2010-10-15

Well, anyway, happy Feast of St. Teresa of Jesus!


Since my fellow bloggers have current (sad) events pretty well covered, they free me up to post about the Feast of St. Teresa of Jesus, also known as St. Teresa of Avila. The Discalced Carmelites claim her as their Mother, as indeed she is, after Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, of course.

An excerpt from St. Teresa's "Life", taken from the Carmelite Office of Readings for this feast:

Whoever lives in the presence of so good a friend and excellent a leader as is Jesus Christ can endure all things. Christ helps us and strengthens us and never fails; He is a true friend. And I see clearly that God desires that if we are going to please him and receive his great favours this must come about through the most sacred humanity of Christ, in whom he takes his delight.

Many, many times have I perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we desire His sovereign Majesty to show us great secrets. A person should desire no other path, even if he be at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. This Lord of ours is the one through whom all blessings come to us. He will teach us these things. 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, who will not abandon us in our labours and tribulations, as friends in the world do? Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious St. Paul: it doesn't seem that any other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, as coming from one who kept the Lord close to his heart. Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered that lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they hadn't taken any pther path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God's hands. If His Majesty should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept gladly.

As often as we think of Christ we should recall the love with which he bestowed on us so many favours and the great things God showed in giving us a pledge like this of his love; for love begets love. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to waken ourselves to love. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the favour of impressing this love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall carry out our tasks quickly and without much effort.


What does it mean to "live in the presence" of Jesus? I'm not sure I know how to go about carrying this out, practically speaking. Prayer? I think that is what St. Teresa would say. Of all kinds-- most especially a certain amount of every day given in meditative prayer. Simple? Yes, but hard for me to do. I'm very attached to "my" time. But if I never give Him my time, when will the opportunity come that of the Lord "impressing this love on my heart"?

St. Teresa, pray for us, especially that we may be strong enough to give up the illusion that we are masters of our own "time".
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