying three major properties of the rational. First, it is in its own power: "it sees itself, it shapes itself, it makes itself such as it wishes to be, it gathers its own fruit" (XI, 1). Second, it in some sense engages with the Whole itself, being able to grasp something of the entire universe and all of time on the basis of its present perspective. Third, it is also characterized by law:

It is also characteristic of the rational soul to love its neighbors, to be truthful, to show reverence, and to honor nothing more than itself. (1)

This goes beyond just being governed by law, as everything in the Stoic universe is; the rational soul is, in some sense, law itself, so that one's own reason, developed rightly, and the reason involved in justice itself are in some way the same.

We also get something of a Stoic aesthetics here, as well. There is the obvious idea that we are not to be overcome by our entertainments and works of art, but focus wholly on virtue (2). But Marcus Aurelius also clearly sees value in art as instrumental to the good life. He gives us a brief resume of a number of genres of drama, in more or less historical order, that clarifies some of the questions of what dramatic art can contribute to life by identifying a sort of deterioration in dramatic quality over time:

Tragedies were first produced to remind us of what happens, to show that this is how things naturally happen, and that you should not be vexed on the larger stage of life by things which delight you in the theater; for you see that this is the course they must take....After tragedy the Old Comedy was introduced. Its freedom of speech had educational value, and its very directness usefully reminded the spectators of the evils of arrogance....Reflect on the nature of the Middle Comedy which came afterwards, with what aim the New Comedy was introduced still later, and how it gradually slipped into mere love the techniques of representation. One realizes that even these writers said some useful things, but what was the whole aim and purpose of this kind of poetry and drama? (6)

Book XI also gives us the only mention of Christianity (3); Marcus criticizes them for obstinacy in martyrdom and contrasts this with rational Stoic acceptance of death. This mention is sometimes regarded as an interpolation, on grammatical grounds. Given the nature of the interpolation (assuming it was one), however, it seems that at least an early marginaliast thought that the Emperor was making an allusion to Christianity in the comment; and the contrast seems a perfectly reasonable one for a pagan Stoic to make.

One of the more interesting, yet more obscure notes in the Book is found in section 18, in which we get a series of considerations which are presented as something worth treating "as gifts from the Muses," which make it possible to live a truly and appropriately human (and thus rational) life. We might summarize them roughly as follows:

(1) One's relation to others, that we were born for each other's sake.
(2) How people act in their daily lives, and how vain it often is.
(3) That those who do wrong do so ignorantly and involuntarily.
(4) That we ourselves frequently err.
(5) That even when people seem to do wrong, there may be more than meets the eye.
(6) That human life is very brief.
(7) That we are not annoyed by the actions of others but by how we judge them.
(8) That our anger and vexation and the actions of others have worse consequences for us than those actions.
(9) "Kindliness is invincible if it is genuine, not malicious or hypocritical."

To these nine, Marcus adds a fourth, "a tenth gift from the leader of the Muses": that it is absurd to expect lesser men to do no wrong, because it is absurd to desire the impossible. (It would be interesting if some kind of correspondence between these "gifts" and the actual Muses and Apollo could be identified, but I can see no definite pattern.)

Book XI ends with a large number of brief extracts from the Emperor's reading, much as we found in Book VII, although there are signs that much of the quotation here is from memory, since they are often not exact quotations and names and stories seem occasionally mixed up. There are comments from Aesop, probably through Horace (22), from Epictetus (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, probably 23), possibly Aristotle (35), Epicurus, probably through Seneca (26); Homer (31); Hesiod (32); Solon, perhaps through Diogenes Laertius (29); and a number of apparently unknown sources (27, 28, 30, 39).


Book XII

Hadot notes (The Inner Citadel, p. 273) that the opposition between the causal (the guiding or determining) and the material is recurrent in Book XII (8, 10, 18, 29). The divine is also a repeated theme, both the gods and the divine within us. Perhaps we can think of this book as being particularly concerned with stripping away what is not foundational; we should focus on the now (XII, 1), strip ourselves of the material (2), avoid letting other things separate us from our reason (3), we should observe causes stripped of their husks (8, cp. 29), we should see things as they are (10), and so forth.

