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St. Teresa of Avila
Interior Castle

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You will reply to me by making two observations. The first, that Mary was said to have chosen the better part251 -- and she had already done the work of Martha and shown her love for the Lord by washing His feet and wiping them with her hair.252 And do you think it would be a trifling mortification to a woman in her position to go through those streets -- perhaps alone, for her fervour was such that she cared nothing how she went -- to enter a house that she had never entered before and then to have to put up with uncharitable talk from the Pharisee253 and from very many other people, all of which she was forced to endure? What a sight it must have been in the town to see such a woman as she had been making this change in her life! Such wicked people as we know the Jews to have been would only need to see that she was friendly with the Lord, Whom they so bitterly hated, to call to mind the life which she had lived and to realize that she now wanted to become holy, for she would of course at once have changed her style of dress and everything else. Think how we gossip about people far less notorious than she and then imagine what she must have suffered. I assure you, sisters, that that better part came to her only after sore trials and great mortification -- even to see her Master so much hated must have been an intolerable trial to her. And how many such trials did she not endure later, after the Lord's death! I think myself that the reason she was not granted martyrdom was that she had already undergone it through witnessing the Lord's death.254 The later years of her life, too, during which she was absent from Him, would have been years of terrible torment; so she was not always enjoying the delights of contemplation at the Lord's feet.

251 St. Luke x, 42.

252 St. Luke vii, 37-8.

253 St. Luke vii, 39.

254 This sentence is authentic but marginal.

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