St. Teresa of Avila
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.
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, 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. 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 writings, especially the Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle, have helped generations of believers.
In 1970, the Church gave her the title she had long held in the popular mind: Doctor of the Church. She and St. Catherine of Siena were the first women so honored.
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.
Teresa knew well the continued presence and value of suffering (physical illness, opposition to reform, difficulties in prayer), but she grew to be able to embrace suffering, even desire it: "Lord, either to suffer or to die." Toward the end of her life she exclaimed: "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."
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Dear Lord as I come to you today
Lord, may I never take the gift
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.
The Word of God
Reading 1 gal 5:18-25
Brothers and sisters:
Responsorial Psalm ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
R. (see Jn 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Gospel lk 11:42-46
The Lord said:
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Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in his eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to him as I tell him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask him to help me to place myself fully in his care, to abandon myself to him, knowing that he always wants what is best for me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)
Rivalries, anger, jealousy, envy, selfishness—many of these "works of the flesh" (Galatians 5:19) sound very familiar to us. In fact, thinking about the ways in which we stumble, we might be tempted to think that we're completely hopeless! But that's not how God thinks about us. We belong to him. Our sinful passions were crucified in Baptism, and we are now filled with his Spirit.
So why do we still falter? Because the call to holiness is a process, and our sins don't disappear overnight. Thank God that he doesn't judge us by a snapshot of our worst moments! What about this outburst of anger? What about that envious thought? God sees them all, but he sees a bigger picture as well. He never loses sight of Jesus' sacrifice for us. He never forgets the Spirit he has placed within us or the natural goodness we all have. Neither does he forget every time we say no to temptation or every time we reach out beyond ourselves to help one another. He sees it all, and it makes him smile!
So don't be disheartened when you stumble. The truth is, you'll never see perfection in yourself short of heaven. However, with each choice you make to yield to the Spirit, you make a little more progress toward Christ. That's why God offers you forgiveness each time you fall. That's why he offers you his own Body and Blood as consolation and strength at Mass. He wants to help you stay on the path.
Before you go to bed tonight, take some time to review the day. Don't just look at the works of the flesh that you gave in to. Look also at the fruit of the Spirit that you demonstrated. Be encouraged at your victories, and ask the Spirit to strengthen you where you are weak. Whether it's an issue of patience or self-control or fortitude, look to Jesus and to his mighty power. Let the good news of his love bring you peace! Then get a good night's rest—for he will never abandon you!
"Lord, I rejoice in your cross and in the power of your Holy Spirit at work in me. May my heart be always open to your call."
Psalm 1:1-4, 6; Luke 11:42-46
Today's 5minutos says:
"J.L. Martin Descalzo recounts the time a friend for months had a tremendous eye sickness, of which threatened to leave him totally blind. Meanwhile, his mother would not stop praying. "I don't know why you pray" he said to her, "you know the possibilities of recovering my sight are minimal" and it came, moved, the voice of his mother: "Son, it's just that I don't pray that you see better, but that I pray that you see more deep". Hopefully we also learn to see more in depth, because the culture of the image that is represented on television puts us to face a phenomenon called "zapping", that reveals this culture of wanting to browse more than going deep into questions. The hard part is accepting the hard hits in life that make us see fundamental things. The culture in which we live has a grave risk of losing value of the everyday because the important happens through success. The daily pulse, the conversation with the friend, the possibility to see in depth, is all in daily things. There is a biblical expression that can help us in this sense, when it is said that this is the day that the Lord has made, that there is not other journey than this one. Ignatius of Loyola would say "That of yesterday has already passed and tomorrow has not arrived, today is the chance". Do not disregard the essential of every day."
Today's 1st Holy Scripture talks about being under the law, and then goes on to speak of the disorders and sins that will not allow one to enter the Kingdom of God. Then it contrasts by saying we are not to be under the law but of God, with the Spirit, where there is peace, joy, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Some of the greatest quotes are those that state that if you conquer yourself, you conquer the world. My mom would say "cada cabeza es un mundo", every world is a head. Conquer the world! We can do this, and how? Be meek, and humble, free from the law of the world. And I'm not speaking about your country's laws, but laws of the prince of darkness. I can not fathom why people would read this and not understand this all in spiritual terms. As if all to talk about is of the flesh? As if all to think about is of the flesh? No! All to think about is of God's Kingdom, everything else second. Why? Because Jesus said it is at hand. It is disposed and available, right here, right now, right where you are at this moment in life. It is there for the taking, and it means salvation. I also can not fathom why someone would read this faith sharing bit and understand it about some ranting supposedly faithful man. It is about one trying to live the faith, a lay person, a person that is not clergy, an ordinary person inviting you to live more faith than I am trying to have. An encouragement. I remember one time a guy told me "you see, all you write is about yourself, it should be about us, not just about you". This man later had an affair, left his wife, and to this day has never returned. Point the finger at me, and I'll show you several more pointing back. If I mention someone here it is because I have prayed for them and I am learning from our relationships together, and we need each other to grow to Heaven, free from the law of this dark prince, free as a bird to fly with eagles wings, this what is leading to a life of grace! Today's Psalm prayed "Those who follow you Lord, will have the light of life". We need this light of life, really bad because the law of the dark prince is darkness. In comes the light, the Holy Gospel, Jesus: to which he said something that made the big time scholars say to Him "...teacher, by saying this you are insulting us". LOL. I wish I could slap my forehead like Homer Simpson as I read that "DOH!". Jesus is teaching humility and then the proud get insulted. So when I am allowing myself to be led by the Holy Spirit, do not be insulted. That's not at all His intention, but the law of darkness throws it at you. Be free. Take it with a grain of salt. Salt covers it and makes it better, like throwing it on a wound. Let the salt cover the earth, me and you. Let us be healers. If you have been healed, then you go out and healed. It is a co-missioning when Jesus was ascending into Heaven, He commanded us to go out to all nations and teach them to obey everything He commanded us. And last but not least Jesus would say to go, "I am with you always, to the very end of age"