Among most Catholics, Saint Teresa of Avila rings a very clear bell, especially her great works as a Mystical Writer, while the work that most heavily influenced her spirituality and prayer life is still largely unknown at least by name.
The Third Spiritual Alphabet by Francis de Osuna, OFM Observant, is renowned among Catholics familiar with Carmelite and Franciscan Mysticism precisely because of its importance for Saint Teresa’s teachings on prayer, and her own personal sanctity — in fact, one of the latest Editors of St. Teresa’s works, Father Silverio of St. Teresa, a Discalced Carmelite himself, in 1915 said that “the Third Alphabet is the book that had the strongest influence over her mysticism”.
All in all, the Third Spiritual Alphabet is really just a written explanation of the simple “Franciscan Prayer” centered around the use of the Heart “more than the Brain”, a Spiritual and easy way to pray that is the first step toward the higher states of Mystical Prayer so thoroughly explained by St. Teresa of Avila, and which Francis de Osuna insists is open to any and all people, regardless of state in life(though much more necessary and incumbent on Religious).
We decided to promote Refuge of Sinners Publishing’s Photocopy print of this wonderful translation made by a Benedictine Nun. The translator, to everyone’s joy, included references and excerpts drawing the parallels between Osuna’s teachings and the counsels and advice from the works of St. Teresa of Avila.
We are confident that this copy will be incredibly beneficial to anyone striving to learn how to pray in a simple and pure way, especially with the interest of advancing to greater degrees of Prayer and union with God in the “Seraphic School” of Spirituality of Saint Francis.
Even recently, this book has been especially recommended as the starting and continual guide for the Spiritual Life for the Brothers and Sisters of a Franciscan Third Order, and for Franciscan Friars in formation, who all have drawn great fruit, edification, and instruction in the way of prayer — going to show that the Third Spiritual Alphabet remains living, active, and relevant to this day for the Catholic Church!
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