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Happy Late 500th Birthday St. Teresa of Avila!

alec vanderboom

I not only missed posting about my bff St. Teresa of Avila on her Oct 15 Feast Day. I missed posting about her on the giant 500th Anniversary of her birth. Ugh! Because I'm late, however, I have delightful messages about my favorite saint from Pope Frances and the current head of the Carmelite Order.

Here is a reflection from Pope Francis:

Precisely because she is a Mother with open doors, the Church is always walking toward men to take to
them that “living water” (cf. John 4:10) that waters the garden of their thirsting heart. The holy writer and
teacher of prayer was at the same time a founder and missionary on the roads of Spain. Her mystical
experience did not separate her from the world or from people’s preoccupations. On the contrary, it gave
her new impulse and courage for action and the duties of each day, because “the Lord is” also “among
the cooking-pots” (Foundations, 5, 8). She lived the difficulties of her time, which were so complicated,
without yielding to the temptation of bitter lament, but instead accepting them in faith as an opportunity to
take another step on the path. Because, “it is always the time for God to do great favors to one who truly
serves Him” (Foundations, 4, 6).

Teresa says to us today: Pray more to understand well what is happening around you and so to act
better. Prayer conquers pessimism and generates good initiatives (cf. Dwellings VII, 4, 6). This is
Teresian realism, which calls for works instead of emotions, and love instead of dreams, the realism of
humble love in face of a laborious asceticism! Sometimes the Saint abbreviates her charming letters
saying: “We are on the way” (Letter 469, 7.9), as an expression of the urgency to continue to the end with
the task begun. When the world is burning, one cannot lose time in matters of little importance. May she
infect all with this holy haste to go on the paths of our own time, with the Gospel in hand and the Spirit in
our hearts!

“It is time to walk!” (Ana of Saint Bartholomew, Last Actions of Saint Teresa’s Life). These words of Saint
Teresa of Avila, on the point of dying, are the synthesis of her life and become for us, especially for the
Carmelite family, her Avila fellow countrymen and all Spaniards, a precious legacy to keep and enrich.
Dear Brother, with my cordial greeting, I say to all: It is time to walk, going on the paths of joy, of prayer,
of fraternity, of time lived as a grace! Let us go on the paths of life by the hand of Saint Teresa. Her
footprints lead us always to Jesus." (Pope's Letter for the fifth centenary of St. Teresa of Avila's birth).

Also there is this reflection from the Solicitor General of the Entire Carmelite Order:

How do we place at the center the way and dwelling of Teresa? To reread her works, as we
have done through these last years, is certainly a first step, fundamentally important. But we
cannot stay still. We have to move on to deeds. We are called to recognize in ourselves what
the words of Saint Teresa describe, to find our home and our way. I caution that this cannot be
achieved if we do not make choices. I do not know whether we will have to choose to turn off
our mobile phones more frequently, our computers, tablets, or even –what is much more
complicated– learn to use them differently. I am convinced, in other words, that we will not
celebrate the Centenary adequately only by doing things to honor the memory of Saint Teresa,
but rather by making ourselves into Teresa, if you would allow such a daring proposal."

St. Teresa of Avila, Pray for us!