“Would that I could persuade all men to be devoted to this glorious Saint [St. Joseph], for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known anyone who was truly devoted to him and honoured him by particular services who did not advance greatly in virtue, for he helps in a special way those souls who commend themselves to him. It is now very many years since I began asking him for something on his feast and I have always received it. I f the petition was in any way amiss, he rectified it for my greater good . . .
” I ask for the love of God that he who does not believe me will make the trial for himself—then he will find out by experience the great good that results from commending oneself to this glorious Patriarch and in being devoted to him.”
St Alphonsus Liguori on St Joseph,
Patron of a Happy Death
“Since we all must die, we should cherish a special devotion to St. Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death. All Christians regard him as the advocate of the dying who had honoured him during their life and they do so for three reasons:
“First, because Jesus Christ loved him not only as a friend but as a father and on this account his mediation is far more efficacious than that of any other Saint.
“Second, because St Joseph has obtained special power against the evil spirits, who tempt us with redoubled vigour at the hour of death.
“Third, the assistance given St Joseph at his death by Jesus and Mary obtained for him the right to secure a holy and peaceful death for his servants. Hence, if they invoke him at the hour of death he will not only help them but he will also obtain for them the assistance of Jesus and Mary.”
St Joseph we ask for your assistance in all our needs starting tomorrow, pray for us!
Thought for the Day – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church “Doctor of Prayer”
Excerpt of Pope Benedict’s Catechesis
on the Doctors of the Church
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
“It is far from easy to sum up in a few words Teresa’s profound and articulate spirituality. I would like to mention a few essential points. In the first place St Teresa proposes the evangelical virtues as the basis of all Christian and human life and in particular, detachment from possessions, that is, evangelical poverty and this concerns all of us; love for one another as an essential element of community and social life; humility as love for the truth; determination as a fruit of Christian daring; theological hope, which she describes as the thirst for living water. Then we should not forget the human virtues: affability, truthfulness, modesty, courtesy, cheerfulness, culture.
Secondly, St Teresa proposes a profound harmony with the great biblical figures and eager listening to the word of God. She feels above all closely in tune with the Bride in the Song of Songs and with the Apostle Paul, as well as with Christ in the Passion and with Jesus in the Eucharist. The Saint then stresses how essential prayer is. Praying, she says, “means being on terms of friendship with God frequently conversing in secret with Him who, we know, loves us” (Vida 8, 5). St Teresa’s idea coincides with Thomas Aquinas’ definition of theological charity as “amicitia quaedam hominis ad Deum”, a type of human friendship with God, who offered humanity His friendship first – it is from God that the initiative comes (cf. Summa Theologiae II-II, 23, 1).
Prayer is life and develops gradually, in pace with the growth of Christian life – it begins with vocal prayer, passes through interiorisation by means of meditation and recollection, until it attains the union of love with Christ and with the Holy Trinity. Obviously, in the development of prayer climbing to the highest steps does not mean abandoning the previous type of prayer. Rather, it is a gradual deepening of the relationship with God that envelops the whole of life.
Dear brothers and sisters, St Teresa of Jesus is a true teacher of Christian life for the faithful of every time. In our society, which all too often lacks spiritual values, St Teresa teaches us to be unflagging witnesses of God, of His presence and of His action. She teaches us truly to feel this thirst for God that exists in the depths of our hearts, this desire to see God, to seek God, to be in conversation with Him and to be His friends.
This is the friendship we all need that we must seek anew, day after day. May the example of this Saint, profoundly contemplative and effectively active, spur us too every day to dedicate the right time to prayer, to this openness to God, to this journey, in order to seek God, to see Him, to discover His friendship and so to find true life – indeed, many of us should truly say: “I am not alive, I am not truly alive because I do not live the essence of my life”.
Therefore time devoted to prayer is not time wasted, it is time in which the path of life unfolds, the path unfolds to learning from God an ardent love for Him, for His Church and practical charity for our brothers and sisters. Many thanks.”
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.”
“We need no wings to go in search of Him but have only to look upon Him, present within us.”
“It is love alone that gives worth to all things.”
“Always think of yourself as everyone’s servant; look for Christ Our Lord in everyone and you will then have respect and reverence for them all.”
“Know that, even when you are in the kitchen, our Lord moves amidst the pots and pans.”
“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.”
One Minute Reflection – 15 October – Today’s Gospel: Luke 11:29–32 – Monday of the Twenty-eighth week in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church “Doctor of Prayer”
“This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah…”…Luke 11:29
REFLECTION – “Am I attached to my things, to my ideas, closed? Or am I open to the God of surprises? Am I a stationary person or a person on a journey?….Do I believe in Jesus Christ and in what He has done? He died, rose again… do I believe that the journey goes forth toward maturity, toward the manifestation of the glory of the Lord? Am I capable of understanding the signs of the times and of being faithful to the voice of the Lord that is manifest in them?”…Pope Francis 13 October 2014
Better Your faithful love than life itself;
my lips will praise You.
