Wednesday, October 15, 2008

St. Teresa of Avila - Doctor of the Church

Another superstar Saint's feast day - a worldly girl, a flirt, a self-confessed sinner, just like the rest of us - but uniquely gifted by a deep, mystical union with her Friend, Christ Jesus, with whom she had a powerful and amusing discourse:

Sometimes [...]she couldn't avoid complaining to her closest Friend about the hostility and gossip that surrounded her. When Jesus told her, "Teresa, that's how I treat my friends" Teresa responded, "No wonder you have so few friends." But since Christ has so few friends, she felt they should be good ones. And that's why she decided to reform her Carmelite order.

(Link to article here)

St. Teresa's vibrant spirit and her sense of humor leap off the page when you read her Life, or Autobiography, which I heartily recommend! She sets us the difficult spiritual task of mastering mental prayer and describes the four stages of the soul's ascendency: devotion of the heart - you focus your attention and love on Christ and his Passion, devotion of peace - where your self-will is given over to God in your everyday life, and what worldly tasks you have to do are mere distractions from your purpose of prayer, devotion of union - entering into spiritual union, i.e., understanding God's will and accepting it without regard to the self, and devotion of ecstasy - where you literally lose sense of yourself and your physical body and are in a state of full spiritual communion with the Lord. (I paraphrase, of course, but this is my understanding from my 10-year-old notations in the text)

And here is her prayer - deceptive in its simplicity - so hard to do in "real life"

Let nothing trouble you
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things pass away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains everything.
God alone is enough.


Anonymous said...

I'm about to write about her too. She's my 3yr old dd patron saint.
I wrote some of the prayer on her Christening cake.

God bless Kit

Jackie Parkes said...

Love this prayer..