Pondering for Tuesday October 15, 2019

Readings for Teresa of Avila

Psalm 42:1-7 Romans 8:22-27 Matthew 5:13-16

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Today we remember Teresa of Avila. “Teresa was one of two women declared a “Doctor of the Church” in 1970 by the Roman Catholic Church, primarily because of her two mystical contemplative works, The Way of Perfection and Interior Castle. She was a close spiritual and personal friend of St. John of the Cross.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 15)

Like all great mystics there is a connection to other mystics of their day. For Teresa it was St. John of the Cross whose work was not discovered until after his death.  All of us who seek God need to partner with someone as mentor and protégé to better hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.

“Teresa was born near Avila. Even in her childhood, she took much pleasure in the study of saints’ lives, and she used to delight in spending times of contemplation, repeating over and over, “For ever, for ever, for ever, for ever, they shall see God.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 15)

Teresa did join a Carmelite order but was not happy with their structure. “The easygoing life of the “mitigated” Carmelite rule distracted her from her customary prayer life, to which she returned. Taking recourse in two great penitents, Augustine of Hippo and Mary Magdalene, she became increasingly meditative. She began to receive visions—whether from God or the Devil she could not know—and struggled to reject them.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 15)

Her personal piety was much more structured than the cloister with which she belonged.  I often feel that way. I live a pious life with daily attention to the Daily Office of the Episcopal Church. I don’t think many clergy or laity devotes this same amount of dedication to our readings and journaling.  I am particularly pleased that Teresa patterned her pious life from a dedicated acetic like Augustine of Hippo and a Biblical personality like Mary Magdalene.  These are two people who lived totally for Christ even though several hundred years apart.  We all should find such mentors to emulate (one Biblical and one from Church history).  Christ now lives in each Christian as Teresa points out in one of her poems:

“Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
compassion on this world
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”  (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 15)

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through God’s people and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s