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.
Image “Graveyard in the Snow” by David Friedrich
October 11, 2019 – Today I am humbly jubilant to give thanks for my life, especially because I was born in snowy cold nearby the first American cemetery in France after WWII.
“My love is my weight.” When Saint Augustine made this remark, he was reflecting on how God had balanced all of his life’s crosses – and mine as well. Acknowledging my heart containing miracles received, my love is my weight too. My crosses crushing yet the Lord’s yoke on me “is easy and my burden light (Mt 11:30). I have managed as if “I had wings that I might fly away” (Ps. 55:7).
The bundle in the crib is me
A picture tells a thousand words. I did not see this photo until 3 years ago after my mother died. She had once mentioned how cold the room was when she had to leave me to go cook for the soldiers who were building a cemetery for the fallen after WWII. Now seeing my crib, I understand why I always look out a window wherever I live. It’s still a favorite reaction to project my thoughts and dreams through a windowpane into the atmosphere.
My faith in God has made me an overcomer. At first I did not recognize the faith God had instilled in me. In my aloneness sheer courage forged me through tribulations, but He was always at my side. Now I know that my courage was bundled in faith when He created me. Already one year since my latest accident, broken hand restored, my soul has expanded to walk farther into the mercy and light given me. The Lord is my song as my conversion deepens.
What is clear to me is to love God with all my being and to share His Glory with others and to give without reserve. As a scribe for God, so here is my love – for – you are my others.
Time to celebrate my birthday! While always thinking of heaven.
“The Lord is with me to the end.” –Ps.138:8
Painting – Bird’s Eye View by Robin Moline
What is this landscape? Too perfect to be real. Life is not that way. Robin Moline draws this folksy surrealistic tapestry using rich colors that remind me of everything good about the crisp coolness of October. As a new birthday approaches, this scenery invites me to ponder about life. I see a storyline in this illustration board airbrushed in acrylic. It tells me this:
As your Creator and Benefactor, you color your life with my help. You makes choices using my palette of good and evil displayed before you. Your best choices are red blush apples to bake a pie, Swiss cheese to melt over yellow gourds, orange pumpkins to thicken a hearty soup, sweet potatoes to please your Beloved with his mom’s sweet potato pie, grapes to press for wine, yet you become sad over the grass dying yellow. The dark colors of brown and black reflect the choices you have made in darkness, but don’t worry, I chose you first. All your crooked ways I have made straight. You are mine forever.
Robin Grant Wood is the nickname Robin Moline gives herself – the famous surreal painter who depicts rural America in its best light during the Great Depression of the 1930s. During her 40-year career, Robin has typified his legendary art style. Her works are displayed in designing firms, agricultural centers, even in waiting rooms. Her “too good to be true” view of life is calmingly pleasing to the eyes. For sure, her art has stretched my imagination here. And with a nudge from the Lord, I can attest that my life is good and far surpasses all the tribulations that came along the way.
Beautiful minds inspire others. Recently I was gifted with this quote on a plaque which complements this vibrant Bird’s Eye View. Both greatly humble me as wisdom continues to refresh my journey. So, I will continue to color my life with “Thanks be to God.”
Yayoi Kusama is a favorite living artist of mine. Her fascination for pumpkins is akin to her alternative self-portrait to obliterate her mental illness. In this fashion Yayoi pours out her madness into creating energetic pumpkins on a super-sized scale for outdoor display.
“Pumpkins bring about poetic peace in my mind. Pumpkins talk to me. Pumpkins as both humble and amusing.” –Yayoi Kusama
…she grew up on a pumpkin farm…
Yayoi Kusama is always working between Heaven and Earth
Polka Dots by Yayoi Kusama
When Yayoi cannot sleep, she creates these dot illusions to calm her senses. She did not receive much love from her family but these dotted images comfort her mind. In them, she has found the LOVE she needs to be happy, even at age 90. She is famously fierceless.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. –Rumi
The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi
Francis gave up his wealth to follow Christ and embraced his bride Lady Poverty. One day he heard a voice from the crucifix say, “Go and repair my church.” He repaired the church of Saint Damiano in Assisi, Italy. Later he understood that this call was to renew the people spiritually. With a few good men, he formed disciples known as the Friars Minor and traveled through Europe preaching the Gospel and healing the sick.
Two years before his death in 1226, Francis experienced a vision of an angel nailed to a cross and received the stigmata of Christ’s wounds on the cross. He was a lover of God and all his creation.
“What are the servants of God but his singers whose duty it is to lift up the hearts of men and women and move them to spiritual joy?” –Francis of Assisi
On this day we have our pets blessed with the help of Francis.
Saint Francis, pray for us
Painting “Blue Chair” by Vincent van Gogh
I wonder, Vincent, were you battling a raging restlessness in your mind or was it an epiphany when you painted this blue chair? The single glow of a kerosene lamp mounted on the verdant wall showcases a colorful chair poised on a textured carpet. The chair seems to want to rock except for the weight of the books and candlestick in the seat. Vincent, what are you saying?
This painting has hung on my bedroom wall for a long time; however, as I now look at it, a heavenly whisper comes to mind.
Designed at the throne of Love, God gives each of us a chair to occupy so we may ponder about the meaning of life. We are given a lifetime to sit in it and figure out our unique purpose.
There are many wonderful chairs to admire in the world. For instance, millions of people go to Rome to view the Chair of Peter. In contrast, there are the martyred chairs that were burnt in the Holocaust furnaces of our Jewish brothers and sisters. Just recently I shipped an Adirondack chair and side table to my son so he can comfortably read and play guitar. My own chair is an antique Queen Anne, its chartreuse velour upholstery is still in great condition. It evokes my childhood when I sat on my Papa’s lap to learn how to speak and read in English. I sit, meditate, write and sometimes celestially drift away feeling the love of past and present memories. So grateful that God has designed such a chair for contemplation.
As I conclude this artful writing, I hope you can discover you possess your own ‘love’ chair and as you sit in it, I trust you can benefit and glory in your well-deserved life.