Majestic Sovereign, timeless Wisdom,
Your kindness melts my hard, cold soul.
Handsome Lover, selfless Giver,
Your beauty fills my dull, sad eyes.
I am Yours, You made me.
I am Yours, You called me.
I am Yours, You saved me.
I am Yours, You loved me.
I will never leave Your presence.
Give me death, give me life.
Give me sickness, give me health.
Give me honour, give me shame.
Give me weakness, give me strength.
I will have whatever You give.
Thought for the Day – – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church
Since her encounter with Jesus, St Teresa lived “another life”; she become a tireless communicator of the Gospel (cf. Life, 23, 1). Eager to serve the Church and in the face of serious problems of her time, she did not limit herself to being a spectator of the reality around her. In her position as a woman and with her health difficulties, she decided, she said, “to do what little depended on me … that is to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as possible and to ensure that these few nuns who are here do the same” (The Way, 1, 2). Thus began the Teresian reform, in which she asked her sisters not to lose time negotiating with God “interests of little importance,” while “the world is in flames” (ibid., 1, 5). This missionary and ecclesial dimension has always marked the Carmelites and Discalced Carmelites.
As she did then, even today the saint opens new horizons for us, she calls us to a great undertaking, to see the world with the eyes of Christ, to seek what He seeks and to love what He loves. (Pope Francis in a letter to to Carmelite Father Xavier Cannistrà)
Ours is a time of turmoil, a time of reform, and a time of liberation. Modern women have in Teresa a challenging example. Promoters of renewal, promoters of prayer, all have in Teresa a woman to reckon with, one whom they can admire and imitate.
Quotes of the Day – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church
“Oh my Lord! How true it is that, whoever works for You, is paid in troubles! And what a precious price to those who love You, if we understand its value.”
“There is no such thing as bad weather. All weather is good because it is God’s.”
“There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it, than in all the knowledge in the world.”
“We need no wings to go in search of Him but have only to look upon Him, present within us.”
“Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful, what is certain and turns a very short time into a long one.”
Our Morning Offering – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus (1515-1582)
To Redeem Lost Time By St Teresa of Jesus (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church
O my God! Source of all mercy!
I acknowledge Your sovereign power.
While recalling the wasted years that are past,
I believe that You, Lord,
can in an instant turn this loss to gain.
Miserable as I am,
yet I firmly believe that You can do all things.
Please restore to me the time lost,
giving me Your grace,
both now and in the future,
that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.”
One Minute Reflection – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church
If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him he will deny us. If we are unfaithful he is always faithful, for he cannot disown his own self..…2 Timothy 2:11-13
REFLECTION – “If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that is we expect to please Him and receive an abundance of His graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through His most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding His life we find that He is the best example. What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, He will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves Him and always keeps Him near. Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led Him to bestow on us so many graces and favours and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of His love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love Him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing His love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.” – Saint Teresa of Jesus
PRAYER – Almighty God, our Father, You sent St Teresa of Jesus to be a witness in the Church to the way of perfection. Sustain us by her spiritual doctrine and kindle in us, the longing for true holiness. Through Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit. St Teresa pray for us, amen
Saint of the Day – 15 October – St Teresa of Jesus/of Avila (1515-1582) Virgin, Mystic, Ecstatic, Reformer, Apostle of Prayer, Writer, Doctor of the Church. Born Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada at Avila, Old Castile, 28 March 1515 – died at Alba de Tormes, 4 October 1582 of natural causes in the arms of her secretary and close friend Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew. Her relics are preserved at Alba – her heart shows signs of Transverberation (piercing of the heart), and is displayed, too. Her Body is incorrupt. Patronages: • sick people; against bodily ills or sickness • against headaches • against the death of parents • lace makers or lace workers • people in need of grace • people in religious orders • people ridiculed for their piety • World Youth Day 2011 • Amos, Canada, diocese of • Avellaneda-Lanús, Argentina, diocese of • Berzano di Tortona, Italy • Pozega, Croatia • Spain. Attributes – Habit of the Discalced Carmelites, Book and Quill, arrow-pierced heart. St Teresa was Beatified on 24 April 1614 by Pope Paul V and Canonised on 12 March 1622, only forty years after her death, by Pope Gregory XV. Tradition associate Saint Teresa with the Infant Jesus of Prague with claims of former ownership and devotion. On 27 September 1970 St Teresa, was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI. Her books, which include her autobiography (The Life of Teresa of Jesus) and her seminal work El Castillo Interior (trans.: The Interior Castle), are an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature as well as Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practices. She also wrote Camino de Perfección (trans.: The Way of Perfection).
