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Do we really need to worry that much about spiritual progress?

September 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Carmelite Spirituality, Dan Burke, Teresa of Avila

Why Worry About Spiritual Progress?

St Teresa of Avila on Spiritual Progress

Dear St. Teresa, is it not better to somewhat ‘go with the flow' of God's leading in our life, doing our best, and not worry too much of where we are in the spiritual perfection?

Dear friend, we must beg the Lord for guidance. We must frequently consider that without him we are lost. We must never trust ourselves. We must be vigilant regarding our progress in virtue – especially how we love others. We must not assume that we are safe because of our present status. We must always make progress. We must always endeavor to go forward, and to fear exceedingly if we do not; for without doubt the devil wishes to entrap us, …because love is never idle; and therefore not to advance is a very bad sign…

Adapted from Interior Castle – Fifth Mansion

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Never gamble with the Eternal Destiny of your Soul by telling yourself if is O.K. “to go with the flow”

    • Becky Ward


    • LizEst

      So true! We must follow after the pattern of Christ, who “For our sake, [God] made…to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered, and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). Jesus is the perfection of the Father’s plan. Where would we be if all He did was “go with the flow?” We certainly would not have had the doors to eternal life and joy thrown open for us.

  • Charlie Brown

    Excellent direction.

  • Mother-Earth1213

    Interesting thoughts. Ultimately its a personal journey. I think you will know in your heart where you are spiritually. It is Divine Providence that helps you along the way. This growth comes with personal prayer time i believe.

  • Bekah

    Without frequent self-examination it is easy to fall into a lull of inertia, thinking, “I am okay,” while you are drifting further and further out to sea, until suddenly you realize just how far you have gone in the wrong direction. How much better to make a habit of continually looking for ways to love God more and to conform ourselves to the image of His Mother, not because we can do it ourselves, but because we grant our will to desire it, and allow the Holy Spirit to accomplish it. I have so many Protestant family members who have fallen into the-Lord-did-it-all-and-I-can’t-do-anything-to-add-to-it trap. They’ve missed what it is all about–a relationship of reciprocal love!

    • Very well said Bekah!

    • BTW: As you know, this is not just a protestant problem. We have plenty of “boot-strap” Catholics who are confused about how to grow deeper in their relationship with the Blessed Trinity.

    • LizEst

      Yes, Bekah, Christ won salvation for us. We can’t do anything to merit it…but, we can sure lose it if we’re not attentive to how we live our lives and who we live them for! We look at ourselves in so many different ways. Omitting the spiritual self-exam risks shipwreck. God bless you, Bekah! You have written wisely.

    • On are spot on Bekah; just what I have been re-reading a few hours now in the “Spiritual Combat”.!!!! and as you put it, this is simply a copy out :


      The Good God truly created us without our permission, but He cannot save us without our co-operation – and actively and relentlessly at that.

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