Some notable comments:

"If it is not the right thing, don't do it; if it is not true, don't say it." (17)

"Realize at some time that you have within you something stronger and more divine than the things which cause your passions and which would rule you altogether like a puppet on a string. What is my thought at the moment? Fear? Suspicion? Passion? Something of the sort?" (19)

The final note (36), which serves as a sort of end note to the whole book, as well, speaks of the end of our life. We are given a role in life. For some it may last for five years, and for others fifty; complaining that your subplot only lasts for three acts rather than five is to miss the point of being on the stage at all. What makes us come into life also sets for us a limit of that life, and the latter is no more a matter in our hands than the former: "So depart graciously, for he who dismisses you is also gracious."


Works Cited

Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations, G. M. A. Grube, tr., Hackett (Indianapolis: 1983).

Pierre Hadot, The Inner Citadel, Michael Chase, tr., Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA: 1998).

Isaac of Nineveh for Lent XL

On the day when you are pained in some way, either in body or in mind, for the sake of any man, be he good or evil, reckon yourself as a martyr on that day, and as one who suffers for Christ's sake and is deemed worthy of confession. For remember that Christ died for sinners, not for the just.

Homily 51 (p. 381)

Friday, April 03, 2015

Music on My Mind



Live, "Run to the Water".

Not So the Sun and Moon

Good Friday
by Christina Rossetti


Am I a stone and not a sheep
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon—
I, only I.

Yet give not o'er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

Isaac of Nineveh for Lent XXXIX

As a handful of sand thrown into the great sea, so are the sins of all flesh in comparison with the mind of God. And just as a strongly flowing spring is not obstructed by a handful of dust, so the mercy of the Creator is not stemmed by the vices of His creatures.

Homily 51 (p. 379).

Thursday, April 02, 2015

I a King, and Thou a King

Maundy Thursday
by Christina Rossetti


"And the Vine said ... Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?"

The great Vine left its glory to reign as Forest King.
"Nay," quoth the lofty forest trees, "we will not have this thing;
We will not have this supple one enring us with its ring.
Lo, from immemorial time our might towers shadowing:
Not we were born to curve and droop, not we to climb and cling:
We buffet back the buffeting wind, tough to its buffeting:
We screen great beasts, the wild fowl build in our heads and sing,
Every bird of every feather from off our tops takes wing:
I a king, and thou a king, and what king shall be our king?"

Nevertheless the great Vine stopped to be the Forest King,
While the forest swayed and murmured like seas that are tempesting:
Stooped and drooped with thousand tendrils in thirsty languishing;
Bowed to earth and lay on earth for earth's replenishing;
Put off sweetness, tasted bitterness, endured time's fashioning;
Put off life and put on death: and lo! it was all to bring
All its fellows down to a death which hath lost the sting,
All its fellows up to a life in endless triumphing,--
I a king, and thou a king, and this King to be our King.

Isaac of Nineveh for Lent XXXVIII

Repentance is given to the sons of men as grace after grace, for repentance is a second regeneration by God. That of which we have received an earnest by baptism, we receive as a gift by means of repentance. Repentance is a door of mercy, opened to those who seek it. By this door we enter into the mercy of God, and apart from this entrance we shall not find mercy.

Homily 46 (p. 357)

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Isaac of Nineveh for Lent XXXVII

If it is obvious that you are not the victor but merely an instrument, as it were, and that it is the Lord who is victorious in you, and that you receive the title of victor as a free gift, then what can hinder you from asking at all times for that same strength, what can hinder you from winning the same victories while you give thanks to God for this? Have you not heard, O man, how many champions from the foundation of the world and the beginnings of time have fallen from the height of their struggle because they did not give thanks for this grace?

Homily 37 (p. 315).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sui Juris Churches II: The Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch

(On sui juris churches generally)

Liturgical Family: Antiochene

Primary Liturgical Language: Syriac (Christian Aramaic)

Juridical Status: Patriarchal

Approximate Population: 3,000,000. It is difficult to get a very exact and reliable number, because Maronites are found all over the world, often in small pockets that are difficult to survey, but there are nearly a million in Lebanon alone, where they form more than a fifth of the population.

