Today we honor St. Teresa of Avila, one of the greatest saints, yet, like St. Joseph, to whom she was devoted, one of the most approachable saints. Like all our greatest saints, ,we often find in her writings and life, wisdom to help us understand the challenges we face; though centuries pass, her words ring just as clear today, her wisdom fresh and appropriate as always.Plus, we close with a poem St. Teresa wrote that is quite lovely.
In her work, The Way of Perfection, she discusses the ‘Our Father’, Our Lord’s own prayer. She especially recommends it as part of thanksgiving after Communion. In Chapter 35, St. Teresa remarks on the evils of the protestant attacks on the Blessed Sacrament and the Mass that were even then occurring. As you read this, consider what her response would be to Pope Bergoglio’s enthronement of Luther in the Vatican in our times. One portion of her commentary strikes us as most appropriate to these times in which we suffer with Christ the Passion of His Church. St. Teresa, remarking of the Lord’s Prayer,
“Let us rely on Our Lord’s command to us to pray to Him, and in fulfillment of our obedience to Him, let us beseech His Majesty, in the name of the good Jesus, … that He prevent Him from being so ill-treated. Since His Holy Son has given us this excellent way in which we can offer Him up frequently as a sacrifice, let’s make use of this precious gift so that it may stay the advance of such terrible evil and irreverence as is paid in many places to this Most Holy Sacrament.
For as those Lutherans seem to want to drive Him out of the world again: they destroy churches, cause the loss of many priests and abolish the sacraments. And there is something of this even among Christians, who sometimes go to church meaning to offend Him rather than to worship Him.”
She then goes on to importune the Heavenly Father to spare Our Lord the offenses He suffers against His Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, begging Him, although she is unworthy,
“Indeed, it may perhaps be for my sins, and because I have so greatly offended Thee, that so many evils come. What then can I do, my Creator, but present to Thee this most Holy Bread which, though Thou gavest it to us, I return to Thee, beseeching Thee, by the merits of Thy Son, to grant me this favor, which on so many counts, He has merited. Do Thou, Lord, calm this sea, and no longer allow this ship, which is Thy Church, to endure so great a tempest. Save us, my Lord, for we perish.” (Way of Perfection, p. 234-236).
It is as if she was anticipating the Angel of Fatima’s Prayer, isn’t it?
Here in closing, is a poem of hers that recently came to our attention, thanks to Rorate Caeli: