In St. Teresa’s Meditations on the Song of Songs she outlines the kinds of false peace that comes from the world, devil and flesh. False peace is the kind of peace that worldly people have, and this is the kind of peace that brings perpetual war. These people are quiet, yet go about living in serious sin. They have made peace with their vices. Their consciences are undisturbed and they do not feel any remorse about anything. Such is the state of souls in mortal sin. Having made friends with the devil, he leaves them alone. However, the devil could offer the friends of God peace in small things. St. Teresa tells us that we should greatly fear this kind of peace.
St. Teresa explains that we can begin to grow lax in small matters and persist in them without any prick in our conscience, which will result in peace – a bad kind of peace.
St. Teresa give some examples of the small matters that the devil can draw a soul into: “an infraction of something in the constitutions, which in itself would not be a sin, or being careless, even though without malice, about what the bishop commands (in fact he stands in God’s place, and it is good always- for this reason we have come here – to consider what he desires), and many other little things that come along which in themselves do not appear to be sins. In sum, there are faults and always will be, for we are miserable creatures.” (Meditations on the Song of Songs, 2, 2)
Basically, she is telling us that when we commit some fault we should feel it and understand that it was a fault.
If we don’t feel that a fault has been committed then we can be sure that the devil is rejoicing. “He will go further”, she says, and we should “for love of God be very careful. There must be war in this life.” We cannot just sit idle; we must be about the battle.
Our saint does not wish to instill a sense of scrupulosity in souls. Her main point is summed up in this counsel: “ Always fear when some fault you commit does not grieve you. For in regard to sin, even venial, you already know that the soul must feel deep sorrow.” We don’t want venial sins, those faults that are committed habitually without any attention to them, to become so much a part of our lives that we never feel them.