Saturday, October 10, 2015

Teresa ~ A Mega~Flower!

On October 15, the feast of St. Teresa of Avila will be observed in certain Catholic-Christian and Carmelite circles.  As Theresa of Lisieux referred to herself as the “little flower of Jesus," I suppose Teresa of Avila could be considered the “Big Flower” or “Mega-Flower” of Jesus!   She was a giant at the time she lived in the 16th century and her presence and force is still with us today!

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) “is one of the most beloved spiritual figures in history . . . she is known around the world as a great mystic, saint, reformer” and the first woman to be named Doctor of the Church!!  After a special vision, she was moved to reform the Carmelite order. She founded the community known as the Discalced (shoeless) Carmelites in Avila.  “The sisters wore hemp sandals, but their name referred to the strict poverty that was a feature of Teresa’s reform.”

She was the foundress of 17 Carmel convents, the author of four books, and considered one of the outstanding religious teachers of Christian prayer.  She was known to have a charismatic personality, along with wisdom and courage that was deeply rooted in a special love relationship with God.

Throughout her life, she suffered from migraine headaches, and other physical ailments, and experienced dryness in prayer for much of her life. However, it is also written that Teresa had the privilege of hearing God speak to her. She also began to see visions and Jesuit and Dominican priests came to see if this was true. They were convinced and declared that the visions were holy and authentic. 

In accounts of her life, it is said that when she would move into a prayerful ecstasy, there were always a couple of sisters that were appointed to hold onto the hem of her habit so that as she was lifted up in prayerful rapture, she wouldn't injure herself.

There also is the great story told of her on her travels where she encountered all the hazards of donkey carts which was one of the means of transportation of her time.  “One time her cart overturned, throwing her into a muddy river.  When she complained to God about this ordeal, she heard a voice from within her say, ‘This is how I treat my friends.’ “Yes, my Lord,” she answered, “and that is why you have so few of them.”

Prayers of Teresa:

Christ Has No Body
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

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May today there be peace within.  May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.  May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.  May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.  May you be content knowing you are a child of God.  Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.  It is there for each and every one of us.

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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.

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