“Teresa noted that our reputation becomes a huge obstacle to surrendering. Even when we are working for the benefit of others, we can temper our words or actions so as not to displease the other. We choose not to create an awkward situation, and therefore we retreat from our inner knowing and call it “discretion.” Falling into the justification of discretion, said Teresa, is nothing more than sheltering ourselves from the fear of being persecuted, that is, of having our reputation tarnished.
She maintained that the souls who do the most good are those who do not care if they displease their fellow men and women. Once a priest asked her if it would be beneficial for him to accept the office of bishop. Her reply was divinely inspired: she told him that only when he did not desire authority should he accept it. That is, only when he no longer cared about his reputation would he be able to fulfill the position credibly.
The Beloved does not want us to withhold anything, said Teresa…And the more we surrender to this divine force, the more divine inspiration we shall receive. When we take this inspiration into the world, free from worries about our reputation, then other souls will also benefit.”
Megan Don, in “Meditations with Teresa of Avila”
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