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Peace of Body Isn’t Optional – Day 10, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila

What does St. Teresa of Avila have to say about the connection between peace of body and peace of soul? Find out in today’s excerpt and reflection from 30 Days with Teresa of Avila.

30 Days with Teresa of Avila 600x334 peace of body

Segovia, June, 1574*

To the Most Illustrious
Señor Don Teutonio de Braganza, Salamanca

Congratulations on his safe return. The Saint’s health. Confirmation of the Apostolic Visitors. Projected foundation of a priory at Salamanca.

May the grace of the Holy Spirit be with your Reverence!

The news that you are well was very welcome and a great comfort to me. But after so long a journey, yours seemed a very short letter and you do not even tell me whether the object of your expedition was attained.

It is nothing new for you to be discontented with yourself, but do not be distressed if the fatigues of your travels and the disturbance of your ordinary routine should make you feel rather tepid: peace of body will restore peace of soul. . . .

Your Lordship’s unworthy servant and subject,


Teresa de Jesús, Carmelite


Aridity: Feeling “tepid” as St. Teresa notes is akin to feeling lukewarm or even experiencing spiritual aridity. It can also refer to a sense of being out of tune, scattered, and unable to recollect oneself in prayer. Often this state can originate in very simple causes that are easy to identify or eliminate.

It is always wise to first look to natural causes before exploring elsewhere for answers to this potentially frustrating experience. Sometimes, time off from work, a few good nights of longer rest, or a retreat to silence can restore the soul to a state of peace that was lost to the bane of fatigue, busyness and the incessant noise of modern living.

The state of our physical bodies, how much sleep we have had, how well we are feeling, fatigue and illness, often have significant impact on our spiritual or psychological health and resilience. Like Teresa we can, by the grace of God, often push through these difficulties and even use them to the benefit of our spiritual growth and that of others through redemptive suffering. However, in this case, she prudently recommends rest.

Because it can interrupt our discipline of prayer, we should also be on guard against any travel that is not for the glory and honor of God. In fact, developing and sticking to a good routine in our prayer life (this can also be called a plan of life) helps us stay more recollected and focused on the Lord. Sometimes after travel, before we return to our routine, it is also very important to take the time we need for physical rest.

“Peace of body will restore peace of soul.” This wise phrase is worthy of frequent consideration by those of us who tend to push ourselves to our physical limits.

*Teresa of Avila, Letters, vol. 1, excerpts.


If you would like to read all of these letters and reflections, please click here and purchase 30 Days with Teresa of Avila from Emmaus Publishing.

Listen to the conversation on Divine Intimacy Radio. The discussion about Day 10 begins at 13:03.

Teresa of Avila’s signature courtesy of Carmelite Monastery, Terre Haute, Indiana.

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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, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. 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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  • Michelle

    This is very helpful. I often feel guilty when I rest. Even though, if only as a nursing mother alone, I know it is wise. I would love for someone to shed more light upon this. It’s like a disordered tenacity and practically speaking, more to do than hours in a day.

  • Judy Silhan

    A break from the year and a half of study, many Church commitments, efforts in evangelization with two apostolates, prayer life becoming more forced than committed to out of love, was what my Spiritual Director said was needed to return to a peaceful state of body and soul. Prince of Peace Abbey is where I experienced three days of quiet time to just commune with God with no structure or silence except for being called to prayer with the pealing of the glorious bells. The next three days God surprised me with the opportunity to make a silent Opus Angelorum Retreat, an apostolate I was not previously aware of. At the final Mass on Sunday, with the Liturgy celebrated in Latin and Gregorian Chant, the priest facing the Tabernacle, as used to be the norm, I received our Lord, and for the very first time since reading emails from this site and then starting at the Avila Institute in attempt to get to know Him, for the first time in my life I felt so consumed by, and immersed in His love. I truly experienced the Presence of Christ for the first time. I wanted to stay right there in the Chapel. Leave though, I did, and so glad I was told I needed a break.

    • Br. Damien

      Nothing happens by chance, so I believe that the Lord wanted you to deepen your relationship with him by getting to know the Opus Angelorum movement.

    • LizEst

      …anyone wishing to learn more about Opus Angelorum can go to this link:

  • Jo Flemings

    I also believe more direction or specific guidance on this would be helpful. I am in a first world country with so many creature comforts and potential indulgences juxtaposed against so many unrealistic and skewed expectations that I find navigating the maze between discerning what is necessary and not capitulating to what is comfortable is a constant nagging tension.

    • Connie Rossini

      I recommend reading “Happy Are You Poor” by Fr. Thomas Dubay. He includes an examination of conscience, questions to ask yourself about your relationship with material goods. This book was REALLY challenging to me, but also made a big change for the better in my spiritual life when I was able to accept it. He also gives general principles to guide you as you answer them. Everyone will be called to live this out slightly differently, but Poverty is one of the calls of the Gospel.

      • Jo Flemings

        Thanks Connie!

  • MariaGo

    Thank you for this! I’ve been feeling weary and getting anxiety attacks lately. Resting has been difficult because I can barely keep up with my law studies. The schoolyear just started and I haven’t been doing so well. It makes me feel guilty for wanting to rest. I don’t know how I can make time for real rest though.

  • Connie Rossini

    Interesting what you say about avoiding unnecessary travel for your soul’s good. I used to LOVE traveling. I traveled all over Europe when I was in high school.
    Then after college I was a missionary in Japan for 2 years and traveled
    throughout Japan, South Korea, and China. It was when I was in formation
    as a Secular Carmelite that I read portions of Happy Are You Poor by
    Fr. Thomas Dubay. (It was out of print then, but back in print now.) He talked about avoiding unnecessary travel. This was a really tough one for me to give up. But I was making a promise of poverty, so travel just for fun had to go. This step towards poverty really helped my spiritual life. I hadn’t thought of travel in the
    terms Dan speaks of it. But certainly Teresa of Avila experienced the
    ill effects of travel many times.

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