Translated from the original by Ana Giménez.
When loving one´s neighbour, Teresa distinguishes love in general and love in particular. The first prevails over the second, and has to be addressed to most people we deal with, except the ones she considers harmful. This kind of affection, doesn´t make any distinction between people and it´s far from generating privileges with each other, which doesn´t mean that we can have a special love to specific people or to entire communities, especially if they have gone through sufferings. Among the many people Teresa deals with, some people have sometimes severely hurt her. She answers back, by loving them more. This last one is the most difficult to accomplish.
To grow in love, she gives a very practical advice: pay attention to the virtues this person has, especially if we dislike that person. For sure, we will find a virtue in this person to imitate. The grounds of this way of perceiving others is in God Himself. We are invited to love our neighbours from God, understanding that Jesus Christ is the only master and we should imitate Him the way He treats His neighbours. He will -She tells us- look at the best in us and hide the worst in us ”gilds our faults”. In this way, to love the way Jesus loves is about to learn to see the best in others and become imitators of their virtues. To see from a positive point of view always allows us to be learners.
“Let us strive, then, always to look at the virtues and the good qualities which we find in others, and to keep our own grievous sins before our eyes so that we may be blind to their defects. This is a course of action which, though we may not become perfect in it all at once, will help us to acquire one great virtue-namely, to consider all others better than ourselves.” (The Life 13.10)
“One day I was wondering if I was too much attached to the world because I was happy when I was with the people to whom I speak about my soul and had an affection for them, and because, when I see that anyone is a great servant of God, I always find comfort in his company. And the Lord told me that if a sick man had been at death’s door, and attributed his recovery to a physician, it would be no virtue in him to fail to thank him and not to love him. What would have become of me, He continued, but for these people? The conversation of good people never did any harm, and provided my conversation was always carefully considered and virtuous I should not cease mixing with them, and I should find that they would do me good rather than harm. This comforted me a great deal, for I used sometimes to think myself over-attached to them and would want to have nothing to do with them at all.” (The Life 40.19)
“In the very grievous trials, persecutions and contradictions of these months, God gave me great courage; and the more grievous they were, the greater the courage, without weariness in suffering. Not only had I no ill-feeling against those who spoke evil of me, but I had, I believe, conceived a deeper affection for them. I know not how it was; certainly it was a gift from the hand of our Lord.” (Relations 3.3)
“ Ever since she became subject to these supernatural visitations, her spirit is always inclined to seek after that which is most perfect, and she had almost always a great desire to suffer; and in the persecution she underwent, and they were many, she was comforted, and had a particular affection for her persecutors” (Relations 4.14)
“With regard to the first -namely, love for each other -this is of very great importance; for there is nothing, however annoying, that cannot easily be borne by those who love each other, and anything which causes annoyance must be quite exceptional. If this commandment were kept in the world, as it should be, I believe it would take us a long way towards the keeping of the rest” (The Way of Perfection 4.5)
“Now it seems to me that, when God has brought someone to a clear knowledge of the world, and of its nature, and of the fact that another world (or, let us say, another kingdom) exists, and that there is a great difference between the one and the other, the one being eternal and the other only a dream; and of what it is to love the Creator and what to love the creature (this must be discovered by experience, for it is a very different matter from merely thinking about it and believing it); when one understands by sight and experience what can be gained by the one practice and lost by the other, and what the Creator is and what the creature, and many other things which the Lord teaches to those who are willing to devote themselves to being taught by Him in prayer, or whom His Majesty wishes to teach -then one loves very differently from those of us who have not advanced thus far.” (The Way of Perfection 6.4)
“I repeat once more that this love is a similitude and copy of that which was borne for us by the good Lover, Jesus. It is for that reason that it brings us such immense benefits, for it makes us embrace every kind of suffering, so that others, without having to endure the suffering, may gain its advantages.” (The Way of Perfection 7.4)
“Oh, precious love, forever imitating the Captain of Love, Jesus, our God!” (The Way of Perfection 6.9)
“Let us understand, my daughters, that true perfection consists in love of God and neighbour; the more perfectly we keep these two commandments the more perfect we will be. All that is in our rule and constitutions serves for nothing else than to be a means toward keeping these commandments with greater perfection. Let´s each one look to herself” (The Way of Perfection1.2.17)
“But here the Lord asks only two things of us: love for His Majesty and love for our neighbour. It is for these two virtues that we must strive” (The Way of Perfection 5.2.7)
“I believe that, since our nature is bad, we will not reach perfection in the love of neighbour if that love doesn’t rise from love of God as its root.” (The Way of Perfection 5.3.9)