Basic History: Eastern Catholic churches are each distinctive, but the Maronites stand out as unusually distinctive in that very distinctive family. The Maronite Catholic Church is the only Eastern Catholic church that has no non-Catholic counterpart; all the others derive from Eastern Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox churches. It is the only particular church named after a saint, and the only one that developed out of a specific religious movement. Its ties with Rome are unusually close, and it emphasizes the importance of monastic and eremitic life far more than any other particular church in the communion. The Maronite Patriarch is unusually central to the identity of the church. And while Eastern Catholic histories can be quite complicated, the history of the Maronite Church is not so much complicated as obscure at important points; even the order of important events is not always clear, and what follows should at times be taken with a grain of salt.

St. Maroun/Maron/Maro was an ascetic hermit who lived in Syria in the late third and early fourth century. The asceticism he practiced, inspired by St. Anthony the Great, was unusually stringent -- he lived in the open air in the very harsh weather of the region. People began to imitate him, and communities of Christians became associated with the Maronite ascetics. In the fifth century, during the Monophysite controversy, the Maronites seem to have opposed the Monophysites, with the result that a significant number of them were forced to flee to the mountains of Lebanon for refuge. Much of our knowledge of the church at this time is from a preserved correspondence between the Maronite monks of Syria Secunda and Pope Hormisdas. The monks appealed to Hormisdas for support in their own support for the Council of Chalcedon; he responds to them with encouragement.

The crisis that would turn the Maronite movement into a church in its own right occurred in the seventh century with the Muslim invasion of Syria, an event that found the Maronites isolated. What exactly happened is one of the obscurities of Maronite history, but a line of Maronite Patriarchs of Antioch arose, independent of the Patriarchs of Antioch recognized by Constantinople. The first Maronite Patriarch is usually considered to be St. John Maron; nobody knows for sure how he became patriarch at all, since the stories that have survived are inconsistent, but we do know that the Maronites had had uneasy relations with the Byzantines for quite some time. Things get only more obscure over time; contemporary outside sources suggest that the Maronite monks were Monothelites, rejecting the Third Council of Constantinople, but we don't really know the foundation for this accusation, and none of the sources seem to have any particular incentive for being scrupulous in making it. It could be a misunderstanding; or it could be that there were both Monothelite and orthodox groups among them, as there were everywhere else; or one could take it all at face value. Whether the Maronites were ever Monothelite is one of the major controversies of Maronite history.

Secure in the mountains of Lebanon, too fortified for Muslim armies to dislodge them, the Maronites remained as the world changed around them. Very little is known about the Maronites during this period; for all practical purposes they had disappeared. And then in the eleventh century they were rediscovered, to everyone's surprise, in the First Crusade. The meeting would change the Maronite church forever. The Crusaders were glad to find a Christian bastion right in the midst of Muslim occupation, and the Maronites were glad in turn no longer to be alone. Throughout the Crusades, Crusader and Maronite worked together quite closely, and in the twelfth century, the Maronite Patriarchs began to be officially recognized by Popes. This recognition has been unbroken ever since.

Times changed yet again, and the Crusades faded away. The Mamelukes dominated, resulting in many, many Maronite martyrdoms. Had Mameluke rule continued for a few centuries longer, there would be no Maronites today. But the Mamelukes too faded, to be replaced by the Ottoman Turks, who reorganized the region into the Principality of Lebanon. The first head of this Principality, Prince Fakher el Din al Maani I, was a man of considerable foresight. He was not Muslim but Druze, but he had supported the Ottomans loyally, and the Principality was his reward for it. He forged an alliance between Druze and Maronite that ended up being extraordinarily fruitful, and which is the soil out of which modern Lebanese culture grew.

Turkish rule, too, eventually passed, and was replaced by the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon after World War I. Ever since, a great deal of Maronite history has been bound up in the fortunes of Lebanon. Maronite Catholics and French Catholics had much in common, and thus the Maronites did quite well under the Mandate; this is one reason why Lebanon was the only part of the Mandate that wasn't mostly a disaster (although even that might be questioned) -- Muslim resistance to French plans for dividing the region was itself counterbalanced in Lebanon by Maronite support for them. This solidified Lebanon as a state -- for a while, the one and only Arabic state that was not predominantly Muslim. The opposition between Maronite and Muslim came to a head in 1958 with a civil war, which the Maronites won with American assistance. But as time has passed, Lebanon has become increasingly Muslim and decreasingly Maronite, for reasons not entirely clear -- the usual explanation is that Maronites are more likely to emigrate and that Muslim birthrates are slightly higher, but we don't even have good numbers on the relative proportions, and you will find that different sources say different things on the subject.

