October 15 honors Teresa of Avila for reforming prayer and the Carmelite Order during the 16th century.
Teresa encourages us to ascend the heights of prayer while staying rooted in the realities of life. In her prolific writings she describes the mystical visions and revelations Jesus gave her:
“I saw in his (Saint Michael’s) hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it.” This led to her motto: “To suffer or to die.” She founded 17 renewed convents.
Her other two masterpieces are sterling reads – “The way of Perfection” and “The Interior Castle,” studies in mystical theology. In 1970, Pope Paul VI declared her the first woman Doctor of the Church for these treatises which witness her sacrificial life.
No doubt a year ago today, Teresa protected my life during a bad accident, so grateful to be living my life as a lay Carmelite.
“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing, God alone suffices.”
Teresa of Avila, Patron of headaches and heart attack sufferers, pray for us; help us to master the Prayer of Quiet.