Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sharing St. Teresa of Avila

I want to share, but it does not lend itself to a piecemeal approach. I'm on the Fourth Mansion. St. Teresa wrote as time permitted and did not have access to what she had written before, apparently. A poor Bear can hardly be expected to understand such sublime and practical advice, but it lifts him up like nothing he has read before. So much of the saint's personality comes through that one is moved to tears one moment, and laughs out loud at another. Her strong personality comes through and you begin to consider St. Teresa as a friend.

She wants us to understand that distractions during prayer come with the territory, and we should not assume we have "lost the signal" with God. Here is an example.

This point, however, I wish you to notice, viz., in order to make great advance in this way, and to be able to ascend to the mansions we desire, we must remember that the business does not consist in thinking, but in loving much; do therefore whatever may excite you most to love. 

Perhaps we do not know what love is; and I do not wonder at it, for it consists not in having greater delights, but greater resolutions and desires of pleasing God in everything, and in endeavouring, as much as possible, not to offend Him, and in beseeching Him that He would promote the honour and glory of His Son, and extend the bounds of the Catholic Church. These are signs of love. Do not imagine that it consists in not thinking on anything else, and that all is lost if you have a few distractions.

She fancies the imagination "roaming round the suburbs of the castle... engaged with a thousand wild and poisonous beasts, and thus acquiring merit by this painful conflict."

She counsels us -- especially the more virtuous -- to mind their own business. This made me think of Pope Francis, actually, especially given the March 17 homily.

Let us mind our own faults, and not trouble ourselves about those of other people. It is very common for persons who are so regular themselves, to wonder at everything; and yet we might perhaps learn, in something of great importance, from the very person at whom we wonder.

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