So Maronite history, obscure in its beginning, still has its obscurities even today. But the Maronite Church is unquestionably and enthusiastically Catholic, and has clearly been in continuous communion with Rome for nearly a thousand years -- and while we have to lose the 'clearly' if we are being cautious, Maronites themselves will insist quite vehemently that they have always been in communion with Rome. And there is no definite evidence that they have not been. They certainly have not been formally excommunicated at any point, and the only period in their history where there is any room for doubt at all is that relatively brief period in which we have a few outside observers calling them Monothelites, a small scrap of evidence whose significance is debated; and the heresy shows no identifiable influence at all on anything in Maronite spirituality, liturgy, or theology. Regardless, it's an essential part of how the Maronite Church sees itself: alongside Rome as one of the two most stable pillars of the Catholic communion.

Notable Monuments: Many of the most notable monuments of the Maronite Church are in or near the Qadisha Valley of Lebanon, also known as the Holy Valley: Bkerke, the official seat of the Maronite Patriarch and the patriarchal winter residence; Dimane, the patriarchal summer residence and former See of the Maronite Patriarch; Our Lady of Lebanon Sanctuary at Harissa. There are also a number of famous Maronite monasteries, like that of Qannubin, probably the oldest, which goes back to the fourth century. Perhaps most significant of these monasteries is the Monastery of Saint Anthony at Qozhaya; it includes the monastery proper, a number of hermitages, the Cave of St. Anthony (which is associated with a number of healing cures), and the Church of the Monastery of Saint Anthony, which is literally set into the mountain, being partly a cave. The national church of the Maronites in Rome, San Marone, is also notable.

Notable Religious Institutions: Lebanese Maronite Order (Baladites), Mariamite Maronite Order (Aleppians), Antonin Maronite Order.

Notable Saints: Maroun (February 9), John Maron (March 2), Rafqa (March 23), Charbel (July 24), James the Solitary (November 26), Nimatullah Kassab al-Hardini (December 14).

Extent of Official Jurisdiction: Ten eparchies (dioceses) and four vicariates in Lebanon itself, three eparchies in Syria, one eparchy in Israel, and nine eparchies throughout the world (Brooklyn, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Cypress, Los Angeles, Mexico, Montreal, Sao Paolo, Sydney). (Sphere of influence always extends beyond the official jurisdiction due to members of the church living outside any official jurisdiction of the church.)

Online Sources and Resources:

http://www.bkerkelb.org/

http://www.antonins.org/

http://maroniteinstitute.org/

http://maronite-heritage.com/

http://maronitemonks.org/wp/

Isaac of Nineveh for Lent XXXVI

The path of God is a daily cross. No one has ascended into Heaven by means of ease, for we know where the way of ease leads, and how it ends. God never wishes the man who gives himself up to Him with his whole heart to be without concern (that is, concern over the truth). But from this he knows that he is under God's providence -- that He perpetually sends him griefs.

Homily 59 (p. 430).

Monday, March 30, 2015

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Books VIII, IX, and X

Book VIII

Hadot notes that metamorphosis or change is a recurring idea in the book (The Inner Citadel, p. 270):

In Book VIII, the theme of universal metamorphosis takes on a very particular form. Here, Nature has the power to use the detritus which results from its vital activity to create new beings (VIII, 50). Since it has no space outside itself where it can throw this detritus, it transforms it within itself and makes it into its matter once again (VIII, 18). Intellectual or rational nature, for its part, transforms the obstacles that oppose its activity into a subject for exercises, which thereby permits it to attain its goal by using that which resists it (VIII, 7, 2; VIII, 32; VIII, 35; VIII, 41; VIII, 47; VIII, 54; VIII, 57).

On the basis of this universal changefulness, we should not be afraid of new things (VIII, 6); all things come and go on the basis of a law that is like divine law, so that even death is ordered (2, cp. 17). That a thing cease belongs as much to its nature as that it be born or continue to exist (20). When we deal with the world, we should deal with it as it really is, and one of the questions we should ask is how long it lasts (11). Even things we do not like -- bitterness in cucumbers and thorny bushes, for instance -- each comes and goes and becomes a way for new things to arise according to the order of the universe (50).