The third child of Don Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda by his second wife, Doña Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, who died when the Teresa was in her fourteenth year, Teresa was brought up by her saintly father, a lover of serious books and a tender and pious mother. After her death and the marriage of her eldest sister, Teresa was sent for her to the Augustinian nuns at Avila but owing to illness she left at the end of eighteen months and for some years remained with her father and occasionally with other relatives, notably an uncle who made her acquainted with the Letters of St Jerome, which determined her to adopt the religious life, not so much through any attraction towards it, as through a desire of choosing the safest course. Unable to obtain her father’s consent she left his house unknown to him to enter the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation at Avila, which then counted 140 nuns. The wrench from her family caused her a pain which she ever afterwards compared to that of death. However, her father at once yielded and Teresa took the habit.
Teresa lived in an age of exploration as well as political, social and religious upheaval. It was the 16th century, a time of turmoil and reform. She was born before the Protestant Reformation and died almost 20 years after the closing of the Council of Trent.
The gift of God to Teresa in and through which she became holy and left her mark on the Church and the world is threefold: she was a woman; she was a contemplative; she was an active reformer.
As a woman, Teresa stood on her own two feet, even in the man’s world of her time. She was “her own woman,” entering the Carmelites despite strong opposition from her father. She is a person wrapped not so much in silence as in mystery. Beautiful, talented, outgoing, adaptable, affectionate, courageous, enthusiastic, she was totally human. Like Jesus, she was a mystery of paradoxes: wise, yet practical; intelligent, yet much in tune with her experience; a mystic, yet an energetic reformer; a holy woman, a womanly woman.
On St Peter’s Day in 1559, Teresa became firmly convinced that Jesus Christ presented Himself to her in bodily form, though invisible. These visions lasted almost uninterrupted for more than two years. In another vision, a seraph drove the fiery point of a golden lance repeatedly through her heart, causing an ineffable spiritual-bodily pain.
I saw in his hand a long spear of gold and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it…
This vision was the inspiration for one of Bernini’s most famous works, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa at Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome.
The memory of this episode served as an inspiration throughout the rest of her life and motivated her lifelong imitation of the life and suffering of Jesus, epitomised in the motto usually associated with her: Lord, either let me suffer or let me die.
Teresa was a woman “for God,” a woman of prayer, discipline and compassion. Her heart belonged to God. Her ongoing conversion was an arduous lifelong struggle, involving ongoing purification and suffering. She was misunderstood, misjudged and opposed in her efforts at reform. Yet she struggled on, courageous and faithful; she struggled with her own mediocrity, her illness, her opposition. And in the midst of all this she clung to God in life and in prayer. Her writings on prayer and contemplation are drawn from her experience: powerful, practical and graceful. She was a woman of prayer; a woman for God.
Teresa was a woman “for others.” Though a contemplative, she spent much of her time and energy seeking to reform herself and the Carmelites, to lead them back to the full observance of the primitive Rule. She founded over a half-dozen new monasteries. She traveled, wrote, fought—always to renew, to reform. In her self, in her prayer, in her life, in her efforts to reform, in all the people she touched, she was a woman for others, a woman who inspired and gave life.
Her final illness overtook her on one of her journeys from Burgos to Alba de Tormes. She died in 1582, just as Catholic nations were making the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, which required the removal of 5–14 October from the calendar. She died either before midnight of 4 October or early in the morning of 15 October which is celebrated as her feast day. Her last words were: “My Lord, it is time to move on. Well then, may your will be done. O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another.”
Her writings, especially the Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle, have helped generations of believers. She and St Catherine of Siena were the first women so honoured as Doctors of the Church.
Interesting fact – her Spiritual Director was St Francis Borgia whose Feast Day we celebrated on 10 October.
One Minute Reflection – 13 October – The Memorial of St Gerald of Aurillac
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong….2 Cor 12:9-10
REFLECTION – “Trials and tribulations offer us a chance to make reparation for our past faults and sins.
On such occasions the Lord comes to us like a physician to heal the wounds left by our sins. Tribulation is the divine medicine.”…St Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
PRAYER – Almighty Father, let Your light so penetrate our minds, that walking by Your commandments, we may always follow You, our leader and our Guide in the path of Him who suffered and died for our love. St Gerald of Aurillac, you consecrated yourself and gave up your riches to the poor to follow the way of the Lord, please pray for us. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen