Once again it is the feast day of one of my favorite saints, Teresa of Ávila, affectionately known as Saint Teresa of Jesus. I am a huge groupie of this amazing woman who lived a long time ago (1515-1582), but who continues 500+ years later to impact people around the world through her writings, life of dynamic faith, dedicated courage, and passionate love of Jesus Christ.
Saint Teresa loved Jesus with her whole being, everything of hers was His.
She put her trust and her life in His keeping during tense times of the Inquisition. While writing she was under rigorous scrutiny (one investigator priest consulted a tall stack of theological books “to understand an hour with Teresa.”) She also pushed for reform of her contemplative order amidst massive challenges.
Reading Saint Teresa of Ávila’s books, “The Interior Castle” and “My Life” in my early 20s strengthened and deepened my faith in new ways. Saint Teresa’s images are still relevant today as she likens our faith journey to a castle we enter level by level, dealing with internal clutter and debris along the way. Her “Way of Perfection” is also excellent, and anything else of hers you can let your mind read and your heart contemplate. Her words have a way of opening our hearts for Christ and His love for us, and for all.
Saint Teresa’s strong sense of humor helped infuse joy in joyless times, like making a formal street procession with musical instruments after a lice infestation to mock the unwelcome critters out of her nun sisters’ hair.
“May God protect me from gloomy saints.” ~ St. Teresa of Ávila
Teresa of Ávila had a tough go of it as a woman in times when women did not have much recourse to realize their dreams and initiatives. She had plenty of gumption, though! Her father didn’t want her to be a nun, but she managed to become a nun anyway. She served as spiritual director to Saint John of the Cross (totally radical for that time.) Today, Teresa of Ávila is a Doctor of the Church – the first woman so named, and one of only four with St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and St. Hildegard of Bingen.
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
“Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world.”
~ Saint Teresa of Ávila ~
grace, peace & inspirational saints
Virginia : )
“The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.”~ Saint Teresa of Ávila