For our part, it is in our power to change ourselves or keep to our straight course (16). If things are in our power, we cannot blame either atoms or the gods, the only other causes involved; we either set ourselves right or set the situation right, and if we can do neither, it is absurd to complain (17). Since in this changeful universe, everything comes to be from a purpose, we should ask ourselves what the purpose of our coming to be was, and recognize that it could not possibly be pleasure (19). We can form a better picture by considering our natures:

A man's joy is to do what is specifically human, and it is specifically human to be gracious to his kind, to despise the activities of the senses, to judge aright the persuasive pictures of the imagination, to contemplate the nature of the Whole and all that happens in accord with it. (26)

In a rational creature we can see that there is a virtue that opposes pursuit of pleasure (39).

Two other choice comments:

"Accept without conceit, relinquish without reluctance." (33)

"Men are born for each other's sake. So either teach people or endure them." (59)

Book IX

One of the features of the ninth book is that, interspersed among its short reflections, it has several extended meditations (these longer meditations tend to come more thickly in the last few books of the work). It's worthwhile to get some sense of the basic idea of some of these.

At IX,1, we get a discussion of impiety. Injustice is impious because the Whole has made rational creatures for each other; wrongdoing is a transgression against the Whole as the oldest goddess. Lying is also impious, for the Whole is Truth herself, "the first cause of all that is true." There is a double wrongness here, since the liar wrongs others and is out of harmony with the Whole. Living one's life in pursuit of pleasure as good and in flight from pain as evil is also impious, because the Whole distributes pleasure and pain in accordance with the good of the Whole.

At IX, 3, the Emperor reflects on death. Death is one of the things intended by Nature, just as every other stage of life is, so we should not despise it, or regard it with exaggeration or arrogance. AS a way of encouraging himself to do this, he notes that death will not part him from people who have similar views from himself; at court he lives out of tune with everyone around himself.

At IX, 9, we find a discussion of community. Everything seeks its like, and this includes those things that are similar in having an intelligent nature. Even animals form communities of a sort, having "an increasing tendency to unity which does not exist in plants or stones or timber." Human beings, rational animals, have an even higher tendency to union; higher beings like the stars are even more united, so that "a rise in the scale of beings brings a common feeling even among those who are far apart." But intelligent beings can also forget that they have this urge -- they cannot get rid of it, because it still motivates them, but they resist it or even flee from it.

IX, 40 discusses prayer. If the gods have no power, it makes no sense to pray to them. If they do, why would we spend our praying on trivial things rather than asking for things like the ability to rise above our passions. If gods cooperate with human beings, they would surely do so by aiding us in this way. If, however, you were to say that these things are in our own power, then we should recognize it is just as absurd to spend our own power on the same trivial things rather than on rising above our passions; but in fact, on what ground would we conclude that the gods cannot help us even in matters in our power? "At any rate, start praying for these things, and you will see." Instead of praying for trivial or immoral things, pray for help in being moral, and see what happens. (We might call this Marcus Aurelius's Wager!)

IX, 42, the closing meditation in Book IX, concerns dealing with other people. If someone offends you through being shameless, ask yourself if there could be no shameless people at all; since there can't, you should stop demanding the impossible, because that is truly shameless. And similar arguments can be used across the board, for every kind of wrong. It is also good to develop the habit of asking, as a first reaction, what quality nature has given us to deal with this problem. If someone is offensively headstrong, for instance, we should consider that nature has given us gentleness for dealing with such people. Further, you should reflect that you have not really been injured, if you yourself do not use the occasion for becoming worse. Further, if it happens that you already knew that he was foolish, why did you expect him not to act foolishly? But most importantly, when you encounter these vices, you should take the opportunity to reflect on yourself, and what wrong you might have done -- perhaps you were imprudent in trusting the disloyal man, or did not benefit someone because it was a good thing to do, but only because you were trying to trade it for some trivial thing.