Thus I will bless You all my life,
in Your name lift up my hands. (Ps 63:3-4)
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, God forever. May the intercession of St Teresa be a source of strength, amen
Our Morning Offering – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church “Doctor of Prayer”
Morning Offering Of St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
grant that I may always
to be guided by You,
always follow Your plans,
and perfectly accomplish
Your Holy Will.
Grant that in all things,
great and small,
today and all the days of my life,
I may do
whatever You require of me.
Help me respond
to the slightest prompting
of Your Grace,
so that I may be
Your trustworthy instrument
for Your honour.
May Your Will be done
and in eternity
and through me.
Excerpt of Pope Benedict’s Catechesis
on the Doctors of the Church
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
St Teresa, whose name was Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, was born in Avila, Spain, in 1515. In her autobiography she mentions some details of her childhood – she was born into a large family, her “father and mother, who were devout and feared God”. She had three sisters and nine brothers.
While she was still a child and not yet nine years old she had the opportunity to read the lives of several Martyrs which inspired in her such a longing for martyrdom that she briefly ran away from home in order to die a Martyr’s death and to go to Heaven (cf. Vida, [Life], 1, 4) – “I want to see God”, the little girl told her parents.
A few years later Teresa was to speak of her childhood reading and to state that she had discovered in it the way of truth which she sums up in two fundamental principles. On the one hand was the fact that “all things of this world will pass away” while on the other God alone is “forever, ever, ever”, a topic that recurs in her best known poem: “Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, all things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing, God alone suffices”. She was about 12 years old when her mother died and she implored the Virgin Most Holy to be her mother (cf. Vida, I, 7).
When she was 20 she entered the Carmelite Monastery of the Incarnation, also in Avila. In her religious life she took the name “Teresa of Jesus”. Three years later she fell seriously ill, so ill that she remained in a coma for four days, looking as if she were dead (cf. Vida, 5, 9). In the fight against her own illnesses too, the Saint saw the combat against weaknesses and the resistance to God’s call: “I wished to live”, she wrote, “but I saw clearly that I was not living but rather wrestling with the shadow of death, there was no one to give me life and I was not able to take it. He who could have given it to me had good reasons for not coming to my aid, seeing that He had brought me back to Himself so many times and I as often had left Him” (Vida, 7, 8).
In 1543 she lost the closeness of her relatives, her father died and all her siblings, one after another, emigrated to America. In Lent 1554, when she was 39 years old, Teresa reached the climax of her struggle against her own weaknesses. The fortuitous discovery of the statue of “a Christ most grievously wounded”, left a deep mark on her life (cf. Vida, 9). The Saint, who in that period felt deeply in tune with the St Augustine of the Confessions, thus describes the decisive day of her mystical experience: “and… a feeling of the presence of God would come over me unexpectedly, so that I could in no wise doubt either that He was within me, or that I was wholly absorbed in Him”(Vida, 10, 1).
Parallel to her inner development, the Saint began in practice to realise her ideal of the reform of the Carmelite Order – in 1562 she founded the first reformed Carmel in Avila, with the support of the city’s Bishop, Don Alvaro de Mendoza and shortly afterwards also received the approval of John Baptist Rossi, the Order’s Superior General. In the years that followed, she continued her foundations of new Carmelite convents, 17 in all. Her meeting with St John of the Cross was fundamental. With him, in 1568, she set up the first convent of Discalced Carmelites in Duruelo, not far from Avila. In 1580 she obtained from Rome the authorisation for her reformed Carmels as a separate, autonomous Province. This was the starting point for the Discalced Carmelite Order.
Indeed, Teresa’s earthly life ended while she was in the middle of her founding activities. She died on the night of 15 October 1582 in Alba de Tormes, after setting up the Carmelite Convent in Burgos, while on her way back to Avila. Her last humble words were: “After all I die as a child of the Church” and “O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another”.
Teresa spent her entire life for the whole Church although she spent it in Spain. She was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1614 and Canonised by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 . The Servant of God (now Canonised yesterday, 14 October 2018) Paul VI proclaimed her a “Doctor of the Church” in 1970.
One Minute Reflection – 22 March 2018 – Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent and the Memorial of St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) Martyr
Rejoice … in the measure that you share Christ’s sufferings. When his glory is revealed, you will rejoice exultantly...1 Peter 4:13
REFLECTION – “Let us strive to face suffering with Christian courage. Then all difficulties will vanish and pain itself will become transformed into joy.”…St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Jesus, Man of Sorrows, in every suffering keep my eyes fixed on You. Let me keep ever before my mind the glory to come and so face the suffering with true Christian courage. Lord our God please grant that by the intercession of St Nicholas Owen, who suffered beyond all our understanding, for love of You, we may learn to suffer in silence and with true courage, amen.