Other comments of note:

"The sinner sins against himself; the wrongdoer wrongs himself by making himself evil." (4)

"One may often do wrong by omitting to do something, not only by doing something." (5)

"Today I left the troubles surrounding me, or rather, I cast them out. For they were not outside but within me, in my assumptions." (13)

"The wrong done by another you must leave with him." (20)


Book X

Hadot notes (The Inner Citadel, p. 297) that there is a recurrent theme of seeing people realistically in this book. In addition, we get something of an emphasis on simplicity and goodness. It opens with Marcus interrogating himself about when he will become simple and good (IX, 1), an interrogation that is repeated later in different terms (9). In an extended meditation, he recommends to himself that he focus on the few key virtues, and that if he begins to lose them he should either retire into seclusion to focus on them or depart life in simplicity rather than anger (8). Since time is short, we should live as if we were on a mountain (15). We should see to it that nobody can say anything of us except that we are simple and good (32).

to be continued

Isaac of Nineveh for Lent XXXV

A small affliction borne for God's sake is better before God than a great work performed without tribulation; for affliction willingly borne brings to light the proof of love, but a work of leisure proceeds from a self-satisfied conscience.

Homily 36 (p. 286).

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fortnightly Book, March 29

I was so busy last week I barely got through The Mabinogion, despite its being a re-read, so I'm trying something a little lighter this time around, as well as re-reading rather than starting something completely new. I will, however, be doing two books that go well together: Sackett and The Sackett Brand, by Louis L'Amour. Louis L'Amour, born in North Dakota as Louis Dearborn LaMoore, is perhaps the most popular writer of Westerns of all time. He was also very prolific, with around a hundred novels and more than two hundred short stories to his career.

Arguably his most popular works are his Sackett novels, which tell the story of the Sackett family, originating out of East Anglia and spreading through the American frontier. That series has the following books (as well as a number of short stories, and Sacketts playing minor roles in other books); they are listed in rough narrative order, with the publication dates in parentheses:

(1) Sackett's Land (1974)
(2) To the Far Blue Mountains (1976)
(3) The Warrior's Path (1980)
(4) Jubal Sackett (1985)
(5) Ride the River (1983)
(6) The Daybreakers (1960)
(7) Lando (1962)
(8) Sackett (1961)
(9) Mojave Crossing (1964)
(10) The Sackett Brand (1965)
(11) The Sky-Liners (1967)
(12) The Lonely Men (1969)
(13) Mustang Man (1966)
(14) Galloway (1970)
(15) Treasure Mountain (1973)
(16) Ride the Dark Trail (1972)
(17) Lonely on the Mountain (1980)

Sackett and The Sackett Brand tell part of the story of William Tell Sackett, better known as Tell, and his love and loss. And, as with all the Sackett books, and very many Westerns, the theme is simple and straightforward: civilization begins with family.

Teresa of Avila

A number of people have noted that yesterday was the 500th anniversary of the birth of Teresa of Ávila. She was born March 28, 1515 in Ávila, in Castile, as Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada. From the beginning of her Life:

I had a father and mother, who were devout and feared God. Our Lord also helped me with His grace. All this would have been enough to make me good, if I had not been so wicked. My father was very much given to the reading of good books; and so he had them in Spanish, that his children might read them. These books, with my mother's carefulness to make us say our prayers, and to bring us up devout to our Lady and to certain Saints, began to make me think seriously when I was, I believe, six or seven years old. It helped me, too, that I never saw my father and mother respect anything but goodness. They were very good themselves. My father was a man of great charity towards the poor, and compassion for the sick, and also for servants; so much so, that he never could be persuaded to keep slaves, for he pitied them so much: and a slave belonging to one of his brothers being once in his house, was treated by him with as much tenderness as his own children. He used to say that he could not endure the pain of seeing that she was not free. He was a man of great truthfulness; nobody ever heard him swear or speak ill of any one; his life was most pure.

My mother also was a woman of great goodness, and her life was spent in great infirmities. She was singularly pure in all her ways. Though possessing great beauty, yet was it never known that she gave reason to suspect that she made any account whatever of it; for, though she was only three-and-thirty years of age when she died, her apparel was already that of a woman advanced in years. She was very calm, and had great sense. The sufferings she went through during her life were grievous, her death most Christian.

Some Spanish news footage of her declaration as Doctor of the Church in 1970:



And some music for the occasion, by folk country legend Nanci Griffith:



Nanci Griffith, "Saint Teresa